Wednesday, May 23

Scratch The Touring Itch

I'm itching to take another bike tour. It has been almost a year after all...

Over the weekend the kids and I rode in Gump up Colorado Boulevard beyond the northern edge of the urban fabric of Denver and into the more rural climes around Dacono, Frederick and Firestone.

The drive was part family excursion designed to give mom a break and part bike tour scouting trip. I had researched family friendly camping potential within easy reach of the metro area awhile back and I came up with only a few places.

My criteria for appropriate locations were:

1) Must be within an easy day's ride from home

2) There must be a family-friendly route

3) Must offer something interesting to motivate the troops

4) Oh, and must be from our front door, no auto-shuttling

It didn't take me long to determine that there are few good places to legally camp in the plains near Denver. At least, my search is ongoing. Into the foothills and the lower reaches of the Front Range there is national forest land but reaching it on bikes with a family is thwarted by a lack of good safe routes.

Two destinations resulted in my initial research: Barr Lake State Park and St. Vrain State Park.

I've been trying to work out a decent route to St. Vrain. Barr Lake is a bit closer, maybe too close, but also a decent option.

A further jaunt, not for family fare, would be a long haul up to Pawnee Buttes in Pawnee National Grassland up near the Colorado/Nebraska state line. Not much further north is the highest point in Nebraska. That would be a really long two day trip or three days without a good spot to camp along the way.

I'm not opposed to striking out west, but with the kiddos we need flatland. Plus, this is something we've never done as a family, other than the short Medicine Bow Trail trip the kids and I took. It was 11 miles out and 11 back the next day.

So, the planning begins. We'll see what we come up with.

Dacono, Frederick, Firestone multi-use trail

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