X-ROADS ADVENTURE LOOP DESCRIPTIONS
Seven Epic Loop Descriptions
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 2nd 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 on a dirt road to Turquoise Lake. From Turquoise lake an easy fun off the road loop to Leadville. From the old silver mining town of Leadville take an interesting pipeline ROW 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.
From BV ride below the Continental Divide to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Your choice if you want to partake. From the Hot Springs you ride down the Arkansas River Valley to Salida. Check out historic downtown Salida and then back to the fairgrounds. Just a hair over 300 miles. Half off road on dirt roads. A killer loop over 3 Spectacular Mountain Passes.
HEADWATERS LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
Mt. Shavano and the Continental Divide
Paved Switchback on Independence Pass
View of the Sangre de Cristo’s and the Arkansas River valley
PIKES PEAK SUMMIT LOOP
Pikes Peak Summit from Salida and back is an epic ride. Smooth dirt roads from Salida to the old 11 mile Canyon railroad right of way along the Platte River. Twisty pavement and more dirt roads to Woodland Park for a quick stop. Then up Pikes Peak to the summit.
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 then leads to an old stagecoach road. The Stagecoach road turns into an old rail line which is now Gold Camp Road to Cripple Creek.
When it was a Railroad President Theodore Roosevelt rode the train to Cripple Creek. Roosevelt said the beauty of the journey “Bankrupted the English language.” From Cripple Creek its more smooth dirt and paved twisty sections to the spectacular Hwy 50 up the Arkansas River Canyon. Epic 330 mile ride.
PIKES PEAK LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
Paved Switchbacks on Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak Summit at 14,114 feet above sea level
GREAT SAND DUNES LOOP *
The Great Sand Dunes and Medano Pass is not a normal 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. 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 into the back of the Great Sand Dunes. After Several creek crossings your into the sand road into the back of the dunes. Keep your momentum up and it’s not much of challenge, nothing to be afraid of.
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 more off- road.
Ute Pass is a bit of a challenge on its downhill side into old mining area of Bonanza. From Bonanza you take the built in the 1860’s dirt Otto Mears Toll-road. The off-road Toll-road Gulch ends at Silvercreek road and after a few creek crossings your down to Marshall Pass. From the paved Poncha Pass you head back down hwy 285 to the Fairgrounds. Epic over 300 mile loop you wont soon forget.
GREAT SAND DUNES LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE *
Great Sand Dunes 2 Track
View of the Great Sand Dunes
Canero Pass near La Garita
MOSQUITO PASS LOOP *
Mosquito Pass is the highest pass you can ride over in the Country. We turn Mosquito Pass into a 235 mile challenging loop. 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.
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. 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 BV at Cottonwood Hot Springs. From Cottonwood we ride below the Continental Divide down the Arkansas River valley and back to the Fairgrounds. 230+ mile loop that will challenge you.
MOSQUITO PASS LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE *
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
The Continental Divide loop is an easy 175 mile loop over 6 mountain passes on the Continental Divide. Cottonwood and Monarch Pass are paved. Cumberland, Black Sage, Old Monarch and Marshall Pass are unpaved smooth dirt roads. Another epic loop you would not put together on your own. Fun places to stop along the way include the old mining towns of Tincup, Pitkin and Sargents.
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
Continental Divide in this photo from an AMA magazine cover
Silver Plume General store in Pitkin
Looking Southwest on Cottonwood Pass
TINCUP PASS 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 down to Taylor Lake. Stop at the old mining town of Tincup. Stop at Mirror Lake before heading up and over the 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.
TINCUP LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE *
Top of Cottonwood Pass
Hot Springs Tour Photo
Townhall in Tincup
The 2 Passes loop heads over Marshall and Monarch Pass. Marshall Pass you would take first up Poncha Pass. Then onto Marshall Pass whicj is a twisty old Railroad line in the dirt over Marshall Pass to the old railhead town of Sargents at the bottom of Marshall Pass. From Sargents you’d head up Old Monarch pass in the dirt 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.
2 PASSES LOOP ELEVATION PROFILE
Denver & Rio Grande railroad tank in Sargents