This Second Elbert Gravel route is the first half of The High Plains Gravel Grinder long course route. If you want to ride the full long course, combine this route with our Elbert Gravel Route (Part 1) for a 72-mile route.
(The High Plains Gravel Grinder did rides in 2018 and 2019, but had to cancel in 2020 due to Covid-19. 🦠)
Like our other Elbert route, this ride is incredibly peaceful and quiet. Expect to see very little car traffic and generally friendly drivers. The scenery is unique, and although the mountain views are not as majestic as routes on the western side of I-25, there are incredible wide-open views and rolling hills where you can see for miles.
There are a few punchy hills that hit grades of up to 14%, but they are short and there are just as many fun down hills to balance things out.
We saw several deer bounding across the road in front of us as well as a huge herd of beautiful Antelope.
The roads on this route are rather sandy. There ARE washboards but because it is sandy, they are not as brutal on the body as washboards on harder packed dirt. Also, because there is so little car traffic, you can generally find a line to avoid the worst lumps and bumps.
Do this ride if you want to ride a traditional intermediate route in the beauty of the Colorado eastern plains. There are challenges (a little sandy in spots, or some steep, short grades) but they are all do-able with minimal technical skill.
This ride is ideal for fall and winter since there is lots of exposure/little shade. We did it on a 50º mid-November day and we were pretty comfortable with long sleeve thermal jerseys, vests and long-finger gloves, but the cloud cover and wind-chill made it feel cool! Always look at the weather and be prepared with extra layers.
There are no services on this route so bring all the hydration and fuel you will need to keep you going for about 35 miles.
We started this route from the Elbert School Track and Ball fields parking lot. It was about an hour drive from downtown Denver. No bathrooms that we could find there.
Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.