Summer and early fall find both road bikers and mountain bikers in the Peak to Peak Region for some of the most scenic and challenging rides in the state.
Road bikers will find wide shoulders, polite drivers, and many paved, quiet roads. However smooth the shoulder, the terrain is always a combination of both steep and gentle grades (and downhills). Some bikers choose to ride up to Nederland on the RTD bus with their bikes stowed on the bus, and then enjoy the challenges of the Peak to Peak region in either direction, north or south.
Mountain bikers have miles and miles of dirt roads and single track trails available to them. They range from fairly easy to challenging. All bikers must remember that no vehicles are allowed inside the boundaries of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. A number of road and mountain biking clubs exist in the area. Check at a local bike shop for current groups.
Listed below is a small sampling of some popular trails for mountain biking. Check at the Nederland Visitors Center or a local bike store for other suggestions.
Sourdough Trail (Moderate to Difficult)
The very popular Sourdough Trail is a heavily forested, occasionally technical ride, located between Nederland and Camp Dick. If you like rocky terrain and single track, check out this famous ride. Access the southern terminus 6.5 miles north of Nederland on Highway 72 at the turnoff to the Colorado Mountain Research Station at the parking lot. The trail intersects with the Brainard Lake road in about 6 miles. A mile further the Sourdough Trail joins the South St. Vrain Trail. To the east about 3 miles is Highway 72; a mile and a half to the west, the Sourdough Trail splits to the right and passes near Beaver Reservoir on County Road 96J. You can complete the entire route (FR 835) by continuing a mile past Beaver Reservoir to Camp Dick near Peaceful Valley on Highway 72.
Switzerland Trail (Easy)
The historic Switzerland Trail (it used to be a tourist train route) is ridden entirely on dirt roads. The terrain is rocky, but if you use a car shuttle and head in the right direction, much of the route is downhill. From Nederland, take Highway 72 north about 5 miles to the Glacier Lake Trailhead/Road. Look for a dirt road to the right 1/4 mile past mile marker 38. It's about 18 miles to Ward going through Sunset and up to Saw Mill Road into Ward. The Switzerland Trail can also be accessed from the Gold Hill Road about 5 miles from Highway 72.
Rollins Pass (Moderate to Difficult)
You can take this historic train route across the Rollins Pass to Winter Park (though you have to navigate the narrow foot trail around the tunnel). If you've still got the energy, you can do some downhill riding at the Winter Park resort. From the beginning of the Rollins Pass Road (eight miles west of Rollinsville) to the top is approximately 15 miles with an elevation gain of about 2,475'.
Some bikers have found that near Yankee Doodle Lake on the return trip there is a turnoff (not well marked) for the Jenny Creek Trail that brings bikers back through the national forest to the Eldora Ski Resort Road which leads back to Nederland. Check with the Nederland Visitors Center staff or a local bike shop for a detailed map and directions for this part of the trip.
Fourth of July Road (Moderate)
The ride from Nederland through Eldora and up to Buckingham Campground is a nearly 20-mile roundtrip route that combines paved and graded dirt roads leading through residential areas and dense aspen and spruce forests. Begin at the Visitors Center in Nederland, ride south a half mile on Highway 119 to the Eldora turnoff and follow the pavement to the old gold mining town of Eldora (don't go to the ski area!). Continue for another mile where the pavement ends and ride uphill another 5-6 miles to the end of the road at Buckingham Campground. The return trip is all downhill. Enjoy it - you've earned it.