Arapahoe Basin Bike Guide: Lenawee Trail
The Lenawee Trail has one of the shortest seasons of any mountain bike trail in Summit County. However that doesn’t keep it from becoming a favorite for everyone who rides it. Located on the backside of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, the Lenawee Trail descends from an oxygen-deprived 12,500 feet through rocky Alpine singletrack to Peru Creek Road more than 2,000 feet below. This is a must-do summer ride for any rider looking to get well above tree line and earn their descent. — Camden Latimer, Rocky Mountain Bicycles
This story previously published in the 2020 edition of the Explore Summit Bike Guide.
Due to its high-Alpine setting, the Lenawee Trail is not typically snow-free until July. (Keep in mind Arapahoe Basin is sometimes open for skiing and snowboarding on the Fourth of July.)
High-Alpine environments come with unpredictable weather, and it’s a good idea to bring an extra layer even on the hottest of summer days. Afternoon thunderstorms roll through without much warning, so start this ride in the morning. From Peru Creek, many hikers enjoy the Lenawee Trail for the same reasons mountain bikers do. As bikers descend from the top of Arapahoe Basin, they are asked to keep an eye out for hikers and yield to uphill traffic.
The Lenawee Trail is best done as a shuttle with two vehicles. Meet at Keystone Resort and leave a vehicle in the Hunki Dori or River Run lots to start. Drive up U.S. Highway 6 toward Loveland Pass to Arapahoe Basin, and start the climb up the Argentine North Fork Trail. This wonderful singletrack climb will bring you to the top of the Black Mountain Express chairlift where riders will join the road.
Dig deep and power up the road to the top where the Lenawee and the Montezuma Bowl chairlifts meet. Catch your breath and soak in the views before riding south into the ski area’s backside and the Lenawee descent. The upper section is exposed and very rocky. All the rock gardens are well built and rideable, but walking them is always an option if you are unsure. Below the initial rock garden, enjoy a flowy Alpine singletrack before entering the forest where more rocks await. The trail is fast, technical, and some sections are always wet.
Distance: 12.5 miles
Time: 3 hours round-trip
Elevation: 1,800 feet of ascent, 3,000 feet of descent
Connectors: Argentine North Fork, Peru Creek Road
Parking: Keystone Resort Hunki Dori or River Run lots
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