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Jones Pass to Herman Gulch

Difficult
 4.8 (22) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An epic, above-tree-line traverse south on the CDT from Jones Pass to the Herman Gulch trailhead.


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Map Key

9.8

Miles

15.8

KM

95%

Singletrack

13,205' 4,025 m

High

10,306' 3,141 m

Low

1,810' 552 m

Up

3,229' 984 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

35%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

A snowfield lingers much, if not all, of the summer on top of Jones Pass preventing motor vehicles, and presenting quite a challenge for bikers to get over.

Overview

One of the most spectacular, moderately accessible, often ignored, above tree line singletrack rides you'll ever find! The views off the CDT are unrivaled, and the feeling of being on top of the world is unlike any other.

Fitness and experience pushing/carrying your bike up rocky trails is crucial. The only drawback is that this trail is built and maintained for hiking, so biking it presents many rock challenges throughout.

Need to Know

Be prepared for high alpine exposure with no bailouts other than to turn back - this is extreme, self-supported riding on top of the world! This route could be ridden either direction, but a sense of fun would tell you to ride it in a southerly direction. Leave a car at the Herman Gulch trailhead west of Georgetown, CO on I-70.

Description

There are multiple excellent places along the Jones Pass Rd off Highway 40 west of Empire before the first switchback on Berthoud Pass to camp and start this ride from. Continue following the Jones Pass Road as camping options present themselves nearly all the way to the top. A shuttle is necessary to complete the ride, or you could ride the road...

Jones Pass Road is miles of flat, then some steep twisting, smooth jeep road. It has excellent views of the West Fork Clear Creek drainage. Tons of camping and parking options along the whole road, nearly all the way to the top.

A ride to the top and back is possible with a great payoff at the apex. For others, continue south on the Continental Divide Trail, riding, pushing and carry your bike as necessary. At its high point, you'll be at 13,209 feet.

The second half of this journey is more or less all downhill. From the divide, pristine singletrack awaits you with very little foot traffic! Unbelievable views, scenery, and trail unfolds until the junction with the Herman Gulch Trail. Turn left to finish the downhill run to the second car (that you left there the night before). This section of trail is very popular for hiking and especially families. It's quite rooty and rocky, but rides very well!

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom McKim

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 22 votes

#1

in Georgetown

#459

Overall
  4.8 from 22 votes
5 Star
77%
4 Star
23%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Georgetown

#113

in Colorado

#459

Overall
51 Views Last Month
18,778 Since Aug 28, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
81%
19%

Photos

Some rocky tech found along the divide
Sep 17, 2018 near Winter…, CO
Brown Pow at 13,000 feet!
Sep 17, 2018 near Georgetown, CO
Sucking air along the continental divide with Pettingell Peak looming above in the background
Sep 16, 2018 near Georgetown, CO
Six different false summit grunts before you top out on Hassell Peak
Sep 16, 2018 near Georgetown, CO
Rippin' the first sustained decent of the ride!
Aug 28, 2015 near Georgetown, CO
Every push up the trail, led to a rippin' decent of some sort.
Aug 28, 2015 near Georgetown, CO

Weather


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Check-Ins

Aug 12, 2020
Ryan Suhm
Started at the mine up to the pass then across 5200 + in elevation gain. 19mi
Aug 10, 2020
Brian Baker
The trail is completely dry and gorgeous! There is still a small cornice to overcome if you're coming up from Jones Pass Road.
Oct 17, 2019
Brian P
I drove up Jones pass and parked about a mile from the CDT. Snow on trail but still accessible. I biked for about 2 miles reaching 12,500 ft befo… 4.2mi
Sep 16, 2018
Chuck McQuade
Aug 26, 2018
Royce Short
No snow, windy. Bust at Herman’s.
Aug 25, 2018
Katie Purdy
13mi
Aug 25, 2018
Rich Purdy
Aug 10, 2018
Kevin Boicourt
9.9mi