Cycling Lookout Mountain, Golden, Colorado
Ride six miles gaining 1,585’ at 5% average grade.
Lookout Mountain is the most popular bicycle climb in the Denver Metropolitan Area (219,972 attempts by 22,922 people on Strava as of August 15, 2020 - an unprecedented number for a US bike climb). Downtown Denver is twelve miles to the east of the mountain and on a clear day, can be seen at times along the climb.
One of the most popular starting locations is at “The Pillars” which are located at the right hairpin just up Lookout Mountain Road from its intersection with 19th Street, Golden, Colorado.
Left: The Golden Arches which pre-date McDonalds.
Right: Climb begins in Golden at The Pillars.
Photos: Bud Rockhill, Golden, CO
As you ascend out of town you will pass the campus of Colorado School of Mines. After passing through a roundabout and over US Highway 6, you will approach Lookout Mountain Road and veer left. Beverly Heights Park will be on your left as you approach the first switchback that begins the mountain approach.
The grade on the climb is fairly steady, never exceeding 7%. The steepest quarter mile is 7.1% and the steepest half mile 6.4%.
View of Colorado School of Mines looking east across Highway 6,
1.6 miles up the climb.
I have a special place in my heart for the School of Mines -- my daughter’s UCSD women’s soccer team played the School of Mines in the NCAA Division II round of 8 in Evans, Colorado - UCSD won on PK’s and advanced to the NCAA Final Four, losing by one in the finals that year.
But anyway, back to cycling -- the grade is mild at 3-5% but consistent through the six mile trek. The road is well kept with multiple pullouts for taking in the views.
Photos by Bud Rockhill, Golden
Upper left - Lookout Mountain in background looking from Clear Creek in downtown Golden
Upper right - view of Lookout Mountain from Windy Saddle parking lot, mile 2.9
Lower photo - Lookout hairpins.
The climb ends at the entrance to Lookout Mountain Park.
Visit the Lookout Mountain Preserve and Nature Center after your ride (mile 5).
Lookout Mountain is famous for the gravesite of Buffalo Bill (William Frederick Cody), which we pass at 4.6 miles but cannot see from the road.
Photos: Denver Library.
Burial story of Buffalo Bill:
“On January 10, 1917, while visiting his sister in Denver, famous scout, Buffalo hunter, showman and ultimate Son of the West, Buffalo Bill Cody died from kidney failure. Because he passed away in the middle of the winter the road to Lookout Mountain, the spot where he wanted to be buried, was impassable. So Olinger’s Mortuary, where he was initially interred, kept his remains in cold storage for six months - embalming it six times - until the road up to the Lookout Mountain was made passable. . . .” (read more here).
Parking: There are public parking lots on 19th Street near the campus, just before US Highway 6. Pay not enforced on weekends (free parking!).