MTB Project Logo

blue American Lakes

  4.6 ( 5 ) Favorite


11.6 mile 18.6 kilometer out and back
60% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,195' 364 m
Descent: -1,195' -364 m
High: 11,314' 3,449 m
Low: 10,263' 3,128 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by mattnorville Norv

A short tour up into the alpine and ends at the border of Rocky Mountain National Park.

mattnorville Norv

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Once you make it on top of Thunder Pass you need to turn around due to it bordering Rocky Mountain National Park.

I also believe dogs need to be on a leash.


A great out-n-back that brings you up above tree line. This area is busy in the summer and a popular backcountry skiing area in winter.

If traveling on the weekend you'll see plenty of hikers and some other bikers. The trail is eroded in some spots. Depending on the time of year there may be snow on the trail.

Need to Know

The last bit of the ride is above tree line so watch out for the typical afternoon thunder storm. It is also in the alpine area so be ready for quick changes in temperature and weather.


One of the few places you can ride bikes around Cameron Pass due to restrictions such as wilderness areas. The best way to start the wide is to park at the lot at the summit of the pass below Diamond Peak. This allows you to avoid paying for entrance.

Carefully, cross Hwy 14 to Michigan Ditch. There is usually a gate blocking the ditch road, ride around it. Continue along the gravel road until the turn off for American Lakes Trail turn off, turn left.

The trail will start to gain altitude by using contours and switchbacks and presents riders with water bars, roots, rocks, and even a wooden bridge over a creek. Once you get above tree line you are close to the lakes. This is a nice spot to refill water, eat a snack, or even go fishing. When you are ready, continue up the last bit to the summit of Thunder Pass.

On top of Thunder Pass enjoy the views into the forbidden land, RMNP. Get ready for the downhill, it will soon put a smile on your face! Head back the way you came.

Biked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Dogs Allowed, Features, E-Bikes Allowed, History & Background


Rate This Featured Ride

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Ride

Check In


Aug 5, 2018
Richard Hackett
Aug 3, 2017
Mike Gonzales
Flat Tire 8.5mi
Aug 14, 2016
David Asselin
With Michigan ditch closed I had to climb up from Colorado State forest (I have parks pass). The climb was work but very rideable. 12.4mi

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes


  4.6 from 5 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Featured Ride Rankings


in Colorado


178 Views Last Month
4,187 Since Sep 21, 2014
Intermediate Intermediate


MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter