If the idea of a ride that effortlessly blends pavement, doubletrack, heart-pounding climbs, and unforgettable downhills intrigues you, then the Argentine Railroad Grade Loop should be at the top of your mountain biking bucket list. This 12-mile loop, starting and ending in Georgetown, Colorado, is a demanding yet highly rewarding experience for those ready to push their limits.
- Distance: 12 miles
- Level: Difficult
- Route Type: Loop
- City: Georgetown
- State: Colorado
Getting There: Take I-70 west from Denver and exit at Georgetown (#228). Park at the Visitor's Center on the right, just under the overpass.
Trail Features and Highlights
A Blend of Terrains and Challenges
- Pavement to Dirt: The loop starts with a ride through Georgetown leading onto Guanella Pass, offering a mix of asphalt and earth.
- 5-mile Climb: A heart-thumping 1,500-ft climb over 5 miles awaits, but the reward is a 7-mile downhill that's nothing short of exhilarating.
- Singletrack Delights: The singletrack section around Silver Plume is praised for its quality and offers the kind of biking thrills that make this loop a regular training route for many.
Navigating the Route
- Guanella Pass to Waldorf Junction: After leaving Georgetown, make your way up Guanella Pass to Waldorf Jct. This part of the ride provides a scenic view of Georgetown.
- Argentine R.R. Grade: Turn onto Waldorf Road F.S. 248.1 and ascend a steep, rocky path to the Argentine R.R. Grade. Follow the switchbacks and avoid any spur roads.
- Time for Speed: Upon reaching Pavilion Point, marked by a rock chimney, shift to your big ring for an exhilarating downhill run. Aim for Silver Plume.
Tips and Recommendations
- Way Back: From Silver Plume, connect with the bike path leading back to Georgetown.
- Scenic Stops: Pavilion Point offers a scenic vista to the north; it's worth a pause.
- Stay On Route: Keep to F.S. 248.1Q and avoid spur roads for the best experience.
Summary: The Perfect Training Loop for the Fearless
Argentine Railroad Grade Loop is not for the faint-hearted. It's a challenging, yet invigorating route that's perfect for riders looking to up the ante in their training regimen. With a potent blend of terrain types, a hard-to-ignore climb, and one of the most enjoyable downhill runs you'll find, this loop guarantees an experience that keeps calling you back for more.