Warren Gulch Trail in Idaho Springs, Colorado, offers a rollercoaster ride for mountain bikers with a taste for adventure. Known as one of the earliest shuttle routes in the state, it has earned a mixed reputation. This 17-mile trail is an adrenaline-pumping, rock-laden course best suited for experienced cyclists. Here's an in-depth look at what awaits you.
Characterized by a stark elevation of 3,000 feet both up and down, the trail consists of nearly 4 miles of singletrack and 13 miles of mixed terrain. It features an array of steep grades and rocky terrains that promise a physically intense ride.
The Warren Gulch portion is a 5-mile, heavily-forested downhill section that can only be described as 'rocky' with a capital 'R'. Studded with switchbacks and strewn with boulders, it provides a jolting, though rewarding, experience. Your descent may be restricted to around 13 mph, not for a lack of trying, but due to the natural conditions of the trail.
For those attempting the trail for the first time, the route can be confusing, especially through the subdivision leading to the lower singletrack. It's advised to ride with someone familiar with the trail to navigate through the complexity of its lower parts.
Given the high altitude, nearing 11,000 feet at the peak, expect cooler temperatures. Weather can be unpredictable, making it crucial to be prepared for sudden changes in conditions.
Over recent years, the trail has suffered from inconsiderate usage, particularly from the downhill crowd. It's crucial to avoid skidding or cutting switchbacks to preserve the trail's integrity for future riders.
From Denver, take I-70 west to reach Idaho Springs. The trailhead is somewhat concealed but keep an eye out 100 yards past mile marker 19 on the right, just beyond Echo Mountain ski resort. You'll know you're on the right track when the trail begins to become evident after the initial 100 feet.
Warren Gulch Trail is a challenging but rewarding cycling experience that's not for the faint-hearted. The combination of high elevations, rocky terrain, and complex route navigation make it a venture best undertaken by the experienced. If you're up for a workout framed by striking views and a sense of old Colorado charm, this trail might just be your next ride.Ride responsibly and enjoy the trail!