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Argentine Pass Route Description

The ride begins near the Silver Plume depot of the Georgetown Loop Railroad - Check out the web page for some great history on the area.

The first 4 miles of this railroad grade alternate between 4WD roads and singletrack. While the terrain is relatively smooth and the grade is gradual, because of the number of side trails it can be a navigational challenge. So, remember to watch your odometer and try to stay on what seems like a gradual railroad grade.

Ride west from your vehicle to the first switchback at about 0.4 miles - This is where the route leaves the valley floor and starts climbing the side of Leavenworth Mountain.

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If you're fortunate enough to be here at the right time of the year, you will find yourself riding under a canopy of turning aspens, over a carpet of golden leaves. The route climbs through the forest, and passes the remains of a few mining operations. At about 1.8 miles, near an old mine, is the second switchback.

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This next section of the trail is singletrack. At a point that appears to have been the site of an old trestle, the trail drops quickly into a gully and climbs back out again - you may have to walk your bike here. At about 2.2 miles, watch for the third switchback on your left. Once you make this one, your pathfinding duties get much easier... Continue following the railroad grade - at about 3.0 miles, you will come to an old chimney at Pavilion Point. This is all that remains of a dance pavilion that once stood here.

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From here, the route levels off for a while as it contours around the east side of the mountain. The hillside is very steep here and offers a spectacular view of the valley below.

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At about 3.9 miles, the route joins Forest Service Road 248 as it climbs up from the valley below. This road is open to vehicles, so you will likely encounter some traffic. Follow this road as it climbs towards the townsite of Waldorf. Just after rising above timberline, at about 9.2 miles, you will reach the remains of Waldorf. This area offers some spectacular views of the alpine meadows and surrounding peaks.

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At this point, you have some choices. The railroad grade switchbacks off behind you and climbs up near the summit of McClellan Mountain after about 5 miles. There are many roads criss-crossing the area, so take the map along to help you stay on course. (I'll add a description of this route option at some point...)

Your other option is to proceed up the jeep trail in front of you to Argentine Pass, which is the route I will describe.

Okay, I can't stress this enough - this jeep trail is STEEP - not to mention loose and rocky. If you start off on it in hopes that it will get easier, it won't. If you stick it out, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views and a great descent back down to Waldorf.

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After an arduous 2.3 miles, you will reach Argentine pass, with incredible views in all directions. The photo below looks west from the top of the pass - The prominent mountain is Gray's Peak, with the summit of Torrey's Peak barely visible behind and to the right. Return the way you came, and enjoy the ride!

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Last updated Monday, May 08, 2006, 09:09:22 AM, -0400