St. Elmo: Ride 37 - Alpine Tunnel to Tin Cup Road Loop
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To appreciate this ride more, think of it as two-thirds mountain biking and onethird adventure. Though there might be more hike-a-bike than you like, traversing the seldom-accessed span of the Continental Divide Trail to Tunnel Lake is a unique experience that few will know.
Start with an easy, scenic pedal up to the Alpine Tunnel. Along the way, you’ll pass historic mining sites, interpretive signs, and stunning views of Tunnel Gulch. As you start the climb above the tunnel, however, the fun really begins. The next few miles will be a mix of hike-a-bike, route finding, and classic singletrack riding. Once you pass the last ridge, the downhill is pure bliss. End by zipping back to St. Elmo along the Tin Cup Pass Road, a rough jeep track with fast lines between the rocks.
This is a popular area for ATVs, jeeps, and motorcycles. Be prepared to share the road.
Ride length: 17.3 miles
Ride type: loop (clockwise)
Riding time: 3 hours
Surface: jeep road (9.9 miles); singletrack (4.4 miles); wide trail (3.0 miles)
Elevations: start/end 9,980’; max 12,340’; min 9,980’
Total climbing: gain/loss 2,500’
Aerobic level: strenuous (if you clean these steeps, then everything is easy for you!)
Technical level: 4 (some rocks, ruts, and roots; expect some walking)
Season: July into October
USGS Quadrangles: St. Elmo, Cumberland Pass