Mount Princeton Gravel Route

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Location:
Buena Vista, CO
Date Published:
September 28, 2020
Distance:
48.80
mi
Elevation:
4173
ft
Gravel Ratio:
70% G / 30% P
Difficulty Rating:
⛰⛰⛰⛰
Enjoyability Rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Download GPX File
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Highs:

The road to Mount Princeton Hot Springs and St. Elmo, was popular for leaf-peepers, but CR 292 allowed us to get off the main road and away from traffic. Although it had a few challenging sections (no more than 100 ft of 2-3 hike-a-bikes), it was well worth it to get close to Alpine lake.

After St Elmo’s, you’ll hop on CR 295 for a fantastic 5 miles before the turnaround point. It’s rare to find miles of a perfect 3%-5% gradient on a gravel road and this was it! It gave us the opportunity to really enjoy the mountains views with the changing fall aspen trees without struggling up a steep hill.

The descent on CR 162 (Chalk Creek Drive) was fast and fun. The road is hard packed dirt that rode like a pavement.

Lows:

There was higher than usual traffic on CR 162 going up to St. Elmo since it was the peak Aspen leaf changing weekend. (It is a Colorado conundrum- wanting to enjoy the leaves but having to contend with everyone else doing the same…)

The paved section of CR 162 had some unexpected steep grades (18%!!) that was a challenge early on in the ride.

Do this ride if you want a terrific out-and-back gravel route with a fun ghost-town stop in St. Elmo and terrific views of Mount Princeton.

Other Notes:

We noticed public bathrooms at the Iron City Campground (around mile 19), and there is a general store in St. Elmo if you need water or snacks.

There is a small foot-traffic only section through the ghost-town that connects to CR 295. We enjoyed taking our time and walking through this area (which is not bikeable even if you wanted to!)

CR 292 is the only real road with technical sections. If this is not your jam, just stay on CR 162 all the way to St. Elmo.

The route takes you right past Mount Princeton Hot Springs, so you could easily make this a stop on your ride, or plan to stay there for the weekend.

We were camping and started this ride from our dispersed camping site, which was just a stones throw from the “Brown’s Creek Trail Head”. If you wanted to cut off a few miles (about 16), you could start near the Mount Princeton Hot Springs, which was along the route.

Driving Directions

Route Contributor

Laura & Rose

Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.

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