< Left Panel   Colorado Summits and Passes   Areas   Tables   Maps   All Favorites  
Main Panel:   Main Page   Map+Profile   Colorado Map  

Sheephorn Divide

This is one of very few divides, that is not mentioned in Helmuth's book "Passes of Colorado". But it is marked on old National Forest maps. This seems to be one of the lesser known passes in Colorado. It would make the ideal smooth gravel ride, if it were not for a long stretch of jeep road on the west side. So let's call it a mountain gravel ride. The bicycle industry will soon think of a solution, and create a bicycle specially made for this dilemma. The route shows off the great transition between the Gore Range and Gore Canyon, one name and two mental pictures that are so different, it took me a while to actually associate them with each other, and recognize that they originate from the same person.

Judging from the names on my maps, the names Sheep Mountain and Sheephorn Creek (Road) seem to be used somewhat confusingly interchangeable.

1.START-END EAST: low point on FR1830, immediately after its jct with Co9
2.profile leaves FR831 to climb steeply onto FR1831/FR22
3.TOP, 10440ft, immediately past jct with alternate approach coming up on FR1831
4.profile turns north from Sheep Mountain Road onto Sheephorn Creek Rd
5.START-END WEST:jct Sheep Mountain Rd - Trough Rd


From East. Co9 has a wide shoulder between Kremmling and the signed turnoff onto Spring Creek Rd. Heading for a mesmerizing peak in the Gore Range, it makes for a nice paved rolling ride, if you can tune out the noise of the traffic.

Exit the traffic, enter Spring Creek Rd. It descends a little further to cross the Blue River between a small settlement of houses. The surface on this road is the closest thing to paved that unpaved can be. Looking back, the impression of the Blue River and its steep semi arrid embankments is a world of difference from what you get on Co9. The road climbs in wide well engineered meanders up a sage slope directly across from the northern terminus of the Gore Range as defined by Mt Powell.

As the road slowly becomes a hard compressed dirt surface, it encounters 2 junctions with Spruce Creek Rd, a kind of forest loop. Continuing, a short traverse through the forest southwards leads to a choice of a steep uphill on the right, labeled FR22. The profile takes this option, but staying on CR1830 it is also possible to get to the summit on a longer route.

FR22 is definitely steep enough to make me walk substantial parts, without being able to use the excuse that the surface is too rocky. Near the top a traverse along the forested ridge gives great views of Mount Powell. But every time I arrived here sofar, the clouds have moved in and turned the landscape into a grey series of outlines. The top is forested without views, and immediately afterwards a three way junction meets with CR1831, the longer way up, as well as the way down the side, Sheep Mountain Road. This jct is only about 20ft below the summit, not enough for me to consider it as a separate summit point.

From South. (described downwards) Instead of a pass marker, the entrance of Sheep Creek Rd is adorned with a sign, regulating its access according to 9 different transportation types, ranging from e-bikes to hiking boots. It never hurts being specific. It avoids misunderstandings. This is a jeep road with all the rocks that belong on such a thing. But in a downhill direction it is not bad and readily rideable.

Further down as Sheephorn Creek comes closer, the surface is roller coaster solidified hard dirt. The landscape has changed to a mix of open sage and pine forest. Suddenly the roller coaster terminates onto another major dirt thoroughfare, Sheephorn Creek Rd. The junction may be confusing, if one is restricted to a 1x1 inch screen of a gps receiver, or takes advice from the posted map at the junction. But sense of direction clearly states that we have to head north from here towards the Colorado River.

A long superfast decent gets the Colorado ever closer. What was an open sage landscape containing the occasional ranch-or-not, becomes a verdant green canyon with the upper slopes completely out of sight and mind, as the bike follows wide meanders between large Cottonwood trees. From the junction, both summits of Trough Road are between here and Kremmling.

Dayrides with this point as highest summit


( < Ute Pass | Kaufman Creek Rd s(u) > )

Sheephorn Divide , Trough Road Pass , Trough Road s(u): jct CR381 Williams Peak Rd - Co9 > Co9 north > CR1830 Spring Creek Rd west > FR22 west > Sheep Creek Divide > down Sheep Mtn Rd <> short out and back on Sheephorn Creek Rd south >> Sheephorn Creek Rd north > Trough Rd east > Trough Rd s(u) > Trough Rd Pass > Co9 north back to starting point: 48.4miles with 5390ft of climbing in 5:58hrs (garmin etrex32 m5:23.08.24)
Notes: the loop is the same as the ride 25 years earlier, but without out-and-back to State Bridge

same summit points: jct CR381 Williams Peak Rd - Co9 > Co9 north > CR1830 Spring Creek Rd west > Sheep Creek Divide > down Sheep Mtn Rd > Sheephorn Creek Rd north <> out and back on Trough Creek Rd west with probably turn around point near State Bridge >> Trough Rd east > Trough Rd s(u) > Trough Rd Pass > Co9 north back to starting point: 67.7miles with 7130ft of climbing in 6.70dec_hrs (Avocet50 or Cateye: m2:97.8.3) (pics: dt_41_29-30)