This Elbert Gravel route is The High Plains Gravel Grinder short course route. They did rides in 2018 and 2019, but had to cancel in 2020 due to Covid-19.
This forty-mile Elbert Gravel route is blissfully quiet. You bike past well-maintained farms, lots of cute cows and will see very little car traffic. (The cars and trucks that did pass gave us plenty of room and most gave a friendly wave.)
Overall, the roads are in great condition. All of the roads on this route are more sandy than rocky but the road surface is generally smooth and fast (except in the last few miles).
The elevation and mileage will be approachable for many riders. None of the climbs are very long or terribly steep, but there are lots of fun rolling hills where the momentum of one downhill takes you up the next uphill.
We saw lots of wildlife: Deer, an enormous herd of Antelope, Cool Hairy Highland Cattle (Laura says they looks like regular cows dressed up for Halloween like hippies! 🤣)
The last 6 miles of road was a bit rough with deeper sand and washboards on the right side of the road. (You ride out on a portion of this same road, but the other side is much smoother. Since there is so little traffic, we would cross over to the smoother side, but it didn’t feel that safe to do for long stretches.)
The width of our 700×35 Panaracer GravelKing SK+ managed the sand fairly well, but those washboards are brain-rattling regardless.
Do this ride if you are looking to do some good gravel miles south of Denver in the Fall and Winter months. The route is not crazy hard and is really enjoyable!
This ride is ideal for fall and winter. There is lots of exposure/little shade, but it was pretty sweet when we did it on a 70º late fall day!
There is very little out there besides lots of cows- bring all the water and fuel you need to keep you going for 40 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.