Perched at the foot of Mt Elbert—the highest peak in Colorado—Twin Lakes Loop provides riders with a seemingly tranquil but surprisingly complex 15-mile experience. Nestled in the vicinity of Leadville, this intermediate-level loop trail offers something for everyone—from impressive mountain and lake vistas to interesting technical challenges.
From US-24, turn east on CO-82 towards Independence Pass/Aspen. After driving for approximately 6 miles, you will reach the quaint town of Twin Lakes. Parking is available across the street from the restaurant/inn, which is also lauded for its great food. For campers, Lakeview Campground is accessible via a hill road across from the power plant.
Twin Lakes Loop offers a unique blend of terrain that keeps riders on their toes. The majority of the ride skirts the lake, providing expansive views that can distract from the trail's inherent challenges. For the most part, it offers a smooth, technically easy ride with minimal elevation changes. However, don't be lulled into complacency. The trail does include some steep, rocky climbs, particularly on the western end where Lake Creek feeds into Twin Lakes.Wind direction should influence your decision to ride clockwise or counter-clockwise. Since winds usually come up from the west and the south side of the loop is wooded, riding clockwise gives you a tailwind on the barren north side, making for a more pleasant experience.
The Twin Lakes Loop is generally excellent for intermediate riders, but its west end poses advanced-level challenges due to steep rocky climbs. Beginners might find this part a bit daunting and may opt to turn around once they reach the Interlaken area. Conversely, the northern stretch of the loop can feel like a breeze with its mostly flat, sandy terrain.
With its captivating mountain-lake views and varying levels of technicality, Twin Lakes Loop provides a well-rounded cycling experience that captures the essence of Colorado's outdoor beauty. Just when you think you've got it figured out, the trail throws in a curveball, making it a must-ride for those seeking a mix of ease and challenge.Don't miss out on the local restaurant/inn, as well as the numerous campgrounds in the area. Twin Lakes isn't just a trail—it's a destination.