"Oh My God Road," also known as Virginia Canyon or CR 279, is not your everyday bike trail. This 11-mile course located in Idaho Springs, Colorado, is a treacherous but incredibly rewarding ride, best suited for experts looking for a challenging outdoor experience. The name alone—inspired by the trail's perilous drop-offs and tight switchbacks—gives a foreboding preview of what's to come.
Before we delve into the thrills, let's touch on some history. Once a major route between Idaho Springs and Central City, this area is steeped in mining lore. At one point, Central City was even proposed to be the State Capital and was considered the "richest square mile on Earth."
Contrary to many trails featuring singletracks, "Oh My God Road" primarily offers old roads ripe for exploration. From Russell Gulch, there are numerous other trails you can venture to, such as Fall River, St. Mary’s, Mammoth Gulch, Rollins Pass, and Nevadaville. Though the trail remains snow-free for most of the winter, don't expect an easy ride.
This trail has the unique quality of being a prime location for winter cross-country rides or shuttle rides, making it an off-season gem. The loop with Central City Parkway can extend the ride to about 20 miles, offering another layer of challenge.
While the area is 100% confined within BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Land, riders have reported encounters with local residents claiming ownership of the trail. It's crucial to note that these claims are incorrect. If harassed, cyclists are urged to contact the local police immediately. However, bear in mind that bikes are currently not allowed on Central City or Black Hawk roads.
From Denver, take the I-70 west to reach Idaho Springs. The trailhead is well-marked, making it hard to miss for eager cyclists.
This is a trail that will test your limits, both physically and mentally. If you're up for a ride that's just as historical as it is exhilarating, then "Oh My God Road" might just be your next go-to destination. But beware, this is not a trail for the faint-hearted or unprepared.Happy Riding!