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Five Day Paved Trip DFW / Colorado Loop Suggestions?

Jarrett

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This year I want to take the VFR to see some scenic views in Colorado. I don't mind doing it solo, but wouldn't mind company if logistics work out.

I don't want to burn too many works days on it, so I was thinking about leaving my house at say 4pm on Thursday afternoon and rolling back in around sunset on the following Tuesday.

My goal is to go see some of the scenic views and curvy roads that Colorado has to offer. I'm more into seeing the green stuff than desertscape. I'd like to stop riding by sunset each day. I'd like to go when the weather is somewhere between 50-80 degrees if possible as well.

Just throwing out ideas maybe something like:

Thursday night in Vernon, TX
Friday Night in Trinidad, CO
Saturday night in Telluride, CO?
Sunday night in Pueblo, CO? Or Sante Fe, NM?
Monday night in Amarillo, TX
Make it home on Tuesday

Anyone have any tips to get the most bang for the miles out of this kind of trip?
 
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Jarrett...you need to move this to trip planning in general or upcoming rides...

& dont rush it by taking too little time off...
A full week will make for a much better CO trip
 
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My thoughts exactly. The don't rush part. The most important question is have you drove/ridden there before? Rushing it from Trinidad to Telluride would be a mistake. I for one am not crazy about Telluride in the first place too touristy for me.
 
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Why not ride thru northern New Mexico and stay in Las Vegas or Chama,NM first? There are some beautiful roads there that you should not miss on the way to Colorado. Put you right near CO 149 which is one of the nicer twisty roads in Colorado. Gunnison at the end of 149 is a neat little town with good places to hang your helmet as well as several good places to chow down.
 

Jarrett

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Jarrett...you need to move this to trip planning in general or upcoming rides...
I don't know how to move it. Wasn't sure exactly where to start it.

The most important question is have you drove/ridden there before? Rushing it from Trinidad to Telluride would be a mistake. I for one am not crazy about Telluride in the first place too touristy for me.
I've only driven from Trinidad to Denver and back on 25. Haven't done the interesting bits.

I just threw out Telluride because so many people talk about it. I assumed it was good riding.
 

Jarrett

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Why not ride thru northern New Mexico and stay in Las Vegas or Chama,NM first? There are some beautiful roads there that you should not miss on the way to Colorado. Put you right near CO 149 which is one of the nicer twisty roads in Colorado. Gunnison is a neat little town with good places to hang your helmet as well as several good places to chow down.
That sounds good to me. I don't really have a particular route or town in mind. Just want to see some pretty stuff up in the mountains.
 
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Ask Rusty (Woodbutcher) or one of the other mods...they can move it
I don't know how to move it. Wasn't sure exactly where to start it.



I've only driven from Trinidad to Denver and back on 25. Haven't done the interesting bits.

I just threw out Telluride because so many people talk about it. I assumed it was good riding.
 

Tourmeister

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My suggestion is to trailer as far West as you can to maximize your riding time THERE and not waste it getting there and getting back. Having made that ride a few times, I can tell you it is BORING and will just blast through the center of your tires.

I would consider trailering to Raton, NM., as a minimum, or maybe Las Vegas, NM. If you want to hit points further North, Trindad would be better. Or, perhaps trailer to Chama, NM.

So you can come into Colorado from North Central NM, or come into the mountains via Trinidad, Co. Personally, I would come through Las Vegs, Taos, Chama, Pagosa Springs, make a big loop on 160, 550, 50, and 149, then head back out the way you came, or real close to it. Or, you can run 160 over to Mancos and head up 145 to Telluride, then either cut back over to Ridgway on 62, or keep running up 141 through Naturita all the way up to US 50 just South of Grand Junction. Either way, you'll want to be heading back East on US 50 to 149, then come back down through Lake City, Creede, South Fork, Pagosa Springs, etc,...

If you have never been out there, 550 between Durango and Ouray is pretty awesome scenery, but not a go fast road. There are few guard rails and many opportunities to go over a cliff. There are not too many places to pass and if you hit slow traffic, you might as well just enjoy the spectacular scenery.

The run up to Telluride generally has much less traffic and more passing zones. Telluride is okay, but VERY pricey for anything other than lunch! Better to head up to Ridgway or maybe Gateway for a place to stay. If you head up 141, get gas in Telluride, just to be sure.

Ignore the long straight lines if you click on the viewer. Not sure why those get stuck in there. They are not actually in the GPX file. the connect the start/stop points for each day. If you download the attachment, it should be four GPX tracks with the number on the end of each day being the miles per day.

GPX viewer
 

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Well since you asked take NM 40 to 84 then to Las Vegas,NM. Then continue north on 434,518,make the loop on NM 38 "The Enchanted loop" up and over or south and then NM 84/64 to Chama,NM stay at the Branding Iron Motel and eat dinner at High Country. Then take CO 160 to Pagosa Springs then north on CO 149 all the way to Gunnison. In Gunnison hang your helmet at The Long Holiday motel or the KOA. Eat breakfast at the "W" cafe and dinner a steak at Ole Miner steakhouse. This road is wonderful and I personally guarantee that you will love it. From there head west young man on CO 50 to Co 92 and take that around the back side of the Black canyon of the Gunnison. Next 550 south from Delta all the way to Durango or you can loop over to Telluride on 62 then down toward Delores and Cortez then home. 550 or the million dollar highway is best in good weather and ONLY ridden if you are not afraid of heights! Most of the road is without guard rails. In Durango eat at Serious Texas BBQ on the edge of town. Roads are way more curvy then what they look like on the map. So expect for ride times to be much longer than you might think. The way home depends on your time left. Hope this helps some?
 

copb8

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5 days to go all the way to Telluride and back leaves you so little time to enjoy the destination. 40% of the time you'll just be commuting through some boring landscape. You'll be cheating yourself.

Taking 2 more days off work bridged across weekends would be infinitely better and give you the chance to actually feel like you've experienced the area. We've 'trailered' to Santa Fe twice and Colorado Springs once and then rode up from there. Was perfect. Left the truck at a hotel that we stayed at on both ends of the ride so it was secure. Driving back across West Texas once it was 107 legit outside. That right there reaffirmed the decision.

And if you do the longer trip you may find more willing riding buddies.

Good luck
 

Tourmeister

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A 300 mile day in SW Colorado on paved roads is a good day of riding. I generally get on the bike around 9:00am, take lots of pics along the way, eat lunch, take more pics, get to my hotel around 5-6pm, clean up in time for dinner, and enjoy a relaxing evening. For those of you that are crack of dawn riders, a 350-400 mile day might be more preferable, but I just don't like to rush. I used to do the 400-500 mile days on trips and I found I just didn't enjoy them as much because I was always so focused on knocking down the miles so I could get to the next place. The result was that I wasn't focusing on enjoying the ride as much.

Your AT would REALLY be the bike for this trip. There are some excellent unpaved roads you could ride that are NOT challenging, meaning people with big trucks hauling huge RVs can go down them. I did some of them last July on my 1200 GS and they were very well maintained roads with really nice scenic views. Of course, it wasn't raining (too hard) the days we did some of those. Hotels anywhere in SW Colorado are not going to be cheap unless they are really old and not so nice. Montrose has a nice Best Western on the East side of town on US 50. I think it is called the Red Arrow Inn & Suites. I've stayed there for a whole week on several different trips. There are decent places to eat within short walking distance. There is also a Honda dealer about a mile further East on US 50. Chama has all kinds of cool little places and cabins to rent. We stayed there a few years ago when we went out to ride the train between Chama and Antonito, Co.
 

Jarrett

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Personally, I would come through Las Vegs, Taos, Chama, Pagosa Springs, make a big loop on 160, 550, 50, and 149, then head back out the way you came, or real close to it. Or, you can run 160 over to Mancos and head up 145 to Telluride, then either cut back over to Ridgway on 62, or keep running up 141 through Naturita all the way up to US 50 just South of Grand Junction. Either way, you'll want to be heading back East on US 50 to 149, then come back down through Lake City, Creede, South Fork, Pagosa Springs, etc,...

If you have never been out there, 550 between Durango and Ouray is pretty awesome scenery, but not a go fast road. There are few guard rails and many opportunities to go over a cliff. There are not too many places to pass and if you hit slow traffic, you might as well just enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Well since you asked take NM 40 to 84 then to Las Vegas,NM. Then continue north on 434,518,make the loop on NM 38 "The Enchanted loop" up and over or south and then NM 84/64 to Chama,NM stay at the Branding Iron Motel and eat dinner at High Country.

Then take CO 160 to Pagosa Springs then north on CO 149 all the way to Gunnison. In Gunnison hang your helmet at The Long Holiday motel or the KOA. Eat breakfast at the "W" cafe and dinner a steak at Ole Miner steakhouse. This road is wonderful and I personally guarantee that you will love it.

From there head west young man on CO 50 to Co 92 and take that around the back side of the Black canyon of the Gunnison. Next 550 south from Delta all the way to Durango. 550 is best in good weather and ONLY ridden if you are not afraid of heights! Most of the road is without guard rails.

In Durango eat at Serious Texas BBQ on the edge of town. Roads are way more curvy then what they look like on the map. So expect for ride times to be much longer than you might think. The way home depends on your time left. Hope this helps some?
I like these plans, thanks. This seems like a good route in general.

Is it better to go through Lake City on the way to Gunnison or our towards Saguache?

I'm not scared of heights. Hoping to see some heights actually.

I know it will be boring getting there, but I want to do it just one time to see what its like to ride the whole way.
 
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If you do decide to ride the whole trip....plan a route thru west Tx & NM that switches from road to road while still maintaining a northwesterly track. I prefer this to one long boring road (aka 287)...keeps me involved & my mind is fresher when I get to my destination....
Well..as fresh as my mind can be anyway

You will definately need 2 weekends joined together if you ride the whole trip
 
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First and last days are too short. Heck, we stay in Amarillo when leaving after work. Slab it and make it to Walsenberg and stay at the Best Western and ask for a room out back so you can park right in front of your door. Then, get up in the morning, and hit 69 into the mountains. 69 is the perfect Colorado appetizer as it's not too twisty but has beautiful meadows between the mountains with some easy sweeping curves to get you ready for the good stuff. After you get to 50, pick a direction and have fun.

Tourmeister is right though, once you get to the mountains, the miles are slower and more taxing, but also more fun. Don't try to cram too much in there.

On your way back, stay in Tucumcari NM at the Blue Swallow Motel. Stop by the store for a six pack so you can sit outside and enjoy the nice weather, company of the other travelers as you bask in some very retro restored neon glow.

My trip I did a few years ago I had a similar time frame, but I overdid it a bit. I had to cut some out of my plans and I'd cut a little more out if I were you, but this could serve as a guide for you with some photos to assist and make you eager to go. :D

https://www.twtex.com/forums/threads/long-awaited-trip-colorado-in-september.105735/
 

Tourmeister

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My "standard" Colorado trip is always from Friday to the following Sunday a week later. That gives me two days of travel on each end if needed and 6 days of riding while there, which is AWESOME. Depending on how far you want to drive to "get there" and drop off the trailer, I would head for Chama or perhaps even Pagosa Springs. Then, with six days to ride, you could really hit a lot of fantastic roads even if you stick to pavement. If you are up for easy unpaved and well maintained roads, there is even more to do.

I will sometimes stay in one place multiple nights and just do loops out and back each day. This is what I have done when visiting Montrose. It is nicely located for about 4-5 days of riding. I often did that back when I lead tours in the area.

I would still stay SW and come up through Las Vegas, Taos, Chama, Pagosa Springs, and not through Saguache. It is nicer riding.
 
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Also, if you have never done it, stop by the Capulin Volcano. I've always rode on past it but we stopped there this past summer to get my son his stamp in his National Parks Passport and we popped on up to the top. It's much higher than it looks from the road below, and offers a great view for many miles across the plains.
 
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+1 on trailering to Colorado. Boring, and you'll grind off half the tread on your tires before you cross the state line.

Buy a Colorado Butler Map - paved roads version.
 
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My goal is to go see some of the scenic views and curvy roads that Colorado has to offer. I'm more into seeing the green stuff than desertscape. I'd like to stop riding by sunset each day. I'd like to go when the weather is somewhere between 50-80 degrees if possible as well.
Here's a couple links that provide typical monthly temps & weather conditions for Colorado & New Mexico - just click on a town name to get the info for that area.

https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/colorado/united-states/3175

https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/new-mexico/united-states/3201

All of the suggestions given are great - I've ridden all of those routes at one time or other over the years, you won't be disappointed with any of them.

The two most scenic roads in Northern New Mexico (IMO) are West & North of Taos NM - Hwy 64 between Taos & Tierra Amarilla (especially the stretch from Tres Piedras to Tierra Amarilla best views are going west to east) and Hwy 17 from Chama to Antonito CO - you can make loop by taking Hwy 285 from Tres Piedras to Antonito, then Hwy 17 to Chama and then Hwy 64 back to Taos. Also Hwy 64 from Cimarron to Eagles Nest (through Cimarron Canyon is a pretty cool ride)

If you decide to stay in Santa Fe, a good hotel choice is Garret's Desert Inn - only a couple of blocks from the historic square & is the most affordable one near the square.
 

misterk

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If I was going to do your schedule and this was my first big boy motorcycle tour this is what I would do.

Thursday - Amarillo

Friday - enchanted circle New Mexico.

Saturday - head to south fork co, go across wolf creek pass, million dollar highway spend night on 550 ouray or montrose. This will also give you time to go see telluride if you want.

Sunday - hwy 50 to gunnison, south to lake city, south fork turn east on 160. About 10 miles before i25 head south on scenic hwy 12 to cuchara then Trinidad. This would be a very long day.

You will probably stay in silverton or ouray, very pretty.

Monday - Ride to Amarillo or Vernon.

Tuesday - ride home.

Easy paved roads, great views and can’t get lost!

On your first trip, you need a lot of flexibility, you will stop for lots of pics and just enjoy the vibe of Colorado.

Form Amarillo heading to Clayton nm, ride to Channing tx, go due west then the road will turn north to Clayton nm. Beautiful 2 lane fm roads with no shoulder. Watch for antelope.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Liteitup

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Haul to somewhere. I have used Ratan, Las Vegas NM, and Tucumcari. Ratan seems to work best for me. I know, you want to ride. And you probably should the first time. make sure it's in July or August to get the full effect of west Texas on a motorcycle.
From Ratan, up 25 to Trinidad, then Hwy 12 to La Veta. From there 160 to 25 to 69 to westcliffe. Then 96 to 67 to Canon City and Skyline drive. Then 50 to Gunnison. I stay at the ABC hotel, but i understand it changed hands recently so....
If Cottonwood Pass has reopened, take it to Buena Vista. Up 24 to 82 and over Independence Pass. Through Aspen to Carbondale and south on 133 to 92 through the Black canyon and back to Gunnison.
50 west to 149 to 160 to Durango and 550 up to Ouray.
From Ouray, north to ridgeway and west on 145 to Naturita and 141... the best road in Colorado.

I'm out of time now, so you may have to figure your own way back:pirate:
 
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Through Aspen to Carbondale and south on 133 to 92 through the Black canyon and back to Gunnison.
I'm told 133 is a beautiful bit of roadway with amazing scenery. Somewhere near the beginning of it I hooked up with a local in a sports car. Let's say, I had a ton of fun, but don't remember the scenery at all. ;) I regret nothing.
 
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I like these plans, thanks. This seems like a good route in general.

Is it better to go through Lake City on the way to Gunnison or our towards Saguache?

I'm not scared of heights. Hoping to see some heights actually.

I know it will be boring getting there, but I want to do it just one time to see what its like to ride the whole way.
 
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Lake City. Now if you have a little extra time from Gunnison do ride the CO 114 towards Saquache and back it is a amazing twisty road with hills and a stream on the side. Beautiful scenery a few miles in with curve after curve.
 
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