The morning was cold and we woke up early in the Poudre Canyon cabins that we had not bothered to light fires to warm. The little store at the lodge had coffee but for breakfast we would need to ride over Cameron Pass to Walden, 42 miles away. We must have set an OFMC record for early starts.
By the time we settled in for breakfast at the Moose Creek Cafe it was warm enough that we chose shady spots and ate a good breakfast while three Norton motorcycles cruised up and down the street in front of us. Who knows what they were up to. Then it was time to head south on CO 125 over Willow Creek Pass, down to Granby.
Willow Creek Pass is one of those passes that few people have heard of because you go over it and you wonder, “so, did we go over a pass back there?” But it’s pretty, forested, and the road is fairly twisty so we’re not going to complain. It’s just not in the same ballpark as Berthoud Pass or Independence Pass or even Hoosier Pass.
Reaching U.S. 40 just outside of Granby it was time to stop and assess. A left turn would take us to Kremmling, where we could head south on CO 9 directly to Silverthorne and Dillon, with Dillon being our destination for the day. A right turn would lead through Granby, to Winter Park, over Berthoud Pass, down to I-70, up over Loveland Pass, and then down to Dillon. We didn’t want to reach Dillon too late in the afternoon but with our early start we had time, so it was a no-brainer to take the route with the passes. We turned left.
Berthoud Pass has plenty of turns and a lot of steep drops so we took our time, but the road has been almost completely rebuilt in recent years so it’s nothing to give the willies to anyone accustomed to riding in the mountains. To a flatlander, however, I’m sure it can be scary. So much the better. Makes it memorable.
Down on the other side, traffic on I-70 was almost parked for some reason so as quickly as possible I led the group off onto old U.S. 6, which still runs up the same canyon in places. Much prettier and faster going than the interstate on this day. Then it was back on the slab for a couple miles and off again onto U.S. 6 and up and over Loveland Pass. Loveland is one of the really spectacular Colorado passes so of course we had to stop at the top, even though we’ve all been there innumerable times. It’s just that good.
From there it was a short ride down to Dillon, which is built on the shore of Lake Dillon, which inundates the previous route of U.S. 6. It was here that we were to pick up another OFMC member, Johnathon, but first he had to play saxophone with his band, HomeSlice, at a concert in Dillon that night. That was our reason for staying in Dillon in the first place, to let him play his gig and then join us riding on from there. Plus, the music is good so it’s like we were unhappy to have to be there.
Plus, I’d never realized how nice a vacation spot Dillon is. Provided you don’t mind spending the cash. It wasn’t cheap. So we spent a night in a considerably more civilized setting than the night before.
Recent from Passes & Canyons Blog
Kebler Pass on the V-Strom