Weekend Wheeling: Dennis's Pick for Denver, Colorado
You will probably choose to drive north on US 36 through Boulder to Estes Park (see map). No, do not stop and enjoy this lovely little place on the way. Do it on your way back to Denver. Better yet, plan your ride for Saturday and camp out in the park (call ahead) or motel it in town (call way way ahead) so you can enjoy the area without rushing. You'll get a park map at whichever entrance you choose, and it will show you how to make your way to the Endovalley Picnic Area (water, pit toilets), a perfect place to park your car for this ride if you'll be back by 8 p.m., when the gate is locked.
If you prefer a longer route, leave your rig in Estes Park and pedal in. It makes for more miles, but your legs will be warm before you begin the climb at Endovalley. If you choose to do this, enter Rocky Mountain through the Fall River Entrance on the north side of Estes Park. You'll be following the Fall River from that point to Endovalley on paved, easy-riding roads past Sheep Lakes through Horseshoe Park a long, beautiful valley created 12,000 years ago by a glacier. The meadow visible on your left and alive with wildflowers in late spring and early summer is where the icy waters of the glacial lake once stood. You'll also see remnants of glacial moraines the sometimes huge deposits of rocks and gravel scooped up during a glacier's advance and left along its sides (lateral moraines) or very end (terminal moraines) when the world warmed and the glacier began to recede.
Looking at the green, spruce-covered mountains rising on either side of Fall River, and studying the boulders that lie like contented sheep about the meadow, you might miss the cabin ruins shortly before the Endovalley Picnic Area. It was here that 38 convicts lived in 1913, while beginning the enormous eight-year task of building the trans-mountain Fall River Road.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication