Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

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Dancesatmoonrise
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Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:10 pm

Anyone have any guesses as to how well a mountain bike might do in winter on Maroon Creek Road? Would it be possible to make it from the winter closure to the end of the road at the Crater Lake TH? Mostly, I'm wondering how packed the road is and whether a MTB would float well enough on the surface. Any thoughts? Photos?

Also, any info on parking (and sleeping in the car) at or near the closure?

Thanks!
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Kiefer
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby Kiefer » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:28 pm

That's EXACTLY what I'll be doing! If I don't have an AT set by then, I'll be switching my tires out for knobby's.
From the two times I was back there last winter, the road was a patchwork of bare asphalt, packed snow and ice.
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:34 pm

Kiefer wrote:That's EXACTLY what I'll be doing! If I don't have an AT set by then, I'll be switching my tires out for knobby's.
From the two times I was back there last winter, the road was a patchwork of bare asphalt, packed snow and ice.

So maybe mount up the studded tires for the ice?

aaron479 wrote:My wife and I hike up maroon creek road quite a bit in the winter. Tlazy 7 grooms the trail to maroon lake and I have seen surly bikers up there a hand full of times. Crater lake probably is wishful thinking.

Excellent! So... how far do you think bikes can get? Far enough to be worth the utility as a winter 14er approach vehicle? Perhaps in early season, like late December or early January?

My thought is, if it's rideable to the end of the road in a low-snow early season, then the lake probably provides an additional 1/2 mile (with studs of course.)
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby myfeetrock » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:43 pm

I've xc skied to maroon lake a few times. You'll never get your bike beyond that point. I'll post some pics of the road when I get home from work. The bike idea sounds fun though.
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Kiefer
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby Kiefer » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:42 pm

Jim,
Let's join forces this winter on the Bells.
Estes Park is pretty slow in winter (as you can imagine), so getting time off for this should be easy.
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby myfeetrock » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:00 pm

This was January 14th of 2011.
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby WarDamnPanic » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:25 pm

Anyone have current conditions of the Maroon Creek Road, looking at heading up there Saturday. Is it steep enough to ski down?
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:34 pm

First like 4-5 miles not steep enough to ski, quite flat. Last 3 are steep enough. Groomed nightly (at least we saw them at night) as the above photos show. Summit lounger biked it with fat tires from wnter closure to Maroon Lake.

Super easy sailing.
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby MUni Rider » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:04 pm

Dancesatmoonrise wrote:
Kiefer wrote:That's EXACTLY what I'll be doing! If I don't have an AT set by then, I'll be switching my tires out for knobby's.
From the two times I was back there last winter, the road was a patchwork of bare asphalt, packed snow and ice.

So maybe mount up the studded tires for the ice?

aaron479 wrote:My wife and I hike up maroon creek road quite a bit in the winter. Tlazy 7 grooms the trail to maroon lake and I have seen surly bikers up there a hand full of times. Crater lake probably is wishful thinking.

Excellent! So... how far do you think bikes can get? Far enough to be worth the utility as a winter 14er approach vehicle? Perhaps in early season, like late December or early January?

My thought is, if it's rideable to the end of the road in a low-snow early season, then the lake probably provides an additional 1/2 mile (with studs of course.)


Keep in mind that surly bikes have tires between 4 and 5 inches wide. Not sure how a regular 2.2" mountain bike tire would fare, even if aired down.

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/moonlander

I have yet to get me one of those, but I have some Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro tires for my 29er. Let us know how it goes; I've been curious about biking that road in winter myself.
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:29 pm

The road isn't that steep, but you could certainly ski down it and probably keep good speed the whole way down to the beginning of the closure.
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby WarDamnPanic » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:35 pm

BillMiddlebrook wrote:The road isn't that steep, but you could certainly ski down it and probably keep good speed the whole way down to the beginning of the closure.


This is the news I wanted to hear :-D
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Re: Maroon Creek Road in Winter?

Postby Summit Lounger » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:01 pm

Yes, I rode my bike (mostly) to Maroon Lake. Out of the 7 miles, I had to walk about 2 miles of it where it gets steeper. I ran racing ralph 2.25 18psi in the rear, and rocket ron 2.25 15psi in the front. It is all about flotation. No studs needed. Yes, a fat tire (4-5") bike would be much better, but they weigh 35#, compared to 20.4# for my bike. The big thing is that I do not own one..... The road is packed by snowmobiles during the day, and groomed in the afternoon. This was during Christmas week, not sure if they operate every day, or just weekends now. Riding on the flats was pretty easy. The area just to the right of the xc tracks was firm enough for easy going. The further the road got away from the ranch, the closer the snowmobile tracks got to the xc tracks, until they were right next to them. Riding in the fresh snowmobile tracks was a lot tougher, but doable on the flats. I had to keep a certain amount of momentum (3rd gear), to keep floating. This is where a fat tire bike would shine. With a fat tire bike, one could probably spin in granny gear, and keep floating and moving forward. When the road got steeper, it was too much work to keep going. I could walk just as fast, and it was a lot less work. I rode up starting at 1:45pm. Later in the day, when the snow is set up better would be better. It took me 1:50 to get to Maroon Lake. No way to ride off the packed road. Snowshoes, or skis to go past Maroon Lake. Coming out was a blast. I started at around 4pm, floated on top 98% of the time, coasted half of it, pedaled the rest. A few quick steering adjustments when the snow was soft were needed. The ruts left by the front runners on the snowmobiles can get a little squirrely also. Rode the entire way out in 40 minutes. Riding with a winter pack and snowshoes strapped on, is a bit different. Would I do it again. Yes, just for the speedy ride out.

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