Saguache - Lake City - Gunnison - Saguache 4-Day Loop
San Cristobal Overlook
The Saguache / Lake City / Gunnison 4-Day Loop rides through some of the most scenic areas of Colorado. The loop begins and ends at Saguache. These routes are mainly on roads with light traffic, shoulders, and super views. Lake City is a great place to start for mountain biking. The Alpine Loop is a great MTB tour. There are a number of 14'ers near Lake City. 250 Miles, 10,400 feet elevation gain. There are several steep climbs but are fairly short.
Distance: 250 Miles, 10,400' Elevation Gain (4-Day Loop)
Roadways: More major highways but reasonable traffic.
Getting There: Start and End at Saguache, CO. Take US285 north from Santa Fe through Alamosa to Saguache. This is a loop so you could start anywhere on the loop and ride in either direction, too.
Options: See the Alpine Loop MTB Ride for more information about the Lake City area.
Notes: See Road Biking Colorado by Michael Seeberg which lists this ride in his "Highly Recommended Rides" in Colorado.
Saguache - Lake City - Gunnison - Saguache Loop Cue Sheet
Overall Mileage Leg Mileage Day Elevation Gain (Feet) Leg Description Day 1: Saguache (7,694', pop. 600) - Creede
Saguache: Take US285 south from town. Good pavement, moderate traffic.
CO112: Turn west (right) Convience Store at corner. Moderate traffic, US285 has shoulders on and off.
Del Norte: Take US160 west. Resturants. More traffic but good pavement.
South Fork: Take CO149 northwest. Resturants. Follow the Rio Grande along a pretty route. Wagon Wheel Gap: Several resturants at dude ranches along here.
Creede: There are plenty of places to stay in this old mining town. Lots of history. Short climb into town. Day 2: Creede (8,854', pop 600) - Lake City:
Creede: Take CO149 west from town to Lake City. Follow the Rio Grande.
Fremont General Store (food). Continue on CO149 past turnoff to Rio Grande Reservoir (dirt), the headwaters of the Rio Grande. Begin moderate climbing. Pass campground with South Spring Creek Falls. Up a dirt road 1/4/ mile and 900 ft. walk. Ok, but the next falls are much bigger and impressive.
North Spring Creek Falls. 1/2 mile off highway, paved. Big Falls, great view. picnic area.
Spring Creek Pass (10,901' ) Picnic area, toilets, no water. Last 2 miles are steep. Fast descent. Watch for moose.
Slugmullion Pass (11,361') Hard 4 miles, especially the last 2. High speed descend. Be careful on tight turns.
Windy Point Overlook: Spectacular 14ers overlook.
Lake City: A delightful area. Plenty of places to stay and campgrounds. 14ers in the area. The Alpine Loop, gravel road. San Cristobal Lake, Alferd Packer, ... Day 3: Lake City (8,675' pop. 200) - Gunnison:
Lake City: Take CO149 north out of town. There are no stores, towns, or convience stores along this route, so take water and food. Mostly 2 lane road with no shoulders, very light traffic. Very pretty route following the Lake Fork of the Gunnision until the turn up the two steep climbs near Powderhorn. Then a fast, long descent to US50. Descents are open and straight making for really fast descents.
US50: There is a picnic area with water at the reservoir before the intersection with US50. Travel along the south side of the Blue Mesa Reservoir in the Curecanti National Monument. Cross the bridge and intersect US50. Turn East (right) on US50. US50 has more traffic but shoulders.
Gunnison: There are plenty of places to stay, eat, and camp. Day 4: Gunnison (7,681' pop 4,600) - Saguache: No water or facilities until Saguache.
Gunnison: Travel East on US 50 out of town.
CO114: Turn south (right) on CO114. Follow Cochetopa Creek climbing to the pass. Gradual climb until the last 2 miles (5%). There are several toilets along the creek. Climb through stunning igneous rock canyon. Beautiful section. 2 lane road, no shoulders mostly, very light traffic, bumpy in spots.. Saddle before the last climb has great views of San Luis Peak.
North Cochetopa Pass (10,149). Information signs. Fantastic descent for the first few miles then most of the way into Saguache. Views of Blanca and Little Bear 14ers to the south. Mainly 2 lane road with very light traffic, better surface.
Buffalo Pass - campground several miles off the road.
Saguache, yipee great ride. A couple of cafes at the intersection and a motel 1.5 mile south of town and hotel.
Saguache - Creede
Day 2: Creede -
Day 3: Lake City -
Day 4: Gunnison -