Tuesday, February 8, 2011

crmbt - glenwood springs to hotchkiss

Today you'll ride out of Glenwood Springs to Carbondale where you'll head south on CO 133, the northern leg of the West Elk Loop. It's a scenic 80 miles today with a short, but steep climb over McClure Pass roughly half way. But, before you get there, enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way.

You could stop for a visit in Redstone, or check out the coke ovens near Cardiff. At the very least, take some time to admire the Crystal River and the canyon it flows through as you make your way towards the summit.
Once the real climbing starts the grades can hit 9%, but the climb is less than four miles, and the altitude is nothing for Colorado at 8755 feet.
The grades aren't quite as steep on the other side, but it's still a nice descent. And the scenery as you pass Paonia Reservoir and Paonia State Park is beautiful.
As you ride on towards Hotchkiss, the scenery changes from alpine to high desert. You're definitely on the western slope. You'll ride past ranches and mines, farms and vineyards. Chances are it will be hot later in the day, so a cool drink will really hit the spot when you roll into town. There's a descent barbecue place not far from the high school called Zack's, but get there early to beat the crowd. And get to bed early for a big final day tomorrow.


  1. I think this will be a great day. I've ridden from the other direction twice. Coming up from Hotchkiss always seemed to be against the wind plus a climb.
    So the ride down from McClure to Hotchkiss should be super.
    Either way, McClure is underrated as far as difficulty. It's not an easy climb.


  2. I'm drooling...gorgeous there, Jeff, and those roads look worth the effort.