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Sugarloaf Pass


This is not an officially named pass or a water divide. The name appears on the route map for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. It refers to the FR105A crossing on the western and southern flank of Sugarloaf Mountain, south of Turquoise Lake. The race reaches a much higher elevation than this pass, but this is the highest two way summit in the race, meaning that it has two separate approaches. Since the race is an out and back race, participants cross this summit twice. This makes also a great bike ride if you take your time, possibly even better. The power line scenery may not be for everybody, but the riding is great.


click on profile for more detail
1.(9700ft,mile00) START-END NORTH: southern Turquoise Lake access road, crossing CR9, just east of railroad tracks and Arkansas River Crossing
2.(10240ft,mile05) FR105 diverts on left
3.(10560ft,mile07) profile turns hard left onto FR105A
4.(11160ft,mile09) TOP; profile between here and next point is an approximation.
5.(9570ft,mile13) START-END SOUTH: unmarked trailhead, near Lake Fork, north of Co300.


Approaches

From North. In order to maximize the elevation gain the profile starts at the low spot between Leadville and Turquoise Lake, just south of a place called Leadville Junction on some maps. The profile shows a direct approach to the pass, following the paved road on the southern side of the lake. The Leadville 100 race follows a longer course around the northern side. The profile turns of the lake shore road onto FR105, also the route towards Hagerman Pass. When FR105A turns off FR105, it doubles back towards the east, and becomes a much less used surface, but very rideable. It climbs up the western flank of Sugarloaf Mountain, together with the Grand Junction bound powerline that comes straight down from Hagerman Pass. The road tops out in a mixture of wilderness and forest harvest area. But there are great Sawatch Range views.

From South. (described downwards) Shortly after the summit a fork appears. To the right is a distinctive view of Mount Elbert. That's the way down. But going straight is also recommended. That option ends under the first power pole and gives a comprehensive view of the route ahead. After the initial swerve to the south, a smooth, easily bikeable, fairly wide path meanders through the clear cut for the power line, all the way to the bottom. This may not be post card material, but the riding is great, and in a country where horses have more rights than cyclists, I guess it'll have to do. Just kidding, it is really a nice ride. There is also a short uphill along the route, and then the steepest downhill is reserved for last. The road comes out on a county road north of Co300 at an unmarked intersection, though the duct taped arrow on the pavement may still be there. The best way to find it from this side is to head for the visible powerline cut. From a distance it is fairly obvious where the powerline comes down the mountain. The access road is just south to where this powerline parallels the road. Coming from the south, you travel on Co300, go by a fish hatchery. Then Co300 changes number into a county road, then you crest a small hill with a nice private residence on the left, and past that voila the turnoff is also on the left. But obviously going up the northern side is much easier to find.

 

Organized Rides

leadvilletrail100.com

Personal Dayride with this point as highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED:

Sugarloaf Pass , Mineral Belt bike path s(u) , additional out and back: jct FR105 - Turquoise Lake Rd > up FR105 > up FR105A > Sugarloaf Pass > various county roads and Co300 east to US24 <> out and back into Leadville for lunch > Stringtown > Mineral Belt bike path s(u) with several miles of out and backs at intersections > Leadville Junction <>  out and back CR48 > CR4 around southern side of Turquoise Lake back to starting point: 48.9miles with 3760ft of climbing in 4:44 hours (VDO MC1.0 m3:11.8.26).