The Lake City Alpine 50 Endurance Mountain/Gravel Bike Race starts in beautiful Lake City, Colorado, a small mining town located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains at 8,671 feet, and will follow the iconic Alpine Loop back to Lake City. The race distance will be a little over fifty miles and will include over 7,500 vertical feet of climbing. The race will head south out of Lake City on Highway 149 to some fun single track traversing the Lake City Ski Hill.
The single track will continue along the Lake to Lake trail above Vickers Ranch and will head by the Legacy Lodge before exiting onto Hinsdale County Road 30 leading to Lake San Cristobal. Lake City’s namesake was formed by a rare natural earthflow called the Slumgullion Slide, which blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, creating the second-largest natural lake in Colorado and one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire state of Colorado.
After about four miles, the course will then head onto Hinsdale County Road 33, a dirt road located on the East side of Lake San Cristobal. Be on the lookout for moose, osprey, and bald eagles as the sun starts to cast its rays across this gorgeous lake. Crossing the bridge over the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River, the course heads back on Hinsdale County Road 30 skirting the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River for the next approximately sixteen miles before the climbing starts to get tough. Along the way, you will pass by three 14,000-foot peaks (Handies, Sunshine, and Redcloud) and various abandoned mining towns (Carson, Sherman, and Burrows Park). You will also catch views of American Basin, a stunning wildflower wonderland and one of the most photographed places in Colorado. For the next two miles, your lungs will be tested as you approach the top of 12,640-foot Cinnamon Pass.
You will then descend from Cinnamon Pass for about two miles into Animas Forks (11,200 feet), a ghost town, but once a bustling mining town and one of the highest mining camps in the Western United States. After Animas Forks, for the next four miles you will ascend the steep backside of Engineer Pass (12,800) before making a nearly nineteen-mile fast descent along Henson Creek, which includes passing through another ghost town, Capitol City (named because its founder had hopes of the town becoming the capital of Colorado), Nellie Creek (which leads up to 14,016-foot Wetterhorn Peak), the once booming Ute-Ulay Mine and Mill, and then back to Lake City to finish the race in Lake City’s Town Park.