Pikes Peak (top and center); Mount Evans (bottom right);
Trail Ridge (bottom left)
Cycling the Denver area is very efficient, scenic and challenging. We have travelled to this area 3 times to cycle the top climbs around Denber, including Pikes Peak, Mount Evans and Trail Ridge. These three climbs make this one of the three best road bike climbing hubs in the United States - along with the Island of Hawaii and Owens Valley, California.
- Very easy and inexpensive to get to - Denver is a regional airline hub and there are many daily direct flights into DEN from most major US cities (e.g. San Francisco, LA, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, etc.)
- The 3 climbs in this area are very close together and convenient to get to.
- The climbs are extremely challenging:
- Pikes Peak: #1 CO/#4 US/#39 World; 2nd highest paved road in CO/US/North America
- Mount Evans: #2 CO / #12 US / Top 200 World; highest paved road in CO/US/North America
- Trail Ridge: #4 CO / #56 US; Distance: Longest CO / #2 US / #7 World
- These climbs have the highest combined finish altitude for any three climbs within a 75 mile radius than any others in the world that we know of ( there could be some uncharted climbs this close together in the Himalayas but the roads there are not very publicized). We have searched, but have not found any other 3 climb clusters ascending to a combined 40,000’+ within 75 miles, other than Pikes-Evans-Trail Ridge.
- The climbs are all epic - we have ranked Pikes Peak #1 US Most Epic and World Most Epic #10.
- These climbs are in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and are dramatic and scenic.
Thus, we feel that the Denver area should be included on all road bike climber’s bucket list and we give it an A+ rating.
PIKES PEAK, MANITOU SPRINGS
PJAMM World Top 10 Epic Bike Climb; #1 US Epic Bike Climb
We have ridden Pikes Peak three times and consider it one of the most epic climbs in the world. If we use the traditional and common definition of epic to equate “legendary” or “monumental”, we would be hard pressed to ignore Pikes Peak. This mountain is well known, if not famous. It has been host to The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (aka Race to the Clouds) every year since 1916, the Pikes Peak Peak Ascent and Marathon (since 1956), and the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb. Pikes Peak leaves nothing off the Most Epic Bike Climb Checklist: difficulty (#4 US/#39 world), elevation (#2 US), distance (#19 US), and varied scenery -- forests, lakes, hairpins, and unobstructed views of surrounding mountains and the Colorado Plains 8,000’ below.
MT. EVANS, LOVELAND
Not only the highest bike climb in Colorado (and the United States and North America), this is the second longest climb at 27.4 miles (yet paling to Trail Ridge’s 43.9). Along the way expect to encounter all manner of wildlife. We have personally encountered mountain goats (photo above), rocky mountain bighorn sheep, deer, and marmots.
Each July cyclists race from Idaho Springs (7,560’) to the end of the pavement above 14,000’ in the Bob Cook Memorial Bicycle Race. Bob Cook died of melanoma at age 23 after having won the race an unbelievable six times in his young life.
The race has been held every year except three since its inaugural ride in 1962. Professional (or soon to be professional) cyclists have won the race over the years: Alexi Grewal (1981, 1984, 1990); Ned Overend (1985-1986); Michael Engleman (1991-1995); Jonathan Vaughters (1997, 1999); Scott Moninger (1998, 2000-2002); Tom Danielson (2004, 2007, 2009); Peter Stetina (2010); LeRoy Popowski (2011-2013); Christopher Carr (2013); Lachlan Morton (2015); Chris Butler (2016); Chad Haga (2017); and Gregory Daniel (2018).
TRAIL RIDGE, ESTES PARK
At 43.9 miles, Trail Ridge is the second longest bike climb in the United States (behind #1 US/#1 World Mauna Loa), and 7th longest in the world. Trail Ridge is also the highest continuous (i.e., not a dead end) paved road in the United States. Traversing Rocky Mountain National Park, this climb offers spectacular views along the giant switchbacks 20 miles below a summit that tops out at a whopping 12,000'.