Lefthand Canyon/Jamestown/Nederland Loop

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Lefthand Canyon/Jamestown/Nederland Loop

Sean Donnelly
April 2, 2018

Today I decided to check out a couple of roads I haven't been on before. Lefthand Canyon, James Canyon Drive and Overland Road. Because I hadn't been on these roads before and knew Overland was a dirt road heading out of Jamestown, which had been heavily damaged by the flooding in 2013, I took my KTM 690 Enduro R to scout it out.

I really like this bike. It is a total blast to ride and there is something about riding a small bike that just makes you feel more connected. The wind, the pitch of the road, how you shift your weight. They are all magnified on a small bike and play into the senses as you ride it. Something that I think is missing in the bigger bikes, that often get more car-like in the way they disconnect the rider from the road as you add more cylinders and weight. Yes, the 690 is a big bike by dirt-bike standards, but is still a comparatively  small bike. The size does at times make it entertaining to ride, often for the vehicles behind you as they watch you bob and weave a bit in the wind. But thats the charm of it :)

I jumped on C-470 and made my way to Golden where I took 93 to Boulder. It was a windy day to begin with and the "High Winds May Exist" signs waved their warnings at me on S. Foothills Hwy as I passed.  You know, just in case I hadn't noticed that was the reason for why my bike was dancing and bobbing along that stretch.

Passing through Boulder the wind stopped blowing, it was pleasant, warm, serene. In so many ways Boulder is it's own little center of existence :)

I continued  on 7 to 36 out of Boulder, I made my way toward Altona.  Altona is a census-designated place (CDP) in Boulder County, population about 500.  I mention this because I don't think there is really any way to know your in Altona, other than when you see the Greenbriar Inn, you are there.  Sure, it is listed on Google Maps, but I don't recall ever seeing a sign for it.  Taking a left at Greenbriar Inn, I headed up Left Hand Canyon Road.

Lefthand Canyon, for those who haven't been on it like myself, turns out to be a really pleasant ride and one that I have to revisit. It follows along Lefthand Creek and eventually makes it way through Glendale and into Ward before joining Peak to Peak.  I will have to visit this route another day, because today I was focused on going straight, where Lefthand breaks left and continuing up James Canyon Drive to Jamestown

Welcome to Jamestown! That is pretty much it.  A mercantile/cafe/veterinarian office, a church, a post office and... yup, thats pretty much it.  You know its a small town when your bike is one of the biggest things in it :)

A little history on Jamestown, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The historic Town of Jamestown is a Statutory Town in Boulder County, Colorado, United States. The population was 274 at the 2010 United States Census. It was named for James Smith, an early discoverer of gold. Jamestown was hit hard by the September 2013 Colorado floods when the town was isolated due to road damage from the rains and the flooding of James Creek. Under a mandatory evacuation order, most residents were airlifted to safety under the direction of the Colorado National Guard to nearby Boulder.

It was due to this flooding that I wasn't sure what the road beyond Jamestown would look like, particularly the dirt portion of Overland.  I was really kind of expecting to be rough, rutted and damaged from the water still.  Thinking that the dirt road would be the last thing they fixed, but I was surprised at how smooth it was, aside from some mild wash-boarding right where it first turns to dirt.  The surface is can easily be  traveled on any kind of bike, with nothing more than street tires.

The dirt road ends right before Peak to Peak with about 30 yards of paved surface, which makes entering on to Peak to Peak easy and allows for a fast "getaway." Which is good, since visibility is limited to the right.

I made then made my way to Nederland for some coffee and a warm up at one of my favorite stops, Blue Moon Bakery.  I sat outside, enjoyed my coffee and some spring sunshine, before continuing along Peak to Peak toward home.