FR618 s(u)

This dirt road summit is located in the forested foothills, south of the San Miguel Range, part of the San Juan Mountains. There are many views of the San Juan's westernmost sentinel peak along the way, appropriately named Lone Cone. But the scenic jewel along the way is Beaver Park - such an ordinary name, such a sublime pace. Unfortunately the forest service sold it off, but the road through it still is public.

1.(2295m~7530ft,00.0km~00.0m) START-END EAST: jct Fall Creek Rd - Co145, west of Telluride
2.(2497m~8192ft,06.1km~03.8m) Wilson Mesa Ranch Road takes off on left; profile stays straight
3.(2764m~9068ft,12.0km~07.5m) Profile turns hard left, up FR618
4.(3157m~10358ft,19.7km~12.5m) TOP
5.(2775m~9104ft,28.1km~17.5m) 50G rd on right; profile stays left
6.(2818m~9245ft,35.2km~21.9m) jct with FR611, profile turns left into Beaver Park
7.(2803m~9196ft,39.7km~24.7m) FR612 takes off on right; profile stays straight
8.(2663m~8737ft,43.2km~26.8m) profile turns right onto Beef Trail Road
9.(2207m~7241ft,63.8km~39.6m) START-END WEST: jct Co145 - Specie Creek Road


From East. The most direct way to reach this summit is to ride up Fall Creek Road from Co149. The first 3 miles are paved, and the surface after that is smooth dirt, except for short stretches that may have been graveled recently (Sept 2011). Many spots in this deep canyon are perpetually shaded and offer great relief from summer heat. Just before you reach "Lake of the Woods" the route turns right onto FR618 and now climbs fairly steeply with improving views onto Mount Wilson and El Diente Peak. As the road curves around to head west, the view shed changes to the north side, and there is nothing there but little old "Little Cone", one of the less complimentary names for a mountain in the state. A potential biking route to the right over a flank of this mountain (which was my orginal goal for this ride) is shown on National Forest Maps. But it crosses private land without public access. As you cross the top of FR618 you catch the first fast glimpse of Lone Cone Peak, the western most peak in the San Juans mountains.

From West. There are still many more vantage points on Lone Cone Peak to come. But first the road descends to Beaver Park, on a surface that is much rougher than the other side. Traversing Beaver Park, and then climbing back out of it, is in my opinion, the scenically most interesting part of this profile. Paradoxically, the area is in private ownership, surrounded by national forest land, which contains remarkably few potential campsites. The large grassy park is backgrounded by peaks in the San Miguel Range. On this portion of the ride new views of Lone Cone Peak seem to be just about around every next turn, and there are lots of turns here, as the road lies on the landscape like a random piece of shoestring. The profile continues on the most direct way back, taking a right onto Beef Basin Road. This route includes another substantial steep climb, from Beaver Creek onto Specie Creek Mesa. This is really a summit point in its own right. The last part of the descend down to Co145 can again be fairly gravelly. One could avoid this by making the ride longer instead and descending to Norwood over Oak Hill




FR618 summit(u): 5 miles up Fall River Road (57P rd) > up Fall River Rd > up FR618 > FR618 s(u) > Beaver Park > FR611 north > Beef Trail Rd east > FR619 Specie Canyon Rd north > Co145 east > back to starting point: 50.0miles with 5480ft of climbing in 5:19hours (VDO MC1.0 11.9.21).



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