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Divide Road summit(u)

When travelling on US50 from Delta to Montrose, you see a long, low landform to the west. It doesn't look like much from this vantage point. It seems the horizon is just a little bit higher. During a summer afternoon it may fuse with dark purple clouds above it and become totally invisible. You would never suspect that a bike ride over this landform involves more than 4000ft of climbing. What you are really looking at, is the dip slope of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The sedimentary rock layers are tilted, but only at a relatively small angle, and the dip slope is the shallow rise onto this plateau. On the opposite side, this plateau breaks off in spectacular cliffs, that are perpendicular to the rock layers (the strike slope). There are innumerable more complicated ways to climb to the road that leads very roughly along the crest of this plateau, than the one described here. All of these alternate options also offer plenty of ways to get lost, even though the major intersections are all well signed. The profile shown here climbs the plateau on its major roads from the east side, where also the major centers of population are, from Montrose and Delta.

1.(5800ft,mile00) START-END SOUTH: Montrose, jct US50 - Main Street: Co90 leaves towards west
2.(6140ft,mile09) Co90 becomes CR90 at the outskirts of Montrose
3.(7970ft,mile16) junction with Rim Road on left
4.(9550ft,mile23) South Divide Road joins from left. Profile stays straight, now called the North Divide Road.
5.(9560ft,mile24) CR90 turns off to left
6.(9940ft,mile27) TOP, at turnoff to radio towers on left
7.(9870ft,mile29) Houser Road turns off to left
8.(~9140ft,mile20) Columbine Pass and jct with Mesa Road. Profile turns right onto Mesa Road
9.(9000ft,mile21) Profile continues straight on Mesa Road, while North Divide Road turns off on left
10.(5730ft,mile61) the Narrows
11.(5000ft,mile65) START-END NORTH: 25 Mesa Road crosses Robideau Creek, south west of Delta


From South. One nice thing about this approach is that it is easy to find. Just continue west from the already east-west running Main Street in Montrose. However the intersection is poorly signed. You don't see the Co90 sign until after you are on it for several blocks. After that Co90 sign direct you along a route filled with perpendicular turns to the outskirts of Montrose. Co90 become CR90 and turns unpaved, when it starts to climb the first steps from the still low canyons of the Uncompahre Plateau, up to its erosional surface. Once on top of this slanted plain, the ride continues along a straight road through a juniper forest, albeit an inclined forest.

Past its junction with Rim Road, CR90 takes a steep dip to cross the East Fork of Dry Creek, which can be really wet and snowy at the crossing, depending on conditions. Back up on the surface the road continues to climb and enters a densely forested high plain. Here the road crosses into the National Forest and joins the Divide Road. Even though never far from the edge of the plateau on the west side, you never really see it from the road. The road reaches a high point at the turnoff to a radio facility on the west side.

From North. (described downward) After the summit the road does not really descend very much, it just rolls along through the forest for many miles. Then suddenly Divide Road does after all approach the strike slope on the west side and the dramatic break in the landscape becomes apparent. Soon after the route crosses Columbine Pass. The spot is not signed, but signs on both approaches refer to the location. The profiled route leaves Divide Road and continues down Mesa Road on its long steady descend towards Delta. Only in one single spot, does the road break its straight ahead habit and curves down through the juniper forest, in order to find a new course alongside the canyon. The most scenic part of the journey, in my opinion, is still ahead. This happens when the road runs along the ridge between Monitor Creek and Cottonwood Creek and delivers a dessert panorama with Grand Mesa in the background. The road reaches a low point when it crosses Robideau Creek, shortly past a dirt road by the same name.




Divide Road s(u): lower part of CR90 west of Montrose > up CR90 > CR402 Divide Rd s(u) > Columbine Pass(shp) > down Mesa Rd > Co348 south > Olathe > US50 south > Montrose > CR90 back to starting point: 97.0miles with 6120ft of climbing in 7:40hours (VDO MC1.0 m3:11.9.15).

---------------no measured altitude---------------

same summit:
25rd/Mesa rd (south west of Delta) > up Mesa Rd > CR402 south > Columbine Pass(shp) > down CR90 > Montrose area > unspecified route in valley north > back to starting point: 96miles (mech Odo m1:93.6.4)