Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pre-Ride Day 2 (July 2): Snowy Range - Rabbit Ears Pass - Steamboat

Other Segments: Day 1 - Day 3 - Day 4

After a quiet first part of the Snowy Range climb, where we saw a moose and her calf, we started the main climb near sunrise.

Soon we reached the snowy elevations:

WYDOT said the Snowy Range road was open
but because of the huge amount of snow, some signs were obscured.

Here's one of them!

Crisp (in the 30's) but with the bright sun, quite comfortable:

 The main formations at Snowy Range Pass come into view:

A similar view from the exploratory ride last July (C. Shenk photo):

After reaching the western summit, you have about five miles of rolling, winding road with dramatic views (including distant views to the Never Summer Range to the south).

Lake Marie is pretty frosty: 

Descending through lush national forest alonside the Little Laramie River,
you suddenly pop out into the Big Hollow:

We saw pronghorn antelope here, as we did heading to Saratoga.

If it's giant snow fences (about two stories high in places)
it must be Wyoming!

This store in Centennial, at the base of the descent, is indeed friendly:

Following the traverse of the Big Hollow to and from Laramie (checkpoint #6), there's a six-mile wooded climb over the shoulder of the Bighorn Range you just crossed.

You descend on a peaceful, green stretch back into Colorado:

The climb from Walden to Muddy Pass is fairly shallow, crossing into a succession of drainages.

These historically preserved (and renewed) metal F. M. Light signs show you're nearing Steamboat Springs, whichever road you're on to get there.
Each advertises a separate product or offering:

From Muddy Pass, it's a three-mile climb to the east Rabbit Ears Pass highpoint.

You can see the rabbit ears to the north:

From eastern highpoint to western highpoint is eight miles of forested road.
Take care on the 7-mile 7% descent - the runaway truck ramp is a clue.

Great views of the Yampa Valley unfold to your left:
you could take a moment to stop on the other side of the road for a better look:

Next: Day 3 - Gore Pass - Grand Lake - Willow Creek Pass.

Other Segments: Day 1 - Day 3 - Day 4

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