This summer we’re attempting to summit as many 14,000+ ft mountains in CO as possible, and we’re reaching the trailheads by bike! Join us on our Summer of Summits.
We took our sweet time waking up after summiting Long’s Peak. Once we were packed up, we headed south down Highways 7 then 72 towards our next 14er, Mount Evans. We decided to head to Idaho Springs and get our first hotel room so we could soak our tired muscles.
The first half of the day was spent riding towards Nederland to get some lunch and groceries. Although I’m sure we did some downhill riding, it felt like a never-ending uphill climb totaling around 2500 ft of elevation gain. After our lunch break, the climbing began again, another 2000+ ft up. After what felt like an eternity, we crested the top of the hill and enjoyed coasting down into the tiny town of Black Hawk. We only had 12 miles and 1400 ft of climbing left until we could ride into Idaho Springs.
Black Hawk is a tricky little town though. At one point, cycling through was illegal. This has since been reversed by the CO Supreme Court, however, cycling south from Black Hawk still proved complicated.
We headed towards the central parkway, the most direct route south up some agonising steep hills. We were about to join the parkway when we noticed a “no bikes” sign. I checked Google maps which suggested an alternate route. Up we went towards the abandoned mining town of Nevadaville where the pavement turned to gravel.
We lost signal, and our directions, and pieced together a route around Bald Mountain. It was definitely an adventure dodging big rocks and uneven surface that turned fun when we finished climbing. Good thing we upgraded our tires! Finally, we reconnected to the recommended route and coasted down to Idaho Springs where our hotel awaited.
Ahead was Mt Evans which is totally paved to the top making it a unique 14er we could summit by bike. From Idaho Springs, it’s about 28 miles with 7000 ft of climbing. We decided split the slog into two days. We headed out from Idaho Springs around 11:00 am keeping a steady pace between 4-7 mph. Slow and steady was the name of the game. The views on the way up only got better as we went. We listened to tunes and set it in a low gear for about 4 hours.
Around 3:00, we made it to Echo Lake which was buzzing with people. We took a rest, then headed up Mt Evans road. Due to covid, Mt Evans road is closed to vehicles this year, creating a cyclists dream come true. We found a stealth campsite and settled in for the night.
We woke up around 7 and continued our slog. The early morning views were outstanding as most of the ride was above treeline.
We spent about 2.5 hours traveling 14 miles and gaining over 3500 ft of elevation. The seemingly never ending switchbacks finally ceased just shy of Mt Evans summit where about a dozen other cyclists were taking in the views proud of our accomplishment. We hiked less than a quarter mile to get to the official summit at 14,271 ft. excited to have summited our second CO 14er.
After soaking in the summit, we had the joy of cruising 28 miles back into Idaho Springs with the first 14 being vehicle free. The first half of the road had some rough pavement leaving me wondering how road bikes were cruising so quickly!
The second half was super smooth, and we glided down the mountain back to town. Onto the next 14er!
If you’re keeping track…
220 Miles by Bike / +20,000 ft of elevation gain
14.5 Miles Hiking / +5000 ft elevation gain
2 – 14,000+ ft Summit
We are Bekah and Sean, out on an adventure to summit as many CO 14ers as possible this summer and reaching them via bicycle! Follow along here or on Instagram as we complete our Summer of Summits.