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Wilson Mesa : Hughes Road(sh)

A ride over Wilson Mesa is sort of a mixture between a road ride through wild mountain scenery and an unguided tour through Beverly Hills. Yes, most of this route is on a dirt road. But this is not your ordinary type of dirt road. This is not a dirt road with various degrees of washboard surface while being passed by a speeding truck or ATV in a cloud of dust. During my traversal of this route traffic consisted almost exclusively of various trucks that are needed in construction or home improvement tasks, including the occasional concrete mixer. The country may be in a housing crisis in 2011, but the "upper ten thousand" go happily building on.

Actually - rather than calling it a dirt road, it is really more of a hard medalled surface. This road is not paved only because it is fashionable to be not paved. If you happen to be a millionaire and have a multimillion dollar estate at the end of a private road in the mountains of Colorado, it really should be a dirt road, to have the appropriate air of sophisticated isolation about it. Many homes of this type are discreetly hidden in the forested hills around Telluride. However, it you also want a million dollar panoramic view to go along with the million dollar house, you must expose yourself. Of course I mean your house, or more appropriately - mansion. The views from Wilson Mesa couldn't be more magnificent without leaving the planet. I'm sure that's what the developer told his clients too. Two fourteeners, named after the topographer of the Hayden Survey, on the south side (that would be Mount Wilson and Wilson Peak). Actually three fourteeners in total, outline the western skyline, rocks and ice in crisp sunshine, foregrounded by a blaze of yellow aspen during fall. On the other side of the mesa part of the amphitheater of mountains surrounding Telluride make up the horizon.




1.(2398m7867ft, 00.0km~00.0mile) START-END WEST: jct Co145 - Silver Pick Rd. Profile goes up Silver Pick Rd.
2.(2691m,~8829ft, 05.2km~03.2mile) Profile turns right up Hughes Rd.
3.(2824m~9265ft, 7.8km~4.8mile) TOP near jct with E Anderson Rd on right
4.(2737m~8980ft, 09.5km~5.9mile) turn right onto Wilson Mesa Ranch Rd.
5.(2505m~8219ft, 12.7km~7.9mile) turn right down Fall Creek Rd.
6.(2295m~7530ft, 18.8km~11.7mile) START-END EAST: jct Co145 - Fall Creek Rd

Approaches

From West. The western most approach to Wilson Mesa goes up Fall Creek Road, also labeled 57P Road on maps. The first four miles are a rough hard pavement, the next miles are good dirt road. The medalled surface starts on top of the mesa. The next left turn, from 57P Road to Elk Creek Road, direction Wilson Mesa is also signed. Within two miles this road offers two turnoffs onto Wilson Mesa Ranch Road. If you don't take either one, the road ends at yet another gate to a locked estate. Naturally the two ends of the Wilson Mesa road connect. The profile takes the more direct route, which is the first or lower turnoff. (As a separate note: A loop ride over the entire Wilson Mesa Rd, descending back down Fall Creek can also be seen as a summit. The descent before rejoining the original approach is greater than 500 feet). But in order to make this into a more satisfying loop ride, you have to turn off the Wilson Mesa Ranch Road. This turnoff is labeled Hughes Road. It traverses the highest point at its junction with WE Anderson Road. Turning left here gets you a few feet higher, so the Hughes Road summit point is a shoulder summit to what becomes the Whiteley Road s(u).


From East. (also described upwards). Riding the mesa from this side eliminates the difficulty of having to pick your way through the development to find your way down the other side. It all falls into place more easily going downhill. From the beginning - the turnoff from Co149 is just as inconspicuous, and also just as clearly signed as the western approach. The sign reads Silver Pick Basin Road. It is also the approach road to climbing the Mountains Wilson (Peak). This road becomes hard medalled almost immediately after the turnoff. The right onto Wilson Mesa is also signed. After a short distance you pass the first attraction on the Rodeo Drive tour, a parking lot for various horse trailers, with the accompanying residence. The ranch gate reads "El Prado". The road loops around to the right, climbing very steeply in places, and then reaches the summit to meet the signed intersection of Hughes Road with WE Anderson Road (whoever his is).

 

Dayride with this point as highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED

Wilson Mesa: Hughes Rd(sh) , Wilson Mesa Whiteley Rd s(u) : 5 miles up Fall Creek Rd > up Elk Creek Road > upper western access road to Wilson Mesa > up WE Anderson Drive > Whitely Drive Rd s(u) > down lower western access road to Wilson Mesa > down Fall River Road > east on Co149 > up Silver Pick Basin Road <> out and back several miles on this road > up eastern approach to Wilson Mesa > Wilson Mesa: Hughes Road (sh) > down lower western access road to Wilson Mesa > back to starting point: 35.1miles with 4020ft of climbing in 3:42hours (VDO MC1.0, m3:11.9.22).