I am an ordinary guy who enjoys riding motorcycles. I love riding all makes and models. I love short rides, long rides, and multi-day road trips. I post reviews about motorcycle gear, motorcycles, roads, restaurants, sights, gadgets and more. The Tuesday Trivia page has a new bit of history added each week. Be safe and enjoy the ride, Oz.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Great Motorcycle Road in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado



Great roads in Colorado
Mountains and Rivers make for curvy roads

Mountains make for curvy roads, elevation changes and scenic views.  Rivers never run in a straight line also making for fun roads.  When you combine mountains and rivers you get great roads to ride. Some of the most scenic roads I have ridden are in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Highway 92 falls into the categories of scenic, fun, curvy and exciting.

The Gunnison River running through the Black Canyon

While leading the Beat The Heat Tour 2020 I took the guys on a ride which included 53 miles of CO 92 on the north side of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and WOW the fun we had.  Prior to our ride on June 29, 2020, I had only ridden 1/4 of the road a few years back and it was from the Blue Mesa Reservoir Dam on the south end and this day we were riding from the north end.  On that first solo ride on CO 92 I had ridden to the Lake City Bakery  (awesome bakery that I highly recommend) from Montrose and on the return ride I experience a small portion of the road.

We were lodging in Ouray so we rode up US 550 to Montrose hitting US 50 to Delta and turned East on CO 92 to Hotchkiss (almost 80 miles).  I knew once we turned south on CO 92 it would be 90+ miles to our next stop in Montrose and with all the curves and overlooks it would take us over 2 hours so we stopped at the Stop N Save for fuel, hydration and a snack.  The attendant was very friendly and they had a pretty good selection of drinks and snacks and we were only 0.2 mile from where CO 92 turned south.  

53 miles of Colorado Highway 92 running along the north rim of the Black Canyon

The first 23 miles of CO 92 is pretty straight and runs through Crawford, CO and besides Crawford Reservoir and Gould Reservoir.  There were great views of the Elk Mountains to the east and the San Juan Mountains southwest as we road.  South Baldy Mountain was to our left and rises to 12,385 feet.

The last 30 miles was very interesting and fun.  Of course I did not count the curves, but there are a lot of them.  The Black Canyon of the Gunnison was on the right with its steep cliffs descending below us at times several hundreds of feet.  At times to the left were the steep sides of the mountains.  

CO Hwy 92 gets fun and challenging on the north rim of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison

We enjoyed the road with very little traffic and good road conditions.  There were three paved overlooks allowing for extensive views of the canyon and the Gunnison River: Hermits Rest Overlook, Pioneer Point and the Blue Mesa Dam Overlook.  There has been sightings of Bald Eagles, deer, Big Horn Sheep and more, although we did not see any wildlife on this midday ride. 

The road twists and turns while it gains and losses elevation.  Elevation in Hotchkiss was 5,331 feet and the road reached heights of over 8,000 feet with the Blue Mesa Reservoir Dam at 7,519 feet.  At first the curves are sweeping and smooth, but soon there are some switchbacks and tight corners with elevation changes.  For the most part the camber in the corners was correct which allowed good lean angles and fun corner speed.

I will not mention top speeds, but it was a spirited ride which all nine rides enjoyed greatly. We had sport bikes, touring bikes  and cruisers.  We pulled over at the southern most overlook, the Blue Mesa Dam Overlook. The views of the canyon and dam are impressive. 

Blue Mesa Reservoir Dam
View of the earthen dam

VFR at the Blue Mesa Reservoir Dam overlook

We continued on CO 92 and rode over the dam then climbed up to the intersection of CO 92 and US
 US 50 which lies almost half way between Gunnison and Montrose.  We turned west and enjoyed the view of a portion of the canyon from the south rim.  
Beat The Heat 2020
Playing around at the overlook

With typical riding in Colorado we encountered some road construction which can provide opportunities for photographs and conversations.  Once the one lane traffic was allowed to continue west we rode to Montrose for fuel and a late lunch at Jimmer's Steaks-BBQ Bar and Grill.

Beat The Heat 2020 at road construction stop
Road construction stop on US 50 heading to Montrose

#BeatTheHeat2020
Jimmer's had great Texas Style  BBQ

#BeatTheHeatTour
Beat The Heat 2020 guys ready for lunch

We enjoyed some good Texas style BBQ and superb service from the waitstaff.  It was a great day of riding.  We loved CO 92 and I would highly recommend you enjoy the road whenever you are in the area. 

The Moto Oz Beat The Heat Tour 2020 had a great time throughout the entire week riding mountain and river roads.
Monarch Pass on the Beat The Heat Tour
The group earlier in the week at Monarch Pass

Beat The Heat 2020 t-shirt
Beat The Heat t-shirt with some of towns and passes

Duke Cannon
Duke Cannon for men - Check it out.


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2 comments:

  1. I have great memories of that part of Colorado and riding and driving down CO 92 from Hotchkiss towards US50 and back. Lovely winding roads indeed, and not too much traffic that I recall.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Still light traffic. It is now a road I will visit on future trip.

    ReplyDelete