— PUSH PLAY —
Huerfano County in South-Central Colorado is home to Walsenburg, La Veta, Cuchara and Gardner... four small towns at the base of the Spanish Peaks and a hidden gem in the world of gravel cycling.
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On a frosty day late November, Erica and Gerow put their wheels on the ground to give our Shingle Bolt route a spin. Here is a quick recap from our correspondence...
"The permit was super easy to purchase online," said Erica. "I had ventured into that zone in the Summertime before, I honestly didn't know you needed one before reading the update on your route update. I received the file as soon as paid online... $75 was a bit steep, but it's good till the end of July 2024, so... whatever. Many more adventures to come! The drive into Acme was beautiful and parking was easy. The ride up Mosquito Lake Road is a good warm-up with a hill off the bat, and then more gradual, rolling hills through some beautiful backwoods. When we prepared for the ride and looked at the elevation... we knew it was going to be an epic day in the backyard. In the first part of the route, you cross a cool single-lane trestle bridge, and then a few more miles down the logging section of the road, you pass a few creeks and come to the gated bridge at the forest boundary. The gravel road was in great shape, a little chunky in spots, but smooth riding.
Similar to most of these mountain roads, 29x2.25" tires are what I ride, and what I would recommend for anyone visiting. The climb after the gate gets a little more consistent and is about 2,500 vert over 5 miles with great views of the North Twin, as well as Baker. Towards the back end of the route (facing Blue Mountain and the San Juan Islands) We saw (and smelled) some freshly cut timber, reminding us this is a working forest, but we did not see any trucks (also being a Sunday). After a long, easy-to-follow descent, we reached the valley that split off into the shortcut back to Mosquito Lake Road, or up to Blue Mountain. The climb up out of the valley definitely had some steep spots, which was the crux of the day, but much appreciated to get the circulation going again. We encountered a yellow gate on the way out leaving the permit area, but it was easy to get around. Riding down past the creek, eagles fishing in the grotto below, we were stoked to have some flat farmland to get even more expansive views. After a short pedal along the valley highway, we stopped at the Acme store and grabbed some snacks and whisky to warm back up. The Cafe looked pretty good too!
We enjoyed a lot of sun on this ride, but there were a few cold sections that we were happy to have merino layers and warm gloves for. Looking forward to heading back here in the summer, It's such a beautiful spot! Thanks team for creating the Bellingham Field Guide, it's been a cool reference to get inspired by. "
_Gravel Adventure Field Guide would like to thank Visit Bellingham for working with us on this field guide. We are having a great time exploring this gigantic, pristine north-western corner of the United States. It's a magnificent area to have a gravel adventure. —Enjoy the ride.
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