X-ROADS ADVENTURE LOOP DESCRIPTIONS
Nine Epic Loop Descriptions
Four 2 Day Loop Options
- We have found over the years that 300 miles in a single day loop in the Rocky Mountains to be too much while your on vacation.
- So for 2021 we will give you the opportunity to reserve rooms near the halfway point.
- Lodging Recommendations with Sign-Up Conformation
HEADWATERS LOOP – 3 PASSES – 2 OPTIONS
HEADWATERS LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
- 300 Miles and 2 Days
- Or a slightly different loop and 250 miles and 1 day
- Medano, Independence & Hagerman Passes
The Headwaters loop to Aspen & Leadville starts over dirt Aspen Ridge from Salida, up to Trout Creek Pass. From the Arkansas river you ride into the Platte River Headwaters. You then head off-road over almost 12,000 foot Weston Pass and drop back down to the Arkansas River. Up to Twin Lakes and then over the 3rd highest paved pass in the country to hang out in Aspen for an early lunch.
From Aspen and the Colorado River headwaters you take the old Hagerman Pass railroad line over 12,000 foot+ Hagerman Pass, down to a paved road around Turquoise Lake. From Turquoise lake an easy fun off the road loop to Leadville. Grab a room downtown in historic Leadville around 200 miles and spend the night in the old mining town, after an Epic ride over 3 Passes (Weston, Independence, Hagerman) on the Continental Divide.
From the old silver mining town of Leadville take an interesting pipeline right-of-way off-road down to the old county seat of Granite. From Granite we take the old Midland Railroad right of way through the old Midland Railroad tunnels along the Arkansas river into Buena Vista. Jump on Hwy 24 then head back across off-road Aspen Ridge.
- Check out historic downtown Salida. Just a hair over 300 miles. Half off road on dirt roads. A killer loop over 3 Spectacular Mountain Passes.
- Option 2 is to skip Medano and Trout Creek Passes, turn this loop into a 250 mile one day adventure.
- Both Options will be emailed with GPS Tracks.
Mt. Shavano and the Continental Divide
Paved Switchback on Independence Pass
View of the Sangre de Cristo’s and the Arkansas River valley
- 350 miles – 2 Days
- Epic 2 Day ride over 5 Iconic Rocky Mountain Passes
- Independence, Hagerman, Mosquito, Medano and Trout Creek
- Click this Link to 5 Pass 3 Day Headwaters Loop:
5 Passes Elevation Profile
PIKES PEAK SUMMIT LOOP
- 330+ Miles – 2 Days
- 2 Day Ride up to the Top of Pikes Peak
- Not your Typical out and back route
- This ride takes you on the all Good stuff between Salida and Pikes Peak.
- As much Off-Road as Possible.
PIKES PEAK LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
Down the back way out of Salida off-road. Up an over to 11 mile Canyon and the South Platte River and the Old RR Right of way to Woodland Park. Back way down and then up to the top of Pikes Peak.
Back down the 154 turns from the over 14,000 feet peak to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. A quick jaunt thru the rock gardens of Garden of the Gods before grabbing a hotel room at the Glen Eyrie Estate of William Jackson Palmer, in Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City or Colorado Springs at around 170 miles.
In the morning on Day 2 head to an old stagecoach road. The Stagecoach road turns into an old rail line which is now Gold Camp Road to Cripple Creek. Cripple Creek is one of 2 towns in Colorado where Gambling is Legal. Make sure to check out Historic Downtown Cripple Creek. From the Old Cripple Creek & Victor Railroad line to Cripple Creek (Gold Camp Road) it’s down Phantom Canyon and its curved wooden bridges. The Cripple Creek & Florence Railroad line down Phantom Canyon is an interesting ride through history.
From Phantom Canyon its up and out of Canon City through Temple Canyon Park. Past the Royal Gorge Park and down the back way to on County Road 1 to Cotopaxi. Cross the Arkansas River and take a dirt road that turns to Ute Pass trail the back way into Salida. Cross back over the Arkansas River and just a few miles of pavement back to the fairgrounds. Stellar 2 day ride.
When the Dirt road to Cripple Creek was a railroad line President Theodore Roosevelt rode the train to Cripple Creek. Roosevelt said the beauty of the journey “Bankrupted the English language.”
We avoid Hwy 50 on the way back to Salida and ride an epic back way all the way in the dirt to Salida. Epic 350 mile 2 day ride.
Paved Switchbacks on Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak Summit at 14,114 feet above sea level
GREAT SAND DUNES LOOP *
- 328 Miles – 2 Days
- Ride to somewhere few people ever get the chance to venture.
- Both Days of this 2 Day ride are not to be missed.
GREAT SAND DUNES LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE *
The Great Sand Dunes and Medano Pass is not your typical tourist destination. Get ready for an outstanding ride to Medano Pass mostly off road on smooth dirt roads. First stop is for fuel and snacks at the old Railroad town of Cotopaxi on the Arkansas river. From Cotopaxi it’s onto a little known loop through Temple Canyon Park towards Canon City and then over the Oak Creek Grade down to the old mining town of Westcliffe.
From Westcliffe you head down the Wet Mountain Valley, then up and over the twisty and fun off road Medano Pass. Then ride into the back of the Great Sand Dunes (GSD). After several creek crossings your into the sand road into the back of the dunes. Keep your momentum up and it’s not a difficult challenge, nothing to be afraid of.
There is an Alternate route if you don’t not want to ride over Medano Pass into the Great Sand Dunes, but still want to visit the Great Sand Dunes. It will be clearly marked on the ride map and GPS tracks. Basically you will continue past the Medano Pass road toward Gardner and turn right up a County Road to Pass Creek Pass.
Pass Creek Pass will take you to the Top of La Veta Pass and around Mt. Blanca to the Great Sand Dunes without riding in the sand.
Grab a room after Medano Pass at the Sand Dunes Lodge or the Sand Dunes Hot Springs pool a little over halfway. Weather you choose the Sand Dunes Lodge or the Hot Springs Pool, be sure to check out the Hot Springs Pool and their excellent Cafe.
From the GSD you cross the San Luis Valley at the town of Center to a dirt road up to La Garita, then head up and over unpaved Canero Pass. A real short jaunt on paved Hwy 114 to an old dirt stagecoach road over the hill to Saguache. From Saguache and another snack stop it’s now onto more challenging off-road.
Ute Pass is a bit of a challenge on its downhill side into old mining town of Bonanza. From Bonanza you take the built in the 1860’s dirt Otto Mears Toll-road. The off-road Otto Mears Toll-road gulch is a spectacular bit of history and ends at Silvercreek road. After a few creek crossings you’re down to Marshall Pass.
Take Marshall pass old RR ROW to the paved Poncha Pass as you head back down Hwy 285 to the Fairgrounds. Epic over 300 mile loop you can talk about for years.
Entrance to the Great Sand Sand Dunes National Park from the East side
Great Sand Dunes 2 Track on Medano Pass
View of the Great Sand Dunes on Medano Pass
Canero Pass near La Garita
MOSQUITO PASS LOOP *
- 230 Mile 1 Day loop
- This Loop is suitable for a Dual Sport Motorcycle or an Adventure Bike.
- Mosquito Pass is the highest pass you can ride over in the Country.
- We turn Mosquito Pass into a 235 mile challenging loop.
MOSQUITO PASS LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE *
We take Aspen Ridge off-road from Salida to Buena Vista. Jeep roads through the 4 Mile OHV to the old Midland Railroad along the Arkansas River. A quick trip thru Granite and up a road up to Twin Lakes. From Twin Lakes we head up the dirt to almost 12 thousand foot Weston Pass in the opposite direction of the Headwaters loop. We head east over Weston Pass on this Loop.
From the Platte River headwaters we then journey to old mining towns of Fairplay and Southpark for a quick stop. Now we’re headed up towards Mosquito Pass from the East going west. First we pick up a Forest Service road down a mountain from the mining town of Alma.
Mosquito Pass is a rocky old Mail Route and mining road turned into a jeep road. You will definitely feel the altitude at the top.
Awesome views of the Arkansas River headwaters and a fun ride down the twisty jeep road to Leadville. The old Silver mining boomtown is the highest incorporated city in the Country.
From Leadville we would partake of a Paved loop around Turquoise Lake, then ride past the highest golf course in the country. Keep it interesting off-road on the way back down to Buena Vista. If your game you could then visit the Hot Springs outside Buena Vista at Cottonwood Hot Springs.
From Cottonwood we ride below the Continental Divide down the Arkansas River valley or you can take Aspen Ridge back to the Fairgrounds. 230+ mile loop that will challenge you.
Mosquito Pass above the North London Mine
Mosquito Pass Summit at 13,186 feet above sea level
Riding up Mosquito Pass East of the North London Mine
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE LOOP – 6 PASSES
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE 6 PASS LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
- 175 Mile 1 Day Loop
- The Continental Divide loop is an easy 175 mile loop over 6 mountain passes on the Continental Divide.
- Cottonwood and Monarch Pass are paved on either end of the ride.
- Cumberland, Black Sage, Old Monarch, Marshall Pass. These 4 are all unpaved smooth dirt roads.
- An epic loop you would not put together on your own.
- Fun places to stop along the way include the old mining town of: Tincup
- The Old Railroad towns of Pitkin and Sargents.
Continental Divide in this photo from an AMA magazine cover
Silver Plume General Store in Pitkin
Looking Southwest on Cottonwood Pass
TINCUP PASS LOOP *
TINCUP LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE *
- 125 MILE LOOP
- The Tincup Pass loop is a 125 mile loop with a bit of challenge on Tincup Pass.
- You’d take newly paved Cottonwood Pass over the Continental Divide down to Taylor Lake.
- Stop at the old mining town of Tincup.
- Stop at Mirror Lake before heading up and over the Continental Divide to a pass down to the Ghosttown of St. Elmo.
From St Elmo you have the option of heading back to the Fairgrounds down past the Chalk Cliffs and Mt Princeton, or if you up for another challenge ? The rocky jeep road up to the Mt. Antero summit over 14,000 feet is a few hour trip with more spectacular views. That trip up Mt. Antero will get its own Tracks and map.
Top of Cottonwood Pass
Hot Springs Tour Photo on Cottonwood Pass
Townhall in Tincup
2 PASSES LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
- 65 MILE LOOP
- The 2 Passes loop head over Marshall and Monarch Pass.
Marshall Pass you would take first up paved Poncha Pass. Then onto Marshall Pass which is a twisty old Railroad line. It’s now a Forest Service Dirt road over Marshall Pass to the old railhead town of Sargents at the bottom of Marshall Pass. From Sargents you’d head up dirt Old Monarch pass to Monarch Pass. From the top of Monarch Pass it’s a beautiful paved road ride back down Monarch Pass to the fairgrounds. We venture off Hwy 50 for some neat old jeep roads below Mount Shavano before calling it a 65 mile loop.
Sargents is an Old Railroad town on the Marshall Pass and Monarch Pass & Hwy 50
Denver & Rio Grande railroad water tank in Sargents
MARSHALL PASS INFO
Glenwood Hot Springs
Cottonwood Hot Springs
Old railroad cut
E-TICKET ADVENTURE LOOPS