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Discussion Starter #1
What are your favorite passes to ride on your V-Strom?

I'd like to hear from Strom riders how they rate the various mountain passes of Colorado.

Rate them in whatever terms you like...

I know difficulty can be very subjective and vary greatly between riders....but I'd like to hear what YOU have to say anyway.

Paved? unpaved? well maintained? baby head rocks? how steep?
Is it Easy? Challenging? No way! etc.

Please feel free to post pics, links, descriptions, warnings, must see/ride, so on and so on.......

Thank You for your input.
:D
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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http://www.mycolorado.org/trails.html
http://www.traildamage.com/trails/index.php
Both these links are Jeep-oriented, but many of the trails listed are rated low enough on a difficulty scale that a Strom could handle it.

Some of my favorites include:

Red Mtn Pass
Independence Pass
Wolf Creek Pass
Berthoud Pass
Loveland Pass

All of these are paved with outstanding views and good roads.

Guanella Pass and Engineer Pass aren't paved, but it's easy to make on a Strom and well worth the effort

If you're riding something other than a Strom and want something really "dual-sport", I can give you some good ideas there too.
 

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$tromTrooper
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Here are a few that I have really enjoyed. About half the passes in Colorado...I have done 2-Up with the wife and we had a blast!!!

By the way, if you are willing to tackle some rough and tough dirt, I would highly, highly recommed the San Juans in the southwest part of the state. Not only is there great dirt passes, but also amazing pavement passes. By the way, this is the location of the 2009 Colorado Strom Gathering.....Ouray, CO!!!!!


Loveland Pass. Paved road. Well maintained in the winter. Fun Twisties...piece of cake to ride. 5 on a scale of 10.



Owl Creek Pass (10,114). Maintained Forest Service Road. Not sure about winter access. 6 on a scale of 10.



Cinnamon Pass (12,620). (Roughly) Maintained Jeep Trail. Closed in Winter. 8 on a scale of 10.



Marshall Pass (10,842). (Roughly) Maintained Forest Service Road. Not sure about winter access. 7 on a scale of 10.



Hurricane Pass (12,407). 'bout the same as Cinnamon.



Kebler Pass (10,007). Maintained County Road. 6 on a scale of 10.



Monarch Pass (11,312). Highway 50....easy going. 5 on a scale of 10.



Cumberland Pass (12,015). Roughly maintained Jeep Trail. 7 on a scale of 10. Did this one 2-Up!!!



Other passes done on the Strom that I would recommend (no pics, sorry)....

Engineer Pass (12,780). Jeep Trail...very little maintenance. 9 on a scale of 10.

Highway 550, "Million Dollar Highway". Molas Pass (10,910). Coal Bank Pass (10,640). Red Mountain Pass (11,018).....all great pavement and easy ridin.... 5 on a scale of 10.

Wolf Creek Pass (10,810). Highway 160. Paved and easy stuff. 5 on a scale of 10.

Independence Pass (12,095). Highest Paved Pass in North America. 5 on a scale of 10.

Hoosier Pass (11,539). Paved Pass. 5 on a scale of 10.

Trail Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park. Iceberg Pass (11,827). Paved, but Closed in Winter. 5 on a scale of 10.

Yeah....there are many, many, many more........


By the way, the only reason I rate the paved passes a 5 is because of the sand and gravel on the road in early spring...possible ice in the shady spots. In the summer, they are an easy 3 of 10.

I know about tons more. My three year goal is to ride every pass in Colorado and I am about 2/3'rds finished. Summer of 2009 will be a BIG year of Pass Riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is a Great start!!

:hurray: :hurray:

Keep 'em coming!!

:thumbup:

Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now that summer is here.....

What's the scoop on current conditions?
 

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Have very limited experience in the dirt and on a fully loaded 1K Ophir Pass tasked ( or is it taxed - oops that's another thread ) my abilities. I would have rather approached it from the Ophir side as the Silverton side is a cakewalk and going downhill into Ophir isn't!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It looks like I may be able sneak out to Colorado in a couple of weeks after all....
My route is flexible and subject to change for time & weather etc....

...but it will likely take me from Colorado Springs towards Buena Vista then...

Cottonwood Pass to Crested Butte,
Kebler/Ohio passes toward Gunnison,

Owl Creek Pass towards Ouray,
play around that area... 550, Red Mtn, Ophir, Animas Forks...maybe Engineer to Lake City...not sure about that til I see it.

Then maybe the Marshall Pass towards Salida.

That's probably about all the time I'll have and I won't really know where I'll want to overnight......so having lots of options would be good.

Is it true that you can camp anywhere you like in the National Forests of Colorado?

Do you have any favorite locations or campgrounds you can share?
(it might be nice to camp someplace with showers every 2nd or 3rd day too)

Thanks for any help you can give.
 

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$tromTrooper
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You can just thrown down a tent and/or bag anywhere in the National Forest, unless it explicitly is posted that you cannot. If you prefer, there are many outstanding National Forest Campgrounds that range from$10-$15 or so a night and you will get a level site, usually faucet water and toilets, not to mention trash desposal. Hit this site for campgrounds....they are all good to great.

Chalk Lake is great, but there are many, many other great one's as well......
Click Here for Campgrounds

It looks like I may be able sneak out to Colorado in a couple of weeks after all....
My route is flexible and subject to change for time & weather etc....

...but it will likely take me from Colorado Springs towards Buena Vista then...

Cottonwood Pass to Crested Butte,
Kebler/Ohio passes toward Gunnison,

Owl Creek Pass towards Ouray,
play around that area... 550, Red Mtn, Ophir, Animas Forks...maybe Engineer to Lake City...not sure about that til I see it.

Then maybe the Marshall Pass towards Salida.

That's probably about all the time I'll have and I won't really know where I'll want to overnight......so having lots of options would be good.

Is it true that you can camp anywhere you like in the National Forests of Colorado?

Do you have any favorite locations or campgrounds you can share?
(it might be nice to camp someplace with showers every 2nd or 3rd day too)

Thanks for any help you can give.

My latest pass achievements are......

Cottonwood...(1/2 pavement, 1/2 dirt), you could do this one on a Goldwing



Tin Cup....this is the toughest pass I have ever riden on the Strom.
 

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Sure glad I wasn't on my Strom over that. The DRZ made easy work of it, Especially if I stayed in Jen's line. She picks the best line, all the time. Gotta get a skid plate for the strom. Scares me,Don't need a hole in the case. You handled those rocks well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
MTNAdventureRider said:
Tin Cup....this is the toughest pass I have ever riden on the Strom.
Sure glad I wasn't on my Strom over that. The DRZ made easy work of it, Especially if I stayed in Jen's line. She picks the best line, all the time. Gotta get a skid plate for the strom. Scares me,Don't need a hole in the case. You handled those rocks well.
Good job getting the Wee over Tin Cup! :var_50:

I'm not gonna consider anything that rough on this ride. :bom_shy:

Engineer keeps echoing in the back of my head though.......

Has anybody ridden Engineer lately?

Would you prefer to ride it Up to Lake City or Down to Ouray?


How about Hancock & Tomichi?

soloyosh said:
Hancock Pass, looking toward Tomichi Pass.

Trans America Trail...

That pic makes it a temptation......does the terrain have any "suprises" not shown here?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm planning on heading to Colorado next week and I've started a pre-ride Ride Report/route sheet in that forum CLICK HERE

I'll be sure to let you know how I rate them upon my return! :bom_smoking:
 

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My dirt passes list on the Wee (stock tires + skid plate) include:

Easy:

Los Pinos

Marshall





Moderate:

Cinnamon

Engineer

This was Engineer







Hurricane

Corkscrew





Challenging:

Mosquito












Kennebec





 

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$tromTrooper
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One thing I would say about the Colorado Passes is.....it really changes from one year to the next. For instance....last year on Engineer, Hurricane and Cinnamon...it wasn't that bad. This year, that same route was a solid degree tougher due to bigger washouts, bigger rocks and tougher conditions.

I heard that folks said Tin Cup was really nice in 2007-08. But with all the weather and all the quads (literally hundreds of them) running up and down that pass....it is the second toughest stretch of riding I have ever attemped on the Strom. It is about as tough as I want to push the Strom.

Just for the record, the loop around Flag Mountain, to the east of Crested Butte....is by far the most challenging.

I totally dumped the bike is some slick clay on the way up and then this rock garden could not have been done without a couple of pushes from riding friends.



Do not do the Flag Mountain Loop alone on a Strom!!!!!


By the way BCR.....GREAT PICS!!!!


\.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Here's a cool Google Earth file that is loaded!! :p

It's not mine......here's the quote from ADV.

Mac said:
WARNING: Outside of a dog, this could be the most fun you have today. Inside of a dog, it's a bloody mess. (Sincere apologies to Groucho Marx).


I've created a Google Earth Map of many Colorado Passes. So far, I have 146 different passes mapped. I've divided them into two types:

1) Paved Roads (62 passes), and

2) Unpaved Roads (84 passes).



The master map file is stored on my server. I may update it in the future with additional passes, such as 4WD or trail only passes. All you need to do is follow the instructions below and you will automatically get the added passes, when they are added.

Anyway, here are the simple, management-proof instructions:

1) Get and Install Google Earth. (Not Google Maps).

2) Download Colorado Passes. (Should automatically open inside Google Earth).



To get your fingers wet, so to speak, after you've successfully opened the "Colorado Passes" within "Google Earth", try this (within Google Earth):

1) In the map area, click on any pass, so you see the white bubble. In the bubble, click on "To here".

2) Again in the map area, click on another pass so you see the white bubble. In the bubble, click on "From here".

3) Look at the cool turn-by-turn map.

4) In the left pane, under the turn-by-turn directions, click the little "Play Tour" button (looks like a small right-arrow).



Happy Google Earth-ing...
.
Check it out! It's pretty cool! :bom_smoking:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I'm planning on heading to Colorado next week and I've started a pre-ride Ride Report/route sheet in that forum CLICK HERE

I'll be sure to let you know how I rate them upon my return! :bom_smoking:
I'm back and here's what I managed to ride.....I'll rate them in more detail and post pics later.

:bom_dunce:

15 dirt passes crossed and 5 honorable mentions..that were pass-like

...in order crossed

1) Stoney....easy
2) Boreas...easy...some pot holes
3) Weston...moderate/easy...loose steep rocky section on West side
4) Cottonwood...easy 1/2 paved...1/2 oil soaked gravel
5) Cumberland...easy
6) Alpine Tunnel (honorable mention)...moderate
7) Waunita...easy
8.) Black Sage...easy
9) Old Monarch...easy
10) Engineer...moderate upper...lower section to Ouray is more difficult
11) Ophir...moderate+ loose and rocky...borders difficult in it's current state
12) Black Bear...(honorable mention)...just to powerhouse...moderate..bumpy fixed rocks that can be avoided.
13) Imogene...moderate to difficult..Tomboy mine section loose and rocky
14) Red Mtn S..cr 14 (honorable..it felt like a pass)...easy..smooth but steep
15) Cinnamon..moderate
16) Owl Creek..easy
17) Kebler..easy..fast
18.) Ohio...easy..fast
19) Ute Trail (honorable...couple small un-named crossings)..easy fast
20) Gold Camp Rd (honorable..descends to Colorado Springs) easy..steep to CS

The ones that I would not want to ride with out a skid plate include:
Weston, Alpine Tunnel, Engineer, Ophir, Black Bear, Imogene, Cinnamon


10 paved passes crossed..1 honorable mention

1) Kenosha
2) Hoosier
3) Cottonwood..it's 1/2 paved
4) Monarch*
5) Slumgullion*
6) Red Mtn*
7) Molas
8.) Coal Bank
9) Wolf Creek
10) Spring Creek
11) hwy 92 North rim of Black Canyon (honorable mention for scenery and twistiness)
*crossed twice
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Stoney pass....CLICK HERE for google map.

Easy dirt roads between Deckers and Bailey.

No clearance issues noted.

Some of the forest along this route still bears the scars from the fire started by a ranger that was burning love letters from another ranger back in the mid 90s













 
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