Cycling Left Hand Canyon to Ward
Ride 16.7 miles gaining 3,685’ at 4.2% average grade.
Climb begins by riding west on Left Hand Canyon from its T intersection with Highway 36.
Left Hand Canyon is a Top 200 US Climb and one of the most popular bike climbs in the Boulder, Colorado area. The climb follows Left Hand Creek until Left Hand Canyon turns into Indiana Gulch Road at mile 15. While we do not see the creek the entire climb, we are close enough to hear it, and when we don’t hear the creek, we hear the wind blowing through the trees that fill the canyon. This is a very calming and peaceful ride.
The grade rarely approaches double digits and is fairly mild throughout. The toughest section of the climb begins just before you reach Ward at a sharp right turn where Sawmill Rd, a popular mountain biking road, intersects with Left Hand Turn Road at around mile 15 -- this segment is 1.6 miles at 8.5% gradient.
Photos from the middle section of the climb, before Ward.
National Forest sign at mile 3.5.
Be sure to make the left turn to Ward at mile five.
You are close when you pass the jumble of mailboxes on your right.
Pass through Ward (pop. 155; 2017) at mile 16.
Finish 4/10’s of a mile past the market at Peak to Peak Highway
Depending on your point of view, there is either a lot of junk in and around Ward . . .
. . . or, in our opinion, a lot of relics and interesting road art.
This is a bicycle friendly venue as is evidenced by not one,
but three bicycle pumps available on site for use to anyone with a need.
This is a high-cyclists route. We know this from: (a) seeing many cyclists on the route on an early Monday afternoon, (b) there are more unique cycling road signs on this route than we have ever seen before, and (c) according to volunteered comments by the eclectic owner of the popular Utica Street Market in Ward, 200-300 cyclists per day stop at his place on the weekends during good weather.
Finish at Peak to Peak Highway (Hwy 72)
The Left Hand Canyon to Brainard Lake route continues another 5 miles past this point.
Roadway Surface and Traffic Report: The road has no shoulder for much of the climb, yet this is never an issue as there is not much traffic along the route, and the speed limit is a maximum of 35 (reducing to 15 mph as we near and enter Ward).