We love this area if you haven’t noticed, and we already have several variations on this route available. What is new about THIS route is the exploration of the Rowena single track trails and roads between Left Hand Canyon and Sunshine Canyon (technically, County Road 83J and County Road 83).
See the other route variations here:
Four Mile Canyon and Switzerland Trail to Sugarloaf
Four MIle Canyon and Swizerland Trail to Gold Hill
Switzerland Trail to Sawmill Rd and Cottonwood & Lobo trails
No more construction in Four Mile Canyon! The first few miles of Four Mile Canyon before you hit the dirt is a pristine, new road.
Riding with friends always makes it that much more enjoyable, especially on long climbs when you can chat and get distracted from your tired legs.
Exploring new trails & roads in familiar areas and being able to connect roads in different ways is always a joy.
The Rowena single track and County road 83 were particularly peaceful and got us into the woods and away from cars. Ahhhh. Who doesn’t love that?
In general, this is a very scenic route. There are many challenging sections where you have to pay careful attention to the road surface, but each time you look up you are rewarded with awe inspiring, beautiful views!
There is not much of a warm up at the beginning of this route. You’ll get to climbing just as soon as you start pedaling!
It had rained pretty hard the night before and the Switzerland trail had a little more wet, loose and sandy mud than usual. (I, Laura, might have slid out and banged my knee and ankle in one of those sections…but I am fine.)
Do this ride if (like the other route variations we’ve done) you want a challenging long climb with mixed road surfaces and some technical challenges. The combination of narrow track and technical rocky terrain in the Rowena single track section makes this an “advanced ride”, but if you’ve done some single track before and don’t mind hopping on and off your bike when you find the rock gardens, this is a great adventuresome route!
Beside the Mount Sanitas Trailhead, there are not many bathrooms or services out there. Gold Hill (at about mile 20) does have a general store and they have prepared food, coffee and beer!
The Switzerland trail and the Rowena single track is rugged and technical in places. We rode this route with our typical 700x35cm Panaracer Gravelking SK+ Tires (set up tubeless and pumped to about 30-40 psi) and had no problems. At the same time, we could have been more comfortable on a slightly wider tire.
We probably had to get off our bikes a total of 6 or so times to get over rock garden sections. The total amount of walking with the bike was just a few feet.
We parked on the street in the neighborhood around Mapleton and 5th. You could also park up the road just a bit at the Mount Sanitas Trailhead where there is both a parking lot and public bathrooms.