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Switzerland Trail / Pennsylvania Gulch Loop

Switzerland Trail / Pennsylvania Gulch Loop


Page Type: Trail

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 40.02945°N / 105.40592°W

Trail Type: Cross Country

County: Boulder

Technical Difficulty: Easy

Aerobic Difficulty: Medium

Layout: Loop

Elevation Gain: 1650 ft / 503 m

Length: 9.9 Mi / 15.9 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Chris

Created/Edited: Oct 16, 2007 / Oct 17, 2007

Object ID: 262535

Hits: 8783 

Page Score: 75.75%  - 6 Votes 

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The Switzerland Trail / Pennsylvania Gulch Loop is a non-technical ride on dirt and jeep roads in western Boulder County. This loop makes an excellent training ride (or run). It features a stout climb up the Pennsylvania Gulch jeep road.

The Switzerland trail is most of the historical Switzerland railroad grade. The old Switzerland Railroad connected Boulder to several mountain towns, including Ward, Nederland, and Eldora. Due to repeated flash floods, the rail grade was soon abandoned. What's left makes a great non-technical but aerobic riding and running route.

From the parking area at the base of Sugarloaf mountain, take the time to do the short hike to the top of Sugarloaf mountain. The views are stunning! It's well worth the 0.5 mile hike and 500' of elevation gain.

Trail Description

From the Sugarloaf parking area:

Take the Switzerland road north from the parking area. You'll begin a long gradual downhill that will eventually bring you to the tiny mountain hamlet of Sunset at mile 3.7. During the descent, the views across the Fourmile Creek drainage are awesome. At mile 3.7, take a left onto the Pennsylvania Gulch Road and begin climbing. This road climbs (steeply and sometimes rocky) back up to the Switzerland Road at mile 5.6. Turn left on the Switzerland road and follow it back to your car at mile 9.9.

0.0 - Parking area at the base of Sugarloaf. Ride north.
3.7 - Town of Sunset, Penn Gulch Rd, left on Penn Gulch
5.6 - Switzerland Road, left turn
9.9 - Parking area, end of ride

Note: Do not park anywhere in the town of Sunset! They will tow your car if you do.

Getting There

From Boulder (Canyon/Hwy 119 and Broadway):

Take Canyon west for 5.1 miles, up Boulder Canyon, to Sugarloaf road. Turn right on Sugarloaf and climb approx 5 miles to Sugarloaf Mountain Road. Turn right and climb about 1 mile to a parking area at the junction of the Switzerland trail, at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.

When to Bike

This can be ridden year-round as the snow permits. It's supposed to make a good x-country ski when snow-covered.