Caryl and Brian's World Bike Tour

Water Sources and Other Tid Bits

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Comments on Adventure Cycling Association's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, South to North

Water Sources:

These are good water sources and sources that were dry that we found during the summer/fall of the year 2000. These should be pretty reliable and if the winter of 2000/2001 has more rain or snow fall there'll be bonus sources. These are pretty much all we found in the way of side-of-the-road sources. There are ranches in the Plains of San Augustin as well as one just past La Mangas work center that are occupied if you want to ask.

Silver City, NM to Grants, NM

  1.  Mimbres Ranger Station - Fill up here
  2.  Rocky Canyon - Dry and had been dry all year.
  3.  Black Canyon - Flowing. There's a pond here which provides steady flow even in the driest year.
  4.  Wall Lake - There was water in the lake and flowing water in the inlet stream
  5.  Beaverhead Work Center - You can get water here any time of the day, even if they're closed. There's a hose and faucet outside the office door.
  6.  La Jolla Canyon - In between the 2 informal campsites within La Jolla Canyon, around mile 60, on the left is a big Aeromotor windmill with a huge cattle tank. The tank is too tall for cows to get in. We found it was full of good, clean water plus a few tadpoles.
  7.  Mile 49.8 - This windmill was running and is enclosed in a fence to keep the cattle away.
  8. Valle Tio Vences spring - There's a black hose running down to the road from the spring. Near the road there is cover over some valves. Turn on the valves and you get water. You may have to dig a hole at the end of the black pipe to make room for your pot.
  9.  La Mangas Work Center - Center is closed. No water.
  10.  Past La Mangas - We found one pond and 2 streams with just barely a trickle. Good in a crunch.
  11.  Pie Town - Pie-O-Neer Cafe gladly fills all you need.

Pie Town, NM to Platoro, CO.

  1.  El Mal Pais ranger station - Faucet is outside building
  2.  San Mateo Spring - Just barely had a trickle. Another year of drought and who knows.
  3.  Mile 80.1 - The tank did have water but pretty scummy.
  4.  Ojo Frio Spring, mi. 47.6 - Did have good , clean water in concrete tank.
  5.  Mile 35.6 - Pumps on side of road were flowing
  6.  Cuba - According to Forest Service in Cuba city water is NOT contaminated.
  7.  Horseshoe Springs - Nice flow.
  8.  Mile 211.1 - Flowing creek near this campsite flows under road
  9.  Polvadera Creek - Dry.
  10. Abiquiu Creek - Flowing all the way to 3rd crossing at mi. 149.
  11. El Rito - Get water at ranger staton
  12. Vallecitos - No water at Post Office Building
  13. Hopewell Lake - There is water in lake but Forest Service recommends going up to inlet stream during times of drought.
  14. Rio Tusas - Was running, but runs right through cow pasture. Try to get as far upstream as possible.
  15. North of Brazos Ridge, somewhere around mile 43 - There were a couple of small creeks running through a meadow
  16. Conejos River - Was running. Foret Service Campgrounds between Rt 17 and Platoro have pumps. However, handles are removed in fall for winterization.

Platoro, CO to Doyleville, CO

  1. Globe Creek - Flows out of nice spring. If camping at Stunner fill up here. Stunner water, if there is a handle on the pump, contains heavy metals and is not potable.
  2. Treasure Creek - Get water higher than where Iron Creek runs into it. We didn't find much else between Treasure Creek and Pinos Creek near Del Norte.
  3. Storm King Campground - Does have a pump, in summer at least.
  4. Luders Creek Campground - Pump seems to be out of service. However, there is a spring at the back of the campground
  5. Upper and Lower Dome reservoirs does have at least one pump.

Water north of here was not as much of a problem with a couple of exceptions.

  1. Hartsel well water is not potable. You can't get any at the stores.
  2. Arapaho Creek in Great Divide Basin - It was dry at the road. However we were told by a local that if you walked 1/2 to 1 mile upstream you'll find water. We did not confirm this.
  3. From Helena, MT to Priest Pass there were no creeks flowing. You had to go to Dog Creek to find water.

Route Comments -

Antelope Wells to Silver City, NM

  1. There is no restaurant at Separ. The only groceries available are snack foods and a few frozen items such as corn dogs and personal size pizzas.
  2. The 10 miles north of Separ that are shown as paved are actually dirt.
  3. Watch for soft, sandy creek crossings between Separ and Silver City

Silver City, NM to Grants, NM

  1. Going east out of Silver City toward Santa Clara is not flat. There are about 4 good rolling hills.
  2. Intersection with Rt 35 to Beaverhead Work Center (Wall Lake Rd.) - The elevation profile is completely wrong. The drop into and climb out of Black Canyon is at least 1,000 ft and very, very steep. Also there are at least 4 more steep 500+ ft climbs north of that climb out of Black Canyon up to Beaverhead work center. None of these extra climbs are shown in the profile. The road is extremely rough and rocky. It was bladed in the fall of 2000 which made the surface loose dirt and gravel. A good wet winter should harden it back up, but it'll still be a very rough road. It may take longer to get to Beaverhead than expected.
  3. The Pie-O-Neer cafe summer hours seem to be Thursday through Sunday 10AM to 6PM. Fall and winter hours are 10AM to 4PM on the same days. They might be open on Mondays, owners' discretion.

Grants, NM to Platoro, NM

  1. The elevation profiles around Abiquiu are totally wrong. Leaving Cuba headed in the north direction you will have a good climb with a couple of short descents right at the beginning. At the top of the mountain where the road turns to dirt there will be a short descent to the turn-off. Then continue to climb for a few more miles. After a while there will be a bunch of ups and downs as you traverse the side of the mountains with what seems like very little elevation gain or loss. Also, at Abiquiu there will not be a steep 4 mile descent as you go toward El Rito. Instead the road is relatively level.
  2. Forest Service route 144 in between Cuba and Abiquiu will be a nightmare for folks going south to north. Particularly just before the first cattle trough listed on the map. Also, in the instructions the 2 cattle troughs seem to be off by about a mile.
  3. There are several more 1 to 2 mile ups and downs before reaching Hopewell Lake. The map will show just a continual up climb.
  4. There is a 1/2 mile super steep and extremely loose, rocky descent coming down from the Los Brazos overlook. It's not mentioned at all in the map. It may be advisable to get off and walk down.

Colorado River area

  1. The entire elevation profile south of the Colordo River is completely wrong. It appears to be shifted to one side by about 4 miles. You will go up when the map says you're going down.
  2. There is another campsite right at the inlet river to the Williams Reservoir that is far nicer than the one located on the penninsula in that it's got a great view and more protection from the wind.

Climb up to Fleecer Ridge

  1. The climb up this ridge is extremely steep and difficult when coming from the south. The first climb you see is only the first. Once you get to the top of this steep section there is another and another and another. We met a guy towing a B.O.B and who had 2 panniers on his rear rack. He had to take off the B.O.B., take off the bags and carry up the pieces seperately. It took him 3 hours to go the 3/4 mile distance.

Helena to Priest Pass

  1. The dip from Priest Pass down to Dog Creek is a heck of a lot lower than the 200 ft shown on the elevation profile. Expect to climb a lot more on the other side.


Copyright 1995-2011 by Caryl L. Bergeron - Distribution for personal use permitted. Distribution for other uses with written permission.



We'd like to thank my father, Charles Johnson, whose diligent mail forwarding and other logistical support make this journey far easier than it could be otherwise.


Wendy Strutin Riedy for archiving the newsletters on her WWW site,

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