MTB Project Logo

Switzerland Trail Gold Hill Road Loop

Intermediate
 2.6 (8) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A scenic loop on an old rail grade offering moderate climbs and spectacular mountain views.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

25.3

Miles

40.7

KM

5%

Singletrack

9,344' 2,848 m

High

7,728' 2,356 m

Low

1,949' 594 m

Up

1,948' 594 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

15%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

This ride combines the moderate grades and rocky, sandy surface of the Switzerland Trail, a former narrow gauge rail grade - now jeep road, with the smooth packed dirt and bigger climbs of Gold Hill Road to close the loop.

The rail grade has many spectacular views of Fourmile Canyon and the Continental Divide as it traverses the valley. A short segment of pavement on Peak to Peak Highway completes the loop.

Need to Know

Services can be found in Nederland a few miles south on Peak to Peak Highway.

Description

Park at the USFS Sourdough Trailhead parking lot on CR #116. Ride back out and then right and south about two miles on the Peak to Peak Highway, then turn left onto Switzerland Trail. There is an extended gradual downhill on this jeep road all the way to Fourmile Creek. Stay left when you come to the Sugarload Trailhead parking area to keep on Switzerland Trail.

The trail crosses Fourmile Creek at CR #118, passing through a few houses, then begins to climb back out of the canyon. The climb is gradual, this being a former rail grade, but you'll have to pick your lines between embedded rocks at times. The trail levels out near a large chimney and picnic area, the lone remnant of a former day lodge.

Not long after this, the trail crosses Gold Hill Road. You can shortcut the last bit of Switzerland Trail by turning left here, avoiding a narrower, wetter part of the trail, but I prefer to continue on Switzerland Trail until it intersects Sawmill Road later. Sawmill Road cuts through Switzerland Trail, requiring a short, but steep and loose hike-a-bike up the embankment.

Turn left onto Sawmill Road and climb up and over the ridge to the intersection with Gold Hill Road. Turn right onto Gold Hill Road and continue over its many deceptively steep climbs to the intersection with Peak to Peak Highway. You can ride pavement all the way back to Sourdough Trailhead parking by turning left on the highway, but I like to drop the small trail at the back of the parking lot at the intersection, descend through a dispersed camping area, and follow FS #328 across the Fourmile Creek valley, then up the other side to reduce time on pavement.

There is another short hike-a-bike climbing the embankment back onto Peak to Peak Highway. Turn left on the highway and ride a short distance to turn right on CR #116 and back to your car.

History & Background

The Switzerland Trail was once the C&N railroad connecting the mining towns of Eldora, Nederland, and Ward with Boulder. As mining declined, attempts were made to make it a scenic railroad, and local tourists rode it on outings to the mountains.The remnants of a massive fire place along the Switzerland Trail mark the site of a former day lodge. In the early 1900s, a flood washed out many trestles and the line closed.

Contacts

Shared By:

jeff parker

Trail Ratings

  2.6 from 8 votes

#4

in Nederland

#3559

Overall
  2.6 from 8 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
38%
2 Star
13%
1 Star
25%
Recommended Route Rankings

#4

in Nederland

#477

in Colorado

#3,559

Overall
39 Views Last Month
3,486 Since Jul 8, 2020
Intermediate

0%
14%
86%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

The trail is "Technically" Closed here....I didn't have the time or energy to bypass...
Jun 13, 2021 near Nederland, CO
Do it for the views!
Jun 29, 2015 near Nederland, CO
Nederland Is out there somewhere.
Jun 13, 2021 near Nederland, CO
Gated mine exit at campsite along Fourmile Creek.
Jul 8, 2020 near Nederland, CO
The scenery from the Switzerland Trail is amazing!
Jun 10, 2017 near Nederland, CO
The Divide from Gold Hill Road.
Jul 8, 2020 near Nederland, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 99 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Aug 20, 2022
Loren D
Parked at Sugarloaf Mtn Trailhead, rode CCW. Very rocky but nothing technical, great views of the area between Left Hand and Boulder Creek canyons. 23.1mi — 2h 42m
Aug 28, 2021
Jodie Pait
Jul 9, 2021
Rich Kelly
24mi — 3h 32m
Jun 13, 2021
Dylan Hill
Started just south of ward. Climbed the Sawmill road. 25.3mi — 2h 52m
May 31, 2021
James Torgerson
Sep 26, 2020
Maribeth Olsen
With carley and yams 22mi — 3h 00m
Jul 25, 2020
B Hubler
Got lost near where the Switzerland trail ends. Confusing because the sign says "dead end" and it's not clear which direction to go on the other route 25.3mi — 5h 30m