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Harper's Corner Road

the paved Harper's Corner Road goes to to a magnificent view point above the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers in Dinosaur National Monument. It descends less than 500ft to the Harper's Corner panorama. So it is just a one way summit. But combined with the Echo Park dirt road it becomes a two way summit.


1.(00.0m,6000ft)START-END SOUTH: jct US40 - Dinosaur Monument Rd, east of town Dinosaur
2.(02.7m,6640ft)CR161 joins on left from village Dinosaur
3.(08.0m,7700ft)Escalante Overlook
4.(11.8m,7600ft)Miner's Draw Rd on left also descends towards Dinosaur
5.(15.3m,8010ft)TOP: Harper's Corner Rd via Echo rd
6.(25.5m,7560ft)profile turns right down Echo Park Rd
7.(33.0m,5630ft)profile turns away from Yamba Bench Rd, left to Echo Park
8.(37.0m,5100ft)START-END NORTH: Echo Park campground


Approaches

From South.
Just east of the town Dinosaur is the entrance to the National Monument. The out-and-back paved road to Harper's Corner starts climbing right away. An alternative to the lowest part of the route shown on the profile is unpaved CR161. It leaves immediately from the town Dinosaur and is part of the signed Rangely MTB bike loop

After these two routes have combined, the first view is of Cliff Ridge and Blue Mountain, a sharp escarpment that is actually accessible from this road. After this initial view and climb the road leaves the edge of the plateau, but that does not mean it stops climbing, It rolls along in waves and they add up to quite a workout. It is virtually impossible to tell without measuring it or looking it up, where the highest point on this roller coaster is. It is on one of those bumps in the road, while still in Colorado


From North. (also described upwards) The climb on this side starts from the end of an out and back unpaved road: the Echo Park Road. Echo Park is the lowest point on the profile, and also by far the most interesting and scenically overwhelming. The confluence of the Yampa and Green is visible, but not immediately apparent. Rocks rise skywards in all directions. The confluence is located behind a shallow sandy island, visible at some distance between the cliffs. The island is often used as stopping area by rafters A BLM campground at the end point of the profile charges 10 dollars for camping and has water. But the most serene spot is a large grassy area along the river, a model of a park. The ranger has his house here. The trail along the river prohibits bicycling. But it is the ideal picnic lunch stop.

From North-2. Following the paved road to its end at the Harper's Corner area, and including the foot trail to its lowest point just barely gets the required 500ft (510ft to be exact) to count this as an approach too. The road contains so much up and down that it seems to require about the same amount of energy in each direction. In whichever direction you choose to include all the viewpoints will be the more memorable one.



     


                            





But eventually the time has come to ride back out of Echo Park. The first part is short straight shoebox type of a canyon. The next geologic layer above is the lowest bench forming formation and the landscape opens up a bit. The house of an old pioneer settler is right next to the road. The road meets the Yampa bench road and then enters a sandstone canyon. The upper layer above is Navajo sandstone, which erodes with massive crossbedding into rounded exfolaliated domes. Climbing above this formation, the road rolls along an upper bench. These could be regular hills but there are more shoebox cliffs above. The last climb out happens on steep switchbacks.

Turning south on the paved road, it leaves the rim quickly. It passes what certainly looks and feels like a summit point, where the viewshed changes to the south, and many of the northern canyon adjoining hills slip out of view. There is even a very large cairn located on a hilltop adjacent to the road - as if someone meant to mark this spot as a summit. But the profile shows that the actual high point comes later, after crossing into Colorado.

There is one more worthwhile detour before getting there, a short out and back to the Escalante Overlook, the perfect vantage point on the just completed climb. It is best in late light. After that the point of highest elevation easily evades all notice, while it is crossed.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED

( < Four A Ridge Rd s(u) | FR221 - Sheep Creek-Long Park(sh) > )

Harper's Corner Rd: out and back: a short distance below jct CR161-Harper's Corner Rd on CR161 <> Haper's Corner Rd north <> Harper's Corner Rd s(u) > down Echo Park Rd << turn around point at Echo Park with a few additonal out and backs to viewpoints etc: 74.2miles with 6460ft of climbing in 7:34hrs (garmin etrex30: m5:17.5.30).
Notes: much too hot for comfort

( < Deer Valley Rd via CR157(sh) | Harper's Corner Rd via CR14 Miner's Draw RSd > )

same summit point: a short distance below jct CR161-Harper's Corner Rd on CR161 <> Haper's Corner Rd north <> Harper's Corner Rd s(u) << turnaround point end of Harper's Corner Trail: 63.7miles with 4970ft of climbing in 6:25hrs (garmin etrex30: m3:20.5.12).
Notes: first day that the NM was open after the pandemic, but i didn't know that unil i returned. Very windy in both directions but good temperature


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