Colorado Traverse

A 700 Mile Motorcycle and Mtn Bike route  across Colorado from Moab, Utah to the Kansas border using Jeep tracks, dirt roads, and secondary roads

The Colorado Traverse is a mapped motorcycle route across Colorado from Moab, UT to the Kansas border. it is currently in Beta mode there may be changes to certain sections. It gives the rider a fine cross section of the state from the desert canyons of Western Colorado through the Rocky Mountains and across the high plains of Eastern Colorado. It is mostly dirt tracks with some tarmac connecting the tracks. Much of the route runs through isolated areas, fuel up as often as you can.  I have ridden most of it, there are areas I have not ridden yet, but plan to get to them when the snow melts, in June likely. The route is designed to be followed using printouts from this site and other maps such as the Delorme Colorado Atlas, and pertinent National Forest Maps. I have no GPS track, Kit Carson did not need them.

Note on gas stations. You will find gas at Moab, along with everything else you might need. The next gas is at Gateway at the general store. Then off the track at Grand Junction or Delta. Then Crested Butte, Buena Vista, Florissant, Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs. Beyond Colorado Springs small towns with gas are frequent. The mileages I state are based on alltrails mapping. I rounded each up to next round number. Your mileage may differ due to your odometer or other factors. Consider them as close but not exact.

Moab to Cripple Creek

MOAB TO CRIPPLE CREEK.jpg

Moab to Cripple Creek

Grand  Mesa to the Great Plains
CRIPPLE CREEK TO GREAT PLAINS.tiff
Moab to Gateway

Start in Moab,

I picked Moab for the start as the Utah Colorado line is in the wild canyon country you pretty much have to start in Moab to access it. There are two routes out of Moab each of which rejoin just west of the La Salle Mountains. Both routes start at the corner of Highway 191 and E 300 S street, ride east on E 300 S street. Turn right onto South 400 E Street. Turn left on to Mill Creek Drive. First route about 21 miles. Turn left onto Sand Flats Road follow this road past the Grand View cemetery and out of town. Sand Flats Road is also named Route 82. It passes the famous  Slickrock mountain bike area and other OHV routes, you can certainly test your bike and yourself on the numerous OHV routes in the Moab area. This route climbs through rocky desert into the Pinion Juniper woodlands, the mix of pinion and juniper trees are found throughout the West, often called PJ forests. In about 21 miles you intersect with Route 2 turning left onto Road 73.  

Route 2 begins at the same corner, instead of turning left onto Sand Flats Road stay on Mill Creek Drive, turning left onto Spanish Valley Drive also named Road 127. Spanish Valley Road soon becomes La Salle Loop Road, but is still Road 127 it takes you the length of Spanish Valley then climbs out toward the La Sal Mountains through the PJ's and into beautiful aspen forests. The Road gets a name change to Loop Road and Road 73. Follow Road 73 8 miles to the intersection of 73 88 and 95 Roads. Turn Left onto Road 85 follow it 13 miles to Road 91. Turn Left onto Road 91, follow it 6 miles to the Utah Colorado border where the road is renamed  Road 44. Continue on Road 44 to Highway 141 and Gateway. There  is luxury resort with many amenities including a fine restaurant https://www.gatewaycanyons.com. Down the road from the resort is the general store with gas. 

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2. La Sal Mtns to Gateway.jpg

Gateway to Highway 50

Fuel at the Gateway general store https://www.gatewaygeneral.com, if they are closed and you have less than half a tank you may want to take Highway 141 to 50 to Grand Junction.. Then return to Gateway.  From the general store leave Gateway heading northeast on highway 141 4 miles to Forest Road 6.3, turn right toward Pine Mountain, ride 9 Miles to a triple junction with 11.3 Road and 11 1/2 Road. Stay left on Road 6.3 5 miles to 19 1/2 Road. Turn Left onto 19 1/2 Road ride it 11 miles to Forest Road 402. Turn right onto 402 and follow it South  6.5 Miles to 24.4 Road. Turn Left onto it, follow it for a half mile to ZS Road, turn right onto ZS Road follow it 16 miles to the intersection of 31 55/100 Road. Stay right here, dropping into upper  Escalante Canyon 5 miles to the T intersection of Escalante Canyon Road. Turn Left ride down Escalante Canyon Road 17 miles to US Highway 50. You should head for Delta for fuel. The first gas station is 9 miles, the town of Delta with full services is 10 miles.

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4. Escalante to Hiway 50.jpg
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Highway 50 to Flat Tops

When you reach Highway 50 first fuel your bike. Then ride north from Escalante Canyon Road 20 miles to Kannah Creek Road. Turn right, East. Take Kannah Creek Road 24 miles to Lands End at the top of the Grand Mesa a climb of 5,000 feet. There is a lookout area with an old CCC built cabin at Lands end, well worth a stop to look down 6,000 feet to Grand Junction and to far distant vistas. From Lands End it is a gentle and scenic gravel road 12 miles to Highway 65. Turn right at Highway 65, ride 5 miles to Baron Lake Drive, this ride takes you along the north shore of Island lake and below the high basalt bluff of Crag Crest, there is a cafe and lodging  at Grand Mesa Lodge en route. Turn left onto Baron Lake Drive. There is a great Forest Service Visitor Center (open depending on Covid) at the corner of 65 and Baron Lake Drive. This is a resort area with cabins for rent and depending on Covid lodging and a restaurant. Last time I checked it was a Polish Restaurant.  We continue east on Baron Lake Drive which becomes a gravel road. The name changes to Lake Shore Drive at the intersection of Old Grand Mesa Road. It is also, Forest Road 121. Continue east, the road bends to the north. The riding becomes technical, the road is largely composed of basaltic boulders, I have jeeped, it is slow and not so fun. North of Bonham Reservior about a mile turn right on to Forest Road 260 [I do not know this road, yet, I do not even know if it is traversable I will update this writing once the snow melts]  Forest Road 260 is also known as The High Trail. At the junction of  Forest Road 263, turn right and follow Forest Road 263 east to Buzzard Divide Road, turn right onto it, proceed south.

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7. 65 to Island Lake.jpg
6. 50 to 65.jpg

Buzzard Divide Road to Crested Butte

Turn right onto unpaved Buzzard Divide Road and follow it through scenic ranch country to pavement at Highway 133. Turn right onto 133 follow it past Paonia Reservoir to the Kebler Pass Road it is paved for a short distance. Kebler pass road is one of the most scenic roads in Colorado, especially in the fall when the aspen trees are in color. If you need fuel, stay on 133 into Paonia.  There are many camping spots alongside Kebler Pass Road. There are some lanes leading off less than a mile to ridge top camps with great views. Horse Ranch Park is a large meadow area with campsites. There is no drinking water at any camp along the road. Lost Lake Campground has spaces, vault toilets, and potable water. At Lake Irwin there is a campground with vault toilets and potable water. There is a grand old lodge. I do not know if the Lodge is open these days. The campground is busy in the summer. Lake Irwin has good fishing.  You reach pavement and the town of Crested Butte. A beautiful Victorian mining town with many restaurants and lodging, stores and gas. Be sure to fill up here. Maybe take a break from camping and get a room with a shower.

Crested Butte to

From Crested Butte you ride south on Highway 135 to Forest Road 742. I have not ridden this road, so I cannot tell you much about it. There are campgrounds along it. Ride to Taylor Park Reservior, it has a lodge, cafe, store, gas camping. You join the Colorado Outdoor Backcountry Discovery Route for your ride over Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista.

11. Crested Butte to Taylor Park Reservi
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Buena Vista to Florrisant.

Buena Vista is the major town in this part of Colorado, it has full services, supermarkets etc. It is the hub of major river rafting if you would like to take a day to raft the Arkansas River. You will ride south on Highway 24 to Johnson Village turn left  onto 285/ 24 toward Antero Junction. The directions are a bit tricky here It seems that somebody just wandered around here with a bulldozer putting roads where he wanted with odd names. You can miss all this fun by riding highway 24 to High 9, turn right on it, head south to Road 166 Turn left onto 166 take it to Road 58. Ride East to Road 307 turn right toward Mushroom Gulch dispersed camping sites. Just beyond Mushroom Gulch site 2 turn right onto Road 308. Take 308 to the junction of 308, 329 and take 318 to the intersection of Windmill Drive, turn right onto Windmill Drive to Blacksmith Drive, turn right onto Blacksmith Road. Take Blacksmith to Campfire Road, turn right onto it. Take Campfire Road to Ranch Road, turn right onto Ranch Road. Take Ranch Road to County Road 136, turn left on it. Take it East just over a mile there is an intersection where an unnamed road (on my map) angles off to the right, take this as County Road 136 appears to end a couple miles up. Follow the diagonal road to County Road 55, turn left onto it. Take it to Chimapaui Trail, turn right onto to it. Take it to where turns right 90 degrees and becomes Anadarko Trail. This turns 90 degrees left follow it ti Arapaho trail at another 90 degree left. Take it to Chimapavi Trail another 90 degree right turn. Take that east, it winds to the north and comes to the intersection of the Donhe Trail. Turn right onto it. follow it until it becomes the Chimapavi Trail again. Follow it to County Road 53.  Turn left here, follow CR 53 north to Eufala Trail turn right onto it. Follow Eufala Trail to Hutke Road, turn left on Hutke follow it north to Delaware Road, turn left on it, follow it north to Keechi Road, turn right onto it, follow it to Isadowa Trail, turn left on to it. Follow Isadowa Trail to Kusaa Road. Turn left onto Kusaa Road follow it north. It becomes Chikadee Drive take it to Kinglet Drive, turn right onto Kinglet Drive. Turn right onto Cahokia Road. Take it to Commanche Road. Take it to Buffalo Drive. Ride Buffalo Drive south to Comanche Trail, turn left on to Commanch Trail, take it to Highway 9. Ride paved Higway 9 south to Road 116. Turn left on Road 116.Take it to Road 59. Turn Right onto Road 59 at Elevenmile Canyon Reservoir. Take Road 59 to County Road 99. Turn left onto CR 99 take it to County Road 403.

 

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14. Eleven mile to Florrisant.jpg

Florrisant to Cripple Creek.

Florrisant is a small town of about 166 people. It has gas and food and a small museum. There does not appear to be any lodging though. Just south of Florrisant is the Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument, a small but excellent National Monument. Take time to tour and hike there. The Colorado Traverse Route goes through the Monument. Turn south onto Route 1 toward Cripple Creek. Ride to Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument. Continue south on Route 1 to Cripple Creek, a well preserved 19th century mining town with full services.

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Cripple Creek to Colorado Springs.

This final stretch to Colorado Springs completes the scenic portion of the ride. Ride east on Route 67 to the left hand turn onto CR 821, take it to the intersection of CR 81, turn left here, ride to Road 8 to Road 368 turn left onto 368 take it to the edge of Colorado Springs at Penrose Blvd

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17. Bison Creek to Colorado Springs.jpg

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is the major city on the route. You may continue east to the Kansas border just to say you traversed all of Colorado, border to border, but, a more interesting alternative is to end your ride at the summit of Pikes Peak. This final section is about 30 miles. Turn left onto Penrose then right onto El Pomar, then left onto Cresta Road, follow Cresta Road to Highway 24 to Cascade CO, turn left onto the Pikes Peak Toll Road take it to the summit at 14,115 feet..

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