Two Canyons - West of Denver + ADD NEW ROUTE
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This route is great to do in the morning, before the rush from Denver to the mountains begins. So tank up your bikes at the Sinclair gas station, down the block from the starting point, and tank up your riders with a great breakfast at the Golden Dinner.
Start at the Golden Dinner at 700 12th Street in Golden, Colorado
Head SW on 12th Street to Washington Avenue.
Turn right on Washington Avenue (this is the "main drag" in Golden)
Turn left on Route 58 and follow Route 58 straight onto Route US 6 west.
Route US 6 will take you up through Clear Creek Canyon.
Continue on Route US 6 by making a left turn at the intersection with Route 119 (don't go straight!)
At the top of the canyon, turn left on Route US 40, which runs parallel to Interstate 70. This route will avoid travel on I-70, completely.
Turn right on Route County 65, which will cross over I-70.
Turn right onto Route CO 74 (Evergreen Parkway)
After passing Evergreen Lake, continue on Route CO 74 (keep left at the light) to go through the center of Evergreen.
Continue on Route CO 74 to pass down through Bear Creek Canyon.
Follow CO 74 straight into Morrison, where it becomes Route CO 8. This is the end of the route, in downtown Morrison, Colorado.
This can be closed as a loop by staying on Route CO 8 through Morrison, taking I-470 North, and then following US 6 straight to Golden. Get off US 6, exiting right onto 19th Street and then watch for a left turn, back onto Washington Avenue.
This route covers two of the most gorgeous canyons in Colorado - Clear Creek Canyon going up and Bear Creek Canyon coming back down - as you ascend from Golden, pass through Evergreen, and end up descending to Morrison.
Clear Creek Canyon is a beautiful run, as you follow the creek along the bottom of the steep-sided canyon and through a series of six tunnels. The creek is very popular with trout fishermen and was part of the most productive gold-producing areas during the gold rush. You will still see people panning for gold in the creek. This is a top motorcycle road for those who like the twists and turns. Going earlier in the day will insure a better run. There are a few passing zones to get around the slower traffic.
Most of the Denver traffic that is headed to the mountains will be on I-70, which this route avoids. So this Clear Creek Canyon run is mostly used by sight seers, outdoor enthusiasts, and motorcyclists.
After making the top of the canyon, you will turn back to the east on service roads that parallel I-70 and drop into Evergreen. These are pleasant country roads, with a bit of divided highway called Evergreen Parkway. Watch for elk - hopefully off the road! They are quite common as you approach Evergreen, especially as you pass Elk Meadow Park and approach Evergreen Lake.
Evergreen is a popular destination, and you will see motorcycle friendly establishments on both sides of the road as you pass through town.
Leaving Evergreen, you will immediately enter Bear Creek Canyon and descend into Morrison. This is a shorter canyon run, but just as much fun. Forget about any (safe, legal) passing in this canyon. You will find a couple of small towns and a handful of nice parks along the way down this canyon.
At the bottom of the canyon, just before you enter Morrison, you will see the Red Rocks park and Amphitheater entrance on the left. If you haven't seen this, take the side trip! This is the famous outdoor concert venue, set amongst awesome rock formations. If they aren't setting up for a concert, you can actually go up into the amphitheater and stand on the stage. Very cool!
The trip ends in Morrison, also obviously a motorcycle destination town (a sign encourages idle speed through town to keep the sound down).
You can get back to Golden quickly via I-470, as described in the directions. After the bikes are put away, you can visit the Coors Brewery!
All of the roads in this route are paved and in excellent condition. Most of the route is intentionally curvy, two lane roads. There are a few miles of divided highway with intersections on Evergreen Parkway near the middle of the route.
Golden, Colorado is a small city that keeps it western, college town feel. Many restaurants are found on Washington Street, and the side streets. I suggest starting at the Golden Dinner for breakfast if you want to make this a morning run. Very good, and very popular - with quick service. There is a Sinclair station just a block NE from the dinner. Suggest you top off your tank there. The next gas station will be in Evergreen.
There aren't many amenities along the route until you get to Evergreen. The route was planned to avoid population. However, Evergreen has a good share of restaurants - some with designated motorcycle parking out front (watch the left side of this route as you go through the center of Evergreen). Beau Jo's, on right side of the route as you go through town, has good pizza and creek-side tables on Bear Creek. This is right off a public parking lot on the right. Evergreen and Morrison get very busy on weekends, since they are the first mountain destination towns closest to Denver. But before noon time, the crowds are reasonably sparse. There are couple of small towns as you go down Bear Creek Canyon, with a cafÃ© or two.
Morrison has a few restaurants ranging from bar and grills to high-end international. You won't find a "CafÃ© Prague" in every town, but Morrison has it. If you want a five-star restaurant, in a very interesting historical building, get directions to "The Fort" just outside of Morrison.
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