Summit County Bike Trails: Shrine Pass and beyond
August 15, 2016
Starting from Vail Pass, this hiking and mountain biking route provides a good exploration of the Shrine Pass area and its peak-filled vistas.
Know Before You Go: Some of the riding is at or above timberline, so be prepared for changing weather conditions. The first couple of miles of Shrine Pass Road are good for families, except on weekends when vehicle traffic can be heavy.
Parking: Drive west on I-70 to Vail Pass. Turn off at exit 190, cross over the interstate and park at the rest area. (This ride is also easily accessed from Copper Mountain by riding up the paved recpath.)
Description: Follow the dirt road for Shrine Pass/Redcliff that climbs above the parking lot. Ascend gradually along this well-maintained route to the high point at 1.7 miles. Descend, passing the Shrine Mountain Inn access road on the left. (Novices may want to turn-around here.) This lodge offers overnight accommodations with reservations. Continue dropping past a scenic viewpoint to a major three-way junction at 4 miles. Turn right onto Lime Creek Road and start climbing. (Shrine Pass Road continues for several miles down to Redcliff.) Turn left at the next junction (the right fork dead-ends) and begin about 4 miles of contouring along the south side of a ridge. This smooth dirt road follows rolling terrain and offers occasional glimpses into the Holy Cross Wilderness. At about 8 miles the road curves right. A log-lined pullout on the left near a gated side road marks this spot, which offers outstanding peak-filled views to the southwest. Although Lime Creek Road continues, eventually connecting again with Shrine Pass Road, it gets much more rugged and is suitable only for advanced riders wanting a long, challenging loop. Otherwise, this is the turn-around point; return as you came.