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CR3 - Birdseye Gulch(sh)

This shoulder summit is located on the Mosquito Pass approach from Leadville. The profile combines that road with another way down. This may be an attractive option, if exploring Mosquito Pass as an out and back ride / hike, but then opting for a change in scenery on the way down. However this alternate route is quite rough and rocky and requires a lot of walking. Even though it feels like this shoulder summit point is well down from Mosquito Pass, it is still located at above 12000 feet.
 

click on profile for more detail
1.(9670ft,mile07) START-END SOUTH: southern Turquoise Lake access road crosses Arkansas River, just south of Leadville Junction
2.(10150ft,mile) START-END SOUTH ALT. :jct Harrison Ave (the main street) - 7th Ave. , Leadville
3.(11190ft,mile) Diamond Mine; road becomes much rougher
4.(12050ft,mile) TOP: junction CR3 - Birdseye Gulch - track up Prospect Mountain
5.(10230ft,mile) START-END NORTH: jct Co91 between Leadville and Fremont Pass - Birdseye Gulch

Approaches

From South. The profile starts below Leadville at the Arkansas River, between Leadville and Turquoise Lake. 7th Ave west in Leadville leads up Evans Gulch to Mosquito Pass and this shoulder summit. You can also pick up Evans Gulch (also called CR3) from the Mineral Belt bike path. There is no sign, but the "exit" is at the Matchless Mine, at an easily recognizable spot where the path crosses a paved road on an elaborate bridge. Evans Gulch soon becomes a wide, steadily climbing dirt road, all the way to the Diamond Mine. Here the road seems to just lead into the mine, while the poor, little neglected county road has to swerve to the left and cross a gulch. The route from here on is very rocky, the kind that are part of the pavement, not the kind that roll about. Still a long portion is rideable, until it becomes really to steep, approaching the shoulder summit. At this point five tracks converge. The first three are obvious, the fourth is a steep track up Prospect Mountain to the east (not shown on any maps that I have seen) and the fifth one is a short cut coming down from a a switchback of the Mosquito Pass Road.


From North. (described downwards) The way down starts out steep and rocky, and it gets worse more often than it ever gets better, or to put it less obtusely, it just gets worse. Even in the end of August, the double track crosses wet and muddy sections, and the lower part contains several stream crossings. To the right the adjacent mighty wall of the Mosquito Range seems to dwarf the rest of  the scenery more and more. Many years ago, when I rode this route the first time, several car wrecks were permanently stuck along this route. They have since been removed (I wonder how). When you cross the railroad tracks of the Leadville tourist train, you are close to the pavement. As the gulch approaches the pavement it takes one more detour to the north.

Approaching this point from the other direction, the turnoff has no signs and is difficult to find. It is located about 5.5 miles past the junction of the roads to Tennesee Pass and Fremont Pass, just past a single house on the right and where the powerline crosses the road.


Picture Locations: top: leaving Leadville on 7th Ave., Evans Gulch bound, middle: road leading up to shoulder summit with Mosquito Pass road visible on background ridge. bottom: Evans Gulch is towards back left, Birdseye Gulch is the straight line leaving towards the right.


Dayrides.

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED / DOUBLE TRACK HIKE AND BIKE

CR3-Birdseye Gulch(sh): jct: southern access Rd to Turquoise Lake - Arkansas River Crossing > Leadville <> out and back towards Fremont Pass, fruitlessly looking for the access route up Birdseye Gulch [this is about 16 miles of the total] >> up Evans Gulch > CR3-Birdseye Gulch(sh) <> out and back to the top of Mosquito Pass >> down Birdseye Gulch > Co 91 south > Leadville > back to starting point: 41.1miles with 3880ft of climbing in 5:08hours (VDO MC1.0 m3:11.8.31 t11_6).
Notes: A planned bike and hike to the top of Mosquito Peak was scrapped because of a weather conditions.