After riding from Denver, we'll start this essay in the town of Bergen Park, Colorado, identified on the map above. I'm riding a bike from my collection, a 1981 Suzuki GS250T. This might seem an unlikely mount for such a trip but it handles the high elevations well, is easy to ride, runs perfectly and besides, I enjoy riding it! As a footnote, a long time friend in Denver completed the same trip in the late 1960's riding a 1965 Suzuki K-11 80cc, likely the smallest displacement machine ever to have completed the trip from Denver. I subsequently purchased this machine and it was in my collection for a number of years before being sold in 2016.
The first photo shows the beginning of Colorado Route 103, otherwise known as the Squaw Pass road. This winding mountain road travels from Bergen Park to Idaho Springs, Colorado and is 32 miles (51.5km) in length. We'll ride Highway 103 eighteen miles (29km) up to Echo Lake where it intersects with Colorado Route 5, the Mt. Evans road.
In 1918 the Squaw Pass road was constructed from Bergen Park to Echo Lake. Ten years later, in 1928, the Squaw Pass road was completed from Echo Lake down to Idaho Springs, elevation 7524ft (2293 meters). Before reaching Idaho Springs the road parallels Chicago Creek, site of early gold discoveries in 1859.
In 1920 the Colorado state highway commission began surveys to continue another road 14 miles (23km) from Echo Lake to the summit of Mt. Evans. Construction began in 1922 and during this first year 4 miles (6.5km) were completed. More funds were appropriated to continue construction of the road in 1923 and by 1924 the road reached Summit Lake, elevation 12830ft (3911 meters).
Construction of the Mt. Evans road continued and by 1930, nearly 8 years after construction had begun, the road was completed to the 14130ft (4307 meter) elevation mark which would become the end of the road. Construction was hampered by constant winds and adverse weather conditions. Snow drifts of 20ft (6 meters) or more had to be removed each spring.
Completed in 1941, a Crest House was constructed atop Mt. Evans. The Crest House offered hot drinks, pastries, souvenirs and shelter to visitors on the mountain. This unique structure took 2 summers to build and unfortunately was destroyed by fire almost 40 years later. After much debate, it was decided not to rebuild the structure. Today, only the stone walls remain.
The Mt. Evans road is paved in its entirety and seldom busy, making for a relatively easy albeit breathtaking ride. The recently renovated parking area even has spaces designated for motorcycle parking!
At our starting point here in Bergen Park we've traveled approximately 25 miles (40km) from my home in Denver, Colorado and have gained about 2440 ft. (744 meters) in elevation. The elevation at this point is 7801 ft (2378 meters).
Route 103 (Squaw Pass) and Route 5 (Mt. Evans Road) are popular with bicycle riders and make for a great bike ride!