Buford - New Castle Road summit(u)
road is named after its two endpoints. This implies that there
is not much worth naming a road after in between. - Not
exactly the way I see it. The road is the "main
highway" across the White River Plateau; main highway in
a relative sort of way. It's a good dirt road that can be
cycled with a mountain bike in a non-technichal aerobic
way, the way you would ride a road bike, the tires are just a
The road side scenery consists mostly of dense forest,
interspersed with occasional far views onto high plateaus. The
main hint that you just climbed 300 feet more than from Aspen
to Independence Pass are the legs, and not so much the views.
The road does not follow the edge of the plateau. For those
views you have to explore much slower out and back tracks.
This Forest Road summit is the most aerobic
way for a cyclist to cross the White River Plateau, a
densely forested, unpopulated, high plateau between the
Colorado River and White River. The point of highest
altitude may also be reached by a variety of smaller tracks.
The last time I rode this, the entire distance was a fairly
smooth, hard dirt surface without washboard (Oct/05). But
these things change.
The summit is not named or marked on maps.
But you do get the impression that you are embarking on a
high summit road, from the road signs at the bottom of CR8,
here named Flat Top Road, leaving Meeker. The Buford -
New Castle road is included in the sign forest of the
various open-closed signs for the dirt road passes, leaving
the White River Valley near Meeker.
START-END SOUTH: New Castle, turn up Grass Valley
road, heading north on the west end of town.
02.(5700ft,mile02) road following East Elk Creek
leaves on right, stay left.
03.(5800ft,mile04) road following Main Elk Creek
leaves on right, stay left
04.(5910ft,mile05) New Castle - Buford road leaves on
right, go right.
05.(6410ft,mile08) left goes back to Harvey Gap
summit(u); stay straight
06.(9470ft,mile24) Triangle Park area; left fork
descends towards Rifle; stay right
07.(9900ft,mile30) right leads to Meadow Lake
campground; stay straight
08.(10097ft,mile30) TOP: Buford - New Castle Road
09.(6990ft,mile43) START-END NORTH: continuing
straight leads to Buford. But profile continues left
10.(6910ft,mile44) START-END NORTH ALTERNATE: bridge
across White River. Left leads to Meeker, right to
From South. After leaving New Castle, Buford Road
diverts from the road to Harvey Gap, by taking a right turn and
climbing towards the eastern edge of Grass Valley. The road
leaves Grass Valley by following a densely forested side valley.
Views of the Grand Hogback remain obscured behind a low ridge.
After a persistent steep climb to the edge of the plateau, a
vista on Roan Plateau opens to the west. I think this is the
best view along the route, unless you take the time to explore
long side routes. But the work out is far from over at this
point. The plateau rolls along, but trends upwards. The highest
point offers no grabbing views on the first take. But during a
ride in late fall, Clark Ridge in the Flat Top Mountains
(Plateaus) in the distance hints at its surpsingly high
elevation. It appears in the form of a ruler straight hairline
of snow on the horizon to the east.
From South. (also described upwards) The town of
Buford is a small store, selling hunting supplies, and lately
supplies for other tourists, things like gasoline, soda and
potato chips. This side is much more remote country, and very
far from thoroughfare traffic, like on I70 on the other side. In
the fall, passing drivers tend to be clad in orange, so that
nobody gets shot without a chance to shoot back. This is hunting
central. The wildly curving road gives a few glimpses of the
maze of plateau cliffs in northern Colorado, framed by trees
along the road, as it steadily climbs to the summit.
A Day on a 3 day tour with this point as highest summit
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED:
(< | Ripple Creek Pass
New Castle - Buford Rd s(u): New Castle > New Castle
Buford road summit(u) > east of Buford; 59 miles
Notes: On this three day tour I camped exclusively on NF and
BLM lands. The other days were; day 2: east of Buford >
Ripple Creek Pass > Dunkley
Pass > south of Toponas, 69 miles. day 3: south of
Toponas > Colorado River Road > summits on Co134 > New
Castle, 73 miles. All mileages measured with a mechanical
onboard odometer (m1:95.08.13-15).
A Day on a Two Day Tour with this point as highest summit
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED
( < Dick's Pass | > )
New Castle - Buford Rd s(u) : New Castle > New Castle -
Buford Rd s(u) > Meeker: 69 miles with 5600ft of climbing
Notes: On the 1st day the route was: Meeker > Dick's
Pass > Rifle > New Castle, 76 miles with 4160ft of
climbing in 5.4 hours. This included about 15 extra miles of
extra out and back riding in 1.5 hours and ~500ft of elevation
Roan Plateau on the right, and Battlement Mesa on the left -
from an open meadow on the Bufurd-New Castle Road
the southern approach above Buford