FR400 Gardner Road s(u)

Two roads cross the Wet Mountains in the east west direction, this one and the paved Hardscrabble Pass. One of the nicest things about this forested range is its locotion next to Sangre de Cristo Range, because of the views. The Wet Mountains also have three other named divides, but they run along lower valleys in a north south direction. None of them reach nearly as high as this crossing or have comparable views.

The entire route along the profie has various numbers assigned to it along the way, but the summit is on FR400, also called Gardner Road. But you don't go through Gardner for the most obvious loop ride over this summit.


click on profile for more detail
1.(4780ft,mile00) START-END EAST ALT: Pueblo; profile follow Co78 east
2.(6190ft,mile23) eastern turnoff to Beulah
3.(9340ft,mile36) route turns left onto Co65 at Greenhill Divide
4.(8770ft,mile39) START-END EAST: profile turns left onto FR400
5.(10660ft,mile46) 4 way intersection to Deer Creek Peak and Greenhorn Peak
6.(10780ft,mile47) TOP
7.(8860ft,mile55) profile turns right onto unmarked CR305
8.(8320ft,mile63) START-END WEST: jct CR305 - Co69, between Bradford and Westcliff, Wet Mountain Valley

Approaches

From East.To show the maximum possible elevation gain, the profile starts in Pueblo and follows Co78 to Co65, and the crosses Greenhill Divide to the turnoff labeled "Ophir Campground". A number of other routes are possible for this lowest portion of the climb, and none of them are necessary to construct a loop ride over this summit.

Arriving on Co65 the turnoff onto FR400 is signed only as "Ophir campground". The good dirt road soon turns left, while the straight ahead option leads onto something named "Little Froze Road" according to the sign. "Little Frozen Road" might make more sense, but the real name is so quirky, it's easier to remember.

FR400 on the left climbs between rounded hills, following every contour of the land in seemingly endless curves through dense forest, made of evergreens and aspen. The ridge line to the west never seems far away, but instead the road opts to contour higher towards Greenhorn Peak. After a long exhausting climb the road suddenly emerges out of dense forest onto a prominently signed 4 way intersection. This is very close to the top, but the highest point is just a little further straight ahead.

To the right FR4011 keeps climbing higher on worse surface to Deer Creek Peak. To the left FR369 goes to Greenhorn Peak. My notes from the ride say that the straight ahead option is labeled as FR634, but the De Lorme Gazeteer map keeps the FR400 label over the summit. Whatever its number, a spectacular far vista waits, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background, in the foreground large rounded hills separated by isolated stands of Aspen. At the point of highest altitude the road curves to the north and the view takes in the entire northern part of the range. During September 2012 views were completely obscured by haze from far forest fires.


forest fire haze over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as seen from lower Gardner Road

From West. (described downwards) A constant panorama remains through several northward sweeping traverses of the road. A sign informs that you are exiting San Isabel National Forest. Past this are two turnoffs on the right that give the impression of being private roads. They are not, they are public roads through private land. Especially the second unmarked turnoff is useful if aiming for the northern part of the Wet Mountain Valley and the profile follows this option down into the Wet Mountain Valley. The name "Gardner Road" is only found on the Gazetter maps, but on none of the signs. This alludes to the option of going straight instead and aiming for the southern part of the valley.


closer to the summit of Gardner road, during a year without forest fires

Following the profile down for the northern option, slowly a few private residences, vastly outnumbered by "for sale" signs appear, as the valley draws closer, and the mountains take on more detail if it is a hazy day. Some of the lower parts of this road have extreme washboard characteristics, but they this does not last very long. By the time the road merges onto Co69, it has become CR305 Centennial Ranch Road, and is labeled as such in very small letters at the Co69 turnoff. CR105 is across from it.

 

Dayrides with this point as highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED/UNPAVED

(<Hardscrabble Pass|Colorado Trail m272.1 s(u)>)
FR400 Gardner Road s(u) , Wixson Divide , Bigelow Divide , CR329 - 347 Rosita Rd s(u) : jct FR287 - Co96 (located between Mc Kenzee Jct and Wetmore) > Mc Kenzie Jct > Co165 south > Wixson Divide > Bigelow Divide > up FR400 > FR400 Gardner Rd s(u) > down CR305 Centennial Ranch Rd > Co69 north > Westcliff > Co96 east > CR341 south > CR347 east > CR349-327 Rosita Rd s(u) > down Co96 back to starting point: 76.0miles with 6220ft of climbing in 6:42hrs (VDO MC1.0 m5:12.9.20)
Notes: no snow on the mountains, instead plenty of haze around them.

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

same summit points: FR400 Gardner Road s(u) , CR329 - 347 Rosita Rd s(u) , campsite on FR400 Gardner Rd > FR400 Gardner Rd s(u) > down CR305 Centennial Ranch Rd > Co69 north > CR328 Rosita Rd west > CR329 - 347 Rosita Rd s(u) > Co165 south > Wixson Divide > Bigelow Divde > up FR400 Gardner Rd back to starting point: 66miles (mech Odo m1:91.5.31)
Notes: this ride goes over the same summit points. But this is a simple loop. The one above has an additional out and back approach from the south.

 


 




 

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