Bicycling Magazine Denver, CO: Kenosha Pass West 

Linking Kenosha and Georgia Pass, this 23.4-mile Colorado Trail classic is chock full of aspen groves, banked singletrack, and above-treeline views.


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Author: Bicycling Magazine
Date: 22 Sep 2008 8:32:38 PM
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: Colorado (CO)
Distance: 23.4 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3618 ft
Total Loss: 3607 ft
Net Change: 11 ft
Difficulty: 9 / 10
Tags: Colorado, Colorado Trail, Denver, Fairplay
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

Start from the Kenosha Pass parking area on US 285 and pick up the well-signed Colorado Trail (on the west side of the road). The first six miles of the trail rumble along root-strewn singletrack up and down a pair of 300-foot climbs. Hit this trail in late September/early October as the aspens are peaking and you’ll find yourself bombing through tunnels of fire-yellow leaves and scoping postcard views of the golden groves across the South Park valley.

After a narrow log crossing of Jefferson Creek, the real-deal climbing begins. From here, the Colorado Trail gains 1,800 feet over 6 miles as it climbs to the Continental Divide (topping out at 11,878’). Numbers aside, the real challenge to this climb is its constant maze of roots and rocks. As the trail approaches treeline, the roots subside but the grade remains: it’s a steady grind up to the Divide, and the effort pays off with top-of-the-world views down to Summit County and Breckenridge. The descent? Grip it and rip it on the first two miles; the roots will keep you honest as the trail ducks back into the trees.

-Mapped by Mark Harrison and Kris Wagner

TO TRAILHEAD: From Denver, head west on I-70 and take exit 260 onto 470 east (towards Colorado Springs). Continue 5 miles and take the exit onto US 285 heading south toward Fairplay. Continue 46.9 miles to trailhead parking on either side of the road.

Position Format: Datum:
Tracks

KENOSHA PASS

Distance: 23.39 mi Points: 3125
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest

Let it Rip

Location: 39.457262, -105.909544
There's not much to slow you down on the initial descent down from the Continental Divide; there are a few twists and turns in the narrow singletrack (and maybe a few ascending riders/hikers to yield to), but otherwise, just a ripping stretch of singletrack with amazing views down the valley. © Kris Wagner

Popular Trailhead

Location: 39.412888, -105.758901
Looking across US Highway 285 at the Kenosha Pass Parking Area: The singletrack Colorado Trail (#1776 further on) is clearly marked on the west side of the road. © Mark Harrison

Rocky Rise

Location: 39.421873, -105.787493
© Mark Harrison

South Park Overlook

Location: 39.422113, -105.787772
During the first 5 or so miles of the trail, there are intermittent views to the southwest out over the South Park valley. © Kris Wagner

Aspen Tunnel

Location: 39.423514, -105.790036
Hit the trail at the right time of year (late September/early October) and you'll find yourself zipping through tunnels of golden aspen. © Kris Wagner

Rock Garden

Location: 39.424293, -105.791001
The first half of the ride is fairly straightforward, but there are a few tricky spots that will keep you honest. © Mark Harrison

Switchback Rocks

Location: 39.424964, -105.793490
A tightly-spaced rock garden awaits around a narrow, downhill switchback. © Mark Harrison

Blurry Fast Singletrack

Location: 39.423779, -105.795529
The highlight of the first half of the ride is a blazing fast stretch of singletrack through an open meadow overlooking South Park. © Kris Wagner

Going Up

Location: 39.429497, -105.835226
Rounding the bend at the base of Jefferson Hill, the trail climbs above the aspen groves you just rode through. © Kris Wagner

Going Down

Location: 39.429241, -105.835054
© Mark Harrison

Cattle Gate

Location: 39.426448, -105.835021
Just before the trail drops down to Jefferson Creek (and a narrow log-crossing), you'll need to open and close the cattle gate here. Move quick: mosquitoes have been known to attack stragglers here.

The Climb Begins

Location: 39.429066, -105.848465
Just past Jefferson Cree, the meat of the climbing begins. The grade is fairly steady, never punishingly steep, but what makes the first 4 miles of this climb truly difficult are the tricky root obstacles (which are particularly tough when wet).

Trail Junction

Location: 39.430384, -105.868501
Continue straight past the trail sign on the Colorado Trail, continuing to climb up the rocky, root-strewn trail. Up ahead, the trail is rerouted over a fallen tree. © Kris Wagner

Rock Outcropping

Location: 39.434138, -105.866232
Near the top of a steady, root-filled climb, a rock outcropping serves as a good spot to catch your breath and enjoy some views.

Approaching Treeline

Location: 39.446128, -105.898333
The trail smoothes out as it approaches treeline, but the grade does not relent: it's a steady grind up to Georgia Pass. © Kris Wagner

Big Views

Location: 39.452051, -105.900693
Above treeline, the alpine landscape opens up to reveal extensive views. © Mark Harrison

Y-junction

Location: 39.453989, -105.902281
Follow the Colorado Trail as it splits off to the left. To the right, a trail heads up to an overlook of the neighboring drainage. Mount Guyot looms over the trail to the northwest. © Kris Wagner

Georgia Pass Overlook

Location: 39.459053, -105.911231
The Colorado Trail tops out at the Continental Divide and continues downhill a few hundred feet to a fire road junction that heads west a short distance to Georgia Pass. Ride down to the pass if you like, but the thrill ride back to the trailhead will more than quench your thirst for speed. Ride just past the trail summit (marked by a thin pole) to peer down into Summit County and Breckenridge. © Kris Wagner <p> Note: The Colorado Trail can be ridden all the way to Breckenridge, but in that case, you'd do well to arrange a shuttle or stay the night.

Georgia Pass

Location: 39.458330, -105.915971

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