Set amidst the rugged backdrop of Colorado's landscapes, Loveland introduces cyclists to a mesmerizing yet challenging experience: the Summit Adventure Trail. For those seeking more than just a scenic ride, this trail will test limits, leaving riders with an exhilarating memory of triumph.
Distance: 9 miLevel: DifficultRoute Type: Out & BackLocation: Loveland, Colorado.
The Starting Point
Commencing from the spacious parking lot located off Hwy 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon, riders are introduced to a fire road with a notable incline. As it twists around the hill and levels out, cyclists are faced with a critical decision at a significant trail split, marked by a large sign. Choosing the Summit Trail over the Nature Trail leads to the real adventure.
Navigating the Summit Adventure Trail
- Initial Steep Climb: Featuring small, loose rocks, the trail challenges cyclists with a steep climb for approximately 100 yards.
- Exposed Side of the Mountain: Shortly transitioning into a singletrack, the trail hangs to the mountain’s side, offering a significant exposure to the left.
- Technical Terrain: With tight switchbacks, big rocks, and scree fields, the next two miles present cyclists with a technically demanding landscape.
- Aspen Grove Retreat: Post the technicalities, riders find respite in a beautiful aspen grove. This is where the trail showcases a friendlier side, becoming softer and almost loamy.
- Final Push to the Summit: As the trail approaches its end, it revisits a steep gradient, however, without the earlier technicalities. The summit is marked not by grand views but by a significant rock cairn. Reaching this point feels like a conquest.
Coming downhill, the route is approximately 90% ride and 10% hike-a-bike, presenting its own set of challenges. With a total ascent of 3200ft, be prepared for a thrilling descent that will keep the brakes burning.
- Sharing its trailhead with the Foothills Nature Trail, don't be misled by the initial overlap.
- Some sections can evoke the "edge-of-the-cliff" fear. Focus and caution are paramount.
- Given the trail's technicality, carrying hiking shoes in addition to cycling cleats is advised. Switch them out at the summit for a comfortable descent.
- The trail can feel nearly un-rideable due to its steepness and technical nature. It's advised to bring along a buddy and maintain safety measures.
How to Get There
From Loveland, move westward on 34. Post passing under the vast water pipe, after 3.8 miles, the Round Mountain trail head is identifiable on the road's south side.
Differing greatly from the neighboring Nature Trail, the Summit Adventure Trail stands as a formidable challenge on the front range. It's a blend of breathtaking views and intricate terrains.