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Ute Pass - Williams Fork Range

This was one of my first gravel biking passes ever, at a time when that sort of thing was referred to as mountain biking. So now I come back several decades later and discover - it's still not gravel biking, that is called for. Sometime during these several last decades, the road has been paved. Am I disappointed - not a bit. This is a rare moment for a road biker of  to get away from traffic completely in this busy area, and enjoy an isolated loop through beautiful scenery - mostly, except for short stretches on Co9

1.START-END WEST: Co9 crosses Elliot Creek, a short distance north of Kremmling
2.northern turnoff to CR30 around west side of Green Mtn Reservoir
3.CR30 rejoins Co9
4.profile turns east onto Ute Pass Rd
5.TOP, Ute Pass, 9600ft
6.road passes first pond of Henderson MIll on East Fork of Ute Creek
7.jct with CR32, heading east towards Winter Park
8.jct with CR33, alternative gravel route to Co9, avoiding US40
9.START-END EAST: Colorado River crossing, immediately before jct US40 - CR3


From West. I am tempted to start the profile all the way back in Kremmling. But actually the road reaches a point as low as Kremmling, about three miles out of town, where it crosses Elliot Creek. This is nearly as low as the Colorado River crossing in Kremmling

Following Co9 north presents variable conditions. The traffic is fairly heavy. But at first there is a extremely wide shoulder available for biking. It disappears when the road gets to Green Mtn Reservoir. The logical thing to do here is follow the county road around the west side of the lake. That does make a loop over this pass a little longer.

Also - the views of the Gore Range and the lake are really nicer from busy Co9, which here has an insufficient shoulder for biking. CR25 north of the the reservoir is another gravel option for a short repreave from traffic. But this still leaves a lot of travel on Co9.

The turnoff to Ute Pass Road is signed. It seems like the steepest part is right at the start, climbing the embankment of the Blue River. Traffic is now history. But I experienced the most deviative dump truck driving behaviour on this stretch of the road anyway. But hopefully you won't.

The views of the Gore Range from the lower approach up the sage hills are the best. Soon the road crosses a power line, that can't be edited out of photographs, and then the forest obscures far views for a long time. Approaching the top there are a few more prime vantage points on the Gore Range framed by trees. The top has a fairly large parking lot and signage detailing trails in both directions along the Williams Range.

From East. (described downwards), A fast decent lined by luxuriant forest leads to a major industrial site, the Henderson Mill. All of the numerous sideroad turnoffs are marked with no trespassing signs. This too shall pass. The pavement here is very rough, but it is 100 percent paved, and smoothness soon returns

Past the junction with CR32 along Keyser Creek direction Frazier, CR33 enters a wide valley of fenced ranching and farm country, contained by flowing sage hills. There is a large reservoirs on this side too, sharing the name of the stream and the mountains just crossed: Williams Fork. There are unpaved shortcuts available here over towards Kremmling, involving CR33. But the profile follows CR3 all the way to its jct with US40 further east.

Dayrides with this point as highest summit:


( | Sheep Creek Divide > )

Ute Pass : near jct CR381 Williams Peak Rd - Co9 > Co9 south > CR25 south > Co8 south > Ute Pass Rd east  Ute Pass > CR3 north > US40 east > Parshall > Kremmling > Co9 south back to starting point at jct CR381 - Co9: 66.3 miles with 3740ft of climbing in 6:45 hrs (garmin etrex32 m5: 23.08.22)


Ute Pass x2: South Boulder  Creek trailhead <> Co9 north <> Ute Pass <> Henderson Mine <> end of FR141 <> additional out and back on a forest road : 43,0miles with 5310ft of climbing in 5.19hrs (m3:98.8.9) (pics: dt42_10-11)
Notes: this ride was before pavement