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.
While in Leadville, I started reviewing our itinerary and noticed I somehow missed a 14er in the plan!! Thankfully, it was simple to add in. Another day, and we would’ve ridden right by it!! Bonus: it was one of the easiest ones so far.
We left Leadville early and headed towards Iowa Gulch Trailhead to hike Mount Sherman. The more popular route is accessed on the other side of the mountain closer to Fairplay, CO, but thankfully this error in planning was easily resolved. The trailhead was just 9 miles away and about half the climbing we got to do by bike. The first 4 miles followed the paved Mineral Belt bike path heading southeast of the city. The sun was just starting to rise as we wound through the path lined with historical relics from the mining days of the mid 1800s. The bike path took us to a county road, and the climb got a little steeper. The final three miles to the trailhead were on a gravel road. The ride was steep and slow, but passable. The nine miles took about an hour and forty minutes, and then it was time to hike.
So far, this was our shortest hike both in distance and elevation gain. Clouds hung in the air as we made our way up the mountain. I immediately noticed the myriad of wildflowers in the valley. The living bouquets colored the somewhat dreary landscape and added a smile to my face.
Soon, the trail picked through rocks as we aimed for the saddle between Mount Sherman and Mount Sheridan. The previous day’s rain made the steep trail a little easier to walk than what surely would’ve been a slower trek over loose dirt and gravel.
An hour in, we were already half way done. At the saddle, the trail from Fairplay coincided with our trail as it aimed for the summit. We took a short break and headed up into the cloud.
Occasional gusts of wind revealed the beautiful valley below, but eventually we were totally socked in. The trail had countless false summits, and with the fog, it was hard to guess where the actual summit was. At 8:40, we made it to the top where a small group of hikers were gathered.
There weren’t any views to take in, so after our obligatory selfie, we headed back down the mountain. The clouds continued to shift in the wind.
By the time we were back at the trailhead, we could actually see the summit as the clouds temporarily split.
We grabbed the bikes, happy to have summited our 14th 14er! Back on the bike path with a little more daylight, we enjoyed the historical mining relics once more.
Onto the next!
If you’re keeping track…
479 Miles by Bike / +44,500 ft elevation gain
87 Miles Hiking / +35,700 ft elevation gain
14 – 14,000+ ft Summits
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.