Page Contributor(s): Christopher Jacobs, Byers, CO, USA; Todd Short, Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Eric Kuehl, Chicago, IL, USA.
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Cycling Loveland Pass from Georgetown (from the south).
Ride 16 miles gaining 3,645’ to elevation 11,990’ at 4% average grade.
This is a fantastic bike climb in part because, like Vail Pass East and Vail Pass West, the majority of it is along a bike path. This climb reminds us of the dedicated bike path on France’s most difficult bike climb, Col de la Loze, Meribel.
Climb summary by PJAMM’s Todd Short of Scottsdale, Arizona:
Climb begins in historic Georgetown, Colorado.
Loveland Pass North begins at the intersection of Loop Drive and Spring Street in Georgetown. Only 45 minutes from Denver, Georgetown was established in 1859 during the Pikes Peak gold rush. The town has a population of 1,034, is at elevation 8,530’, and has several blocks of restored and well maintained vintage century-plus mining-era buildings, and is overall quite charming (see video of town). For those from out of the area, there is some lodging in Georgetown itself and Idaho Springs is only 12 miles east on Interstate 70.
One of the great sites along this climb is the Georgetown Loop Railroad:
“Located just off I-70 and only 45 miles west of Denver, the Georgetown Loop Railroad and Mining Park is one of Colorado’s most authentic living museums and historically immersive experiences. Bring your family and friends for a narrow gauge train ride, book a real silver mine tour, or learn how to pan for gold. Discover the rugged romance of the Colorado Rockies in the 1880’s. Climb aboard and travel back in time…” (More).
We pass the Georgetown Loop Railroad Station at mile two.
Conveniently there is a public parking lot at the Georgetown Loop Railroad Station approximately two miles up from the Spring Street start. We simply backtracked to the start after gearing up.
The train track, and occasionally the train in motion, is visible for much of the lower portion of the climb.
Commencing the ride from Spring Street you will ascend the first quarter mile, and a switchback brings you back through the parking lot where the bike path starts at the northeast corner corner (see map above).
Once you begin the bike path a hard left turn brings you parallel with I-70. The path is a bit worn in this section with a series of asphalt patches. Follow along the path for one mile, there is a right hand turn underneath I-70 onto Water Street in Silver Plume. Follow Water Street along I-70 for just under one mile, then bend left back underneath I-70 as the road becomes Silver Valley Road.
The first 12 of the 16 miles of this climb are along a bike path -- no cars. 👍
The first 12 miles are at 3.5% gaining 2,485’ with several rollers with brief descents along the way.
Silver Valley Road ends at the next interchange for I-70. Look for the wooden sign indicating the trailhead entrance slightly to the left of the interchange (do not turn right or left).
At this point the scenery takes an uptick through the forest on a winding asphalt trail. The trail continues for approximately four miles before delivering us to Highway 6 (be cautious of the loose gravel transition).
The last four miles are at 5.7% gaining 1,152’ to the summit.
Follow along Highway 6 frontage road until you reach the Loveland Basin -- Arapaho National Forest. At this point a large left switchback begins the steepest portion of the climb to the completion of the route. The road on this portion is in excellent condition and provides great scenic views during your grand ascent to the summit at 11,992 feet, as well as a fast and enjoyable descent back to the Loveland Basin.
Finish at the summit.
Second only to the descent down to Loveland Basin is the returning descent down the winding forest trail as you work your way back to the railroad station. PJAMM gives this one two thumbs up!!
Thank you Eric Kuehl of Chicago, IL (left), and Todd Short of Scottsdale, AZ (right).