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Old 01-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #1
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Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

I'm trying to do a L O N G trip from NM to AB/BC in late spring. Going basically from down near the Chiricahua's in AZ up through NM, CO, WY and MT. I'd like to avoid freeways, and just for giggles stay near the continental divide. I've spend lots of time a bit west of the divide, it seems, like in eastern AZ, SW CO, western WY around the Wind River Range, and on both sides of the Rockies in AB & BC. So I'd like to drift further east.

I'd also like to hit the Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier (the US/Canadian border one, not the near Golden one). I'm ashamed to say haven't been there yet.

So any suggestions about places along that general route would be appreciated. Anything from camping, to interesting side trips, campsites, sites to see, breweries, whatever. Just follow the >>>>>>>>>>> line on your AAA Western States map.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

Not a lot new to suggest, but consider swinging by Franktown for a shower/power just to say hey. Also, a LOT of snow up in the mountains still- some roads don't open until mid-July.

-Great Sand Dunes National Park and Medano Pass (not sure about seasonality of pass, but I want to spend a week boondocking along the beaver ponds one of these days)
-Garden of the Gods (north of Colorado Springs) worth an afternoon of hiking, no camping
-Pikes Peak: don't waste your money
-Lost Lake in N. Colorado Rockies is cool, but not sure of the boondocking status
-Glenrock WY: viewtopic.php?f=32&t=9746

CO 50 into Caņon city is a good way to get from Moab side to this side.
East C470 around Denver is very light and once you cross I-70 turns into highway into Boulder
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is just a little west of the CTD north of Cuba, NM and could change your life. Allow 2-3 days minimum.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:36 PM   #4
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

Gold Camp Road from near Colorado Springs to Victor and Cripple Creek is fun. May or may not be open, depending on your dates and what the winter snow was like. A number of nice side "roads" that are passable with 4wd and lead to beautiful isolated areas where you can camp.

Back in the day, when I was at NORAD, I used to take my VW bug up there camping. It did pretty good on most of the jeep roads. Gold Camp Road itself is easy.

Watch out for the weather near Rocky Mountain National Park -- one year in late May, the high country was still closed in tight, and we were tent camping further down. Nearly froze our butts off -- when we got up in the morning there was ice on the creek nearby, which was ice-free when the sun went down the night before! I still get cold just thinking about it!

Another fun drive is Rampart Range (Ridge?) Road from Manitou Pass up into the Denver area, again with many possible side trips available.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:26 AM   #5
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

A couple of interesting Interstate diversions for us between Yellowstone and Glacier are to take Hwy 1 off I-90 from Anaconda up to Drummond, then take 200/83 (just east of Missoula) up through Seeley Lake to Kalispell on the way to Glacier. Very pretty and quiet countryside on both of those. A few good CGs, ghost towns, small towns and great views.

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:06 AM   #6
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

Quote:
Originally Posted by chromisdesigns
Rampart Range (Ridge?) Road from Manitou Pass
This actually connects to Garden of the Gods as well. Main reason I didn't mention it is it's a dust choked haven for dirtbikers and quads whenever we've been up there; plenty of good camping spots though and not sure what the winter/spring conditions are like.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:19 AM   #7
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

From the east side of Glacier coming off the going to the sun road come up through Babb and across the border to Cardston AB, theres some nice backroads over to Waterton NP, from there, there are a number of great backroads heading north just east of the divide depending how far you want to go. And most of the areas you can boondock. Let me know if your interested in more detail or if you have some more specific ideas of what you'd like to do or see i could help with that as well.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:54 AM   #8
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Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

Quote:
Originally Posted by durangatangs
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is just a little west of the CTD north of Cuba, NM and could change your life. Allow 2-3 days minimum.
While in the neighborhood, check out the Bisti & De-Na-Zin Badlands northwest of Chaco. Foot travel only but small so you can see large parts in minimal time.

South of Chaco (and I-40) but in a CD line towards Chaco more or less, look for the backroads through the Plains of San Agustin to US-60 and north through El Malpais National Monument, home to some of the most recent lava flows in North America. To its east, you'll find Acoma Pueblo, or the Sky City, a 700-year-old community and one of the centers of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (the folks took umbrage when Juan de Oņate ordered the left foot of its males amputated in reprisal for his nephew's death in an earlier battle; it simmered for about a century until the NM pueblos had had enough and chased the Spaniards out for a decade or so). To its west is Zuni, another relatively isolated and ancient pueblo, and El Morro, home to Oņate's 1605 Kilroy-was-here inscription in the rock and pueblo ruins on its top with tremendous views. Then, there's the mountain biking trails north of there (tip of the hat to JoeH for the tip). Both pueblos have great museums though I'm partial to the one at Zuni.

In NM, it's a question of what dirt and secondary roads you want to travel and how much time you want to spend. Some one should write a book.

Don
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:33 AM   #9
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

Great suggestions; keep 'em coming.

As to AB, I've been down towards Pincher Creek, but not all the way to the border. I've always wanted to drive that forestry trunk road from near there up towards 1.

And although Kaispell is a ways off the CD route, which I'd probably take east-ish up to Glacier, I was thinking of coming back via 93 through Kalispell. I've pretty much driven 95 border-to-border; interesting how there are some really cool roads running north-south. It's amazed me that as I sat o the side of 95 in Yuma that it's the same road as the one I parked on in Golden, BC; 93 is Phoenix and Jasper, BC; 97 Weed, Ca to Dawson Creek.

191 is also amazing: Douglas, AZ through wonderful bits of UT, Dinosaur, Wind Rivers, Tetons, Yellowstone, to the border.

I could basically just drive one of those and be happy.

Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:54 AM   #10
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Re: Advice for spring on the Continental Divide

There is a mountain bike route http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Divi ... Bike_Route.

There are a couple of mountain bike races along this route each year. The movie, Ride The Divide, is about one of them. From the movie, most of the route looked drive-able with 4X4 ... the web site will certainly give you some route options.
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