Saxon Mountain Road is a trail of ambitions, dreams, and unfulfilled plans. Conceived in the 60s or early 70s to service a never-realized aerial tramway from Georgetown to the mountain’s summit, the trail has evolved into a tough but rewarding mountain biking route. Spanning 12 miles with an intense 2,500-ft elevation gain, it's a challenging ride that culminates at an altitude of 11,050 feet above sea level.
- Distance: 12 miles
- Level: Difficult
- Route Type: Loop
- City: Georgetown
- State: Colorado
Getting There: Take I-70 west of Denver to Georgetown exit #228. Drive under the overpasses and park at the Visitor's Center on the right.
The Climb: A Testament to Endurance
Navigating the Route
- Starting Point: From the Visitor's Center, ride southwest along the street until reaching a 4-way intersection. Go straight, crossing Clear Creek and proceeding to Main St.
- Initial Ascent: Continue straight as Main St morphs into Saxon Mountain Road, the pathway to your rigorous ascent.
- Stunning Views: Expect panoramic vistas of Mt. Evans and the Divide as you reach the peak.
- Historic Flora: The summit welcomes you with a unique Bristle Cone forest. These trees, some perhaps 2,500 years old, don't grow any further north than James Peak.
Options from the Peak
From the summit, riders can follow the power line to Silverdale and beyond, opening a plethora of riding possibilities to the east. These are mostly double track trails, including Silver Creek Trail via Upper Silver Creek Trail (Spring Creek Jeep Road), Idaho Springs, and Chicago Creek. Trails Illustrated Bike Map #502 Idaho Springs/Clear Creek County is a recommended guide for these routes.
Expert Tips and Observations
- Skill Level: The intense climb is what makes this trail challenging. Despite the smooth and wide pathway, it is not recommended for beginners due to the steep ascent.
- Technical Aspects: The trail has sections filled with loose rocks and the descent to Silverdale is steep. It should be rated as advanced from a technical perspective.
- Historical Context: The trail is an unfulfilled dream, an ambition captured in asphalt—a historical and physical ascent that both enlightens and exhausts.
Saxon Mountain Road provides more than just a trail; it offers a journey through natural beauty and human ambition. Though challenging, the trail rewards with stunning vistas, historical contexts, and multiple riding options from the summit. It's not just about the destination, but also about the enriching, uphill journey.