Squaw Pass to Idaho Springs via Little Bear Creek Road is a perfect route on a hot summer day. We hit elevations of 9,800ft and a large portion of the route is shaded.
Little Bear Creek gravel road off of Squaw Pass is a great alternative way to bike to Idaho springs without having to go all the way to Echo Lake.
Even if you’re a native Coloradan, the mountain views never get old. There were many magnificent views of Rocky Mountains.
Little Bear Creek road condition was a dream for any gravel biker. There were minimal washboards and it was mostly smooth and packed gravel.
Because we got an early start, we had zero cars pass us on the gravel section on the way to Idaho Springs and a whopping total of 10 cars on the way back up. Yay gravel!
Coincidentally, we saw a herd of Elk in Elk Meadows Open Space Park at the base of Squaw Pass (however did they come up with that name??!!?).
This route is a climbers paradise. (Some of the climbing was pavement and some on gravel.) Grand total elevation gain on this ride was of 5,000ft.
Squaw Pass Road is newly paved and smooth, so the 10 miles or so descent is fast and fun way to finish the day!
We really had to think hard to find a low for this ride. The one bummer was that an offshoot gravel portion that we had planned on Sinton road ended up not being much gravel and we would recommend skipping that portion of the route.
Do this ride if you love climbing on gravel and you also enjoy the speed of a beautifully paved and long descent.(Due to the high elevation of Squaw Pass we recommend this ride between late June and early October. We imagine Little Bear Creek road is snowy and muddy at other times.)
This ride is a great example of why gravel bikes were made and why gravel biking is exploding right now. Our bikes are light and fast enough to go up the paved sections of Squaw Pass, yet sturdy enough to endure the gravel sections on Little Bear Creek Road. Because our bikes could easily do both, we were able to have an adventure finding a *new* way to get to Idaho Springs.
It’s the reality of the internet and google maps that things aren’t always as they seem! Although all online resources are a great place to start to map out rides, you never know what will truly be out there. Our resources indicated that Sinton road was gravel but when we biked it, we unfortunately discovered that a large portion is now newly paved.
Due to the high elevation of Squaw Pass we recommend this ride between late June and early October. We imagine Little Bear Creek road is snowy and muddy at other times.
Idaho Springs is the halfway point of this gravel ride and it an ideal spot to grab some extra food, water and a bathroom stop.
We started this ride from Buchanan Park Recreation Center where there is plenty of public parking and a bathroom. Bergen Park is also nearby and makes for an easy start for this ride.