Sometimes I have the issue of being a “yes man”. I end up driving halfway across the state on a whim just because someone put the bright idea in my head that I ought to spend yet another weekend adventuring random places out in the great outdoors. I guess you could call that a good weekend (but kind of run-of-the-mill for my crew and I). Sure beats sitting on the couch. Also beer, for some odd reason, tastes way better in the great Colorado outdoors than in my house.
Quite the fun offroad route from U.S. 285/24 in South Park to Buena Vista, the Lenhardy Cutoff offers plenty of adventure for all types of activities. Lenhardy Cutoff is simply another example of a road which exists solely to support the industries of the youthful western state of Colorado. Late season adventures brought me here, and we ran the trail from east to west after the nearby Sevenmile Creek Road.
Lenhardy Cutoff is one of two offroad routes from U.S. Highways 24/285 to Buena Vista, and is overall not technical, although a difficult section near the eastern end could prove troublesome for some vehicles.
A garden-variety high mountain offroad pass in Colorado, Weston Pass provides a convenient shortcut between Leadville and Fairplay. Weston Pass is just south of the infamous Mosquito Pass, another high mountain offroad pass. Mosquito pass similarly connects Leadville to Fairplay to the north, yet is much steeper and requires a more well-equipped vehicle than Weston Pass.
Labor Day weekend is the official unofficial end of summer. It’s also the only three day weekend most people get before warm days start running out.
The itinerary for the weekend was packed, starting with an impromptu offroad trip out of Boulder, a return to Fort Collins to gear up, and an 11th hour drive to the Red Feather Lakes area for a two night camping trip. This post is somewhat novel for this blog; here I’m featuring a few never-before-featured areas, as well as some familiar areas that have been featured before.
Switzerland Trail, Left Hand Park Reservoir, the Peak-to-Peak Highway
Out of Boulder Canyon/highway 119, there are plenty of old roads to explore. Switzerland Trail is accessible via Sugarloaf Rd and Sugarloaf Mountain Rd, less than ten miles from Boulder up the canyon. Sugarloaf Rd climbs steeply up from highway 119 in the canyon, and is paved. Sugarloaf Rd mainly provides access for residents along it, but Sugarloaf Mountain Rd branches off to the north and provides access to public lands, the Switzerland Trail, and other opportunities.
Detouring through Collbran, CO, in order to avoid Interstate 70 just confirms even more that the choosing the side route often leads to a greater journey, and is certainly worth it if you’re not in a hurry. This is a sensible side route if you’re traveling to Grand Junction (hint: ultimately to Moab) and not in a rush. It doesn’t tack on a lot of extra mileage (unless you go over the Grand Mesa), but it does tack on an additional 20-30 minutes compared to the same route via I-70. The first time around doing this, I decided to take a cruise over the Grand Mesa (in November, as you do), which was interesting and got a little squirrelly upon encountering a blizzard and a foot or so of snow. The Grand Mesa could be a trip in its own right and something warranting its own post, but I’m including a little bit on it since it’s worth mentioning and I wouldn’t have gone up there to begin with if I didn’t go through Collbran.
Something a little different was in the works for New Years this year. I wasn’t exactly feeling the whole “getting drunk and staying out way too late” thing that has happened the past however many New Years. I had a three day weekend off from work and no school, so naturally a short little trip was in order. Fortunately a friend was in the same boatso we decided to go hang out in Salida for a change.
There’s not a ton to see in Walden. It is a small town, located right in the middle of the already sparsely populated north park. It is the county seat and most populated municipality of Jackson County. Most people who visit Walden are passing through.
I’ve been to Walden a handful of times. Most of the time it has been a pit-stop, but one time I decided to spend a little more time in Walden and get a sense of what the town’s about.