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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Scenic Roads #6 - #10

Since I started seeing the world from the seat of a motorcycle I have notice rivers and mountains are the two best road designers and when they collaborate the resulting road is awesome.  When planning rides I look for the roads near rivers and/or mountains. 
Mountain roads are never straight for very long
I have ridden in only 22 of our 50 great states; however, I have developed quite a list of roads that I would love to ride time after time and I would recommend to fellow riders.

I had hoped to develop a "Top 10" list, but I found it very difficult to narrow it down to just ten.  Some roads provide awesome and/or breathtaking views while other roads provide great curves making it impossible not to smile.  Both types are great, but difficult to compare, so I have developed my "Top 10 Scenic Roads" and "Top 10 Twisty Roads."

Scenic Roads #6 - #10
Scenic Road #1 - #5                     
Twisty Roads#6 - #10
Twisty Roads #1 - #5
          Links will become "live" as I complete each post.

"Scenic Roads" are roads with great views and/or wildlife viewing opportunities.  These views are worth slowing down for and/or parking the bike to enjoy the surroundings for a moment.  Some of the "roads" I have chosen are really combinations of roads fitting together as one ride/route.
The views are just better from the seat of a motorcycle
Disclaimer: I realize my experiences are not as vast as many riders; however, I hope the information provides useful. It is not an exhaustive list of the thousands of great roads in the USA, but it covers a decent amount of this great country.

10) Colorado 65 a.k.a. Grand Mesa Scenic Byway  Map - 63 miles. - The Grand Mesa Scenic Byway starts about 17 miles of Grand Junction on I70 (exit 49) and ends when it intersects CO 92 near Delta, CO.  The Grand Mesa is the largest mesa in the world!  The road has numerous great curves and rises almost 6,000 feet to 11,000 feet and the temperature drops as the elevation rises.  The visitor center sits at 10,200 feet and has a great view of Island Lake.  Winding down the south side of the mesa CO 65 runs through the neat small town of Cederedge. 
Island Lake seen from the visitor center
9) Pine Junction area to Woodland Park, Colorado - County Road 126 & CO 67 - Map - 47 miles.  With Mt. Evans near the northern end and Pikes Peak at the southern end riding either direction provides a great view of two of the 53 14er's (mountains with peaks at or above 14,000 feet) in Colorado.  The route runs through the Pike National Forest and crosses the South Platte River at Deckers, a good place to stop for a drink, snack, and the view.  When in Woodland Park my son and I have to eat at our favorite Colorado restaurant, the Hungry Bear,!
Never Summer Range as seen from CO 14
8) Colorado 14 a.k.a. Cache La Poudre Canyon Road - Map - 89 miles.  The road runs between Walden, Colorado and the CO 14/US 287 intersection on the west side of Fort Collins.  Carving through the canyon CO 14 runs along the Cache La Poudre River, through the Roosevelt National Forest, over Cameron Pass (10,276 feet), and through Colorado National Forest (east to west).  This area, known as North Park, is the "Moose Capitol of Colorado."  While on my 2010 summer trip we say two bull moose and two cows!  Be careful and watchful especially during dawn and dusk.  The road is surrounded by the beautiful Medicine Bow Mountains and snow capped Never Summer Range. 

Mountain Goat beside the Mt. Evans SB - keep your eyes open!

7) Mount Evans, Colorado - Squaw Pass Road (CR 66 and CO 103) and Mt. Evans Scenic Byway  (CO 5) - Map - 32 miles.  Squaw Pass Road, starting at the intersection of CR 66 and CO 74 a few miles south of I70, has a lot of curves as it climbs up the side of the mountain towards Echo Lake and the entrance to the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway.  Squaw Pass' elevation is 9,807 feet and offers great views.  The Mt. Evans Visitor Center sits at about 10,600 feet and is near beautiful Echo Lake.  From the visitor center CO 5/Mt. Evans SB climbs to the summit parking lot (about 14,150 for parking and the summit is 14,264).  Mountain goats are a common site near the summit.  The view of the surround mountains is incredible!  One can see the tops of other mountains and on a clear day Denver can be seen.
Mesa Falls is worth stopping to see.  My son taking picture of Jerry at the falls
6) Grand Tetons, WY - Map - 261 miles.  I am kind of cheating on this one because it includes multiple roads, two national parks, and three states but it is a route we rode one day during our Yellowstone trip.  The route : West on US 20 from West Yellowstone/ MT through Island Park, ID (great breakfast place) turn south on ID 47 a.k.a. Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (beautiful - worth the ride and time) to Ashton, ID, turn east on ID 32 a.k.a. Teton Scenic Byway to Tetonia, ID, turn south on ID 33 to Victor, ID continue on ID 33/WY 22 a.k.a. Teton Pass Highway to Jackson, WY, turn north on US 191/US 287 through Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park back to West Yellowstone.  The views of the Tetons from both the west and east side are incredible.  The mountains seem to just rise out of the surrounding flat land.  The opportunities to see deer, elk, bison, moose, antelope, and even bear are plentiful.  (I will post about the roads through YNP later).  There are numerous places to stop and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
View of the Tetons from SH 33 near Driggs, ID
Check out this link to view video of Scenic Roads #6 - #10. 

3 comments:

  1. Too many roads, not enough time (any money).

    Hopefully you can get to many if not all of your top 10's. Will be fun to see your ride reports to see if they live up to their reputation.

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  2. very informative piece of information.
    Its time i planned for a vacation and get to experience this roads.
    I hope that my Touring Bike Parts will perform well on all the roads.
    I will have to find out if they are as wonderful as your article indicates.
    Thank you

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