Clear Creek County, Colorado
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Nearby Towns: Idaho Springs, Central City
Nearby Trails: Yankee Hill, Russell Gulch
Trail Length: 8.46 miles
Elevation: 7,581 to 9,383 feet
This is an extremely scenic road that connects Idaho Springs at I-70 to Central City near Highway 119. It is a combination of two trails. One is fairly easy for any vehicle, while the other is slightly more difficult.
You start in Idaho Springs on Virginia Canyon Road. If you continue to follow Virginia Canyon Road you will take the easiest route to Central City. It is smooth and wide in almost all places, and would be easy in a passenger car. The views are spectacular, and there is old mining equipment visible from the road.
There are four major intersections on the way to the top. Follow all signs to Central City to stay on the easiest route.
The first intersection has the easy road curving up and to the right, while the harder road continues straight following 2 Brothers Road. This section until the second intersection is not particularly difficult.
The second intersection is a 4-way intersection. The easy road continues to the right and up the hill, while the more difficult section continues to the left up County Road 281. This is where it starts to get more difficult, if you take CR-281. It is very steep and it can be washed out in sections. An SUV with higher clearance and a careful driver should do fine.
The third intersection is only on the easy road. Follow the signs to Central City to the left. Roads to Gilson Gulch and many spurs continue up over the hill, and they are more difficult.
The last intersection is where the difficult CR-281 intersects with Virginia Canyon Road. The two merge here and you stay on this road all the way to Central City.
When you get to the town of Russell Gulch it is very scenic. You will pass by here, then by the very large Glory Hole mining complex.
Follow Virginia Canyon Road, and it will turn into pavement as you head down into Central City.
- September 10, 2007: ran by Mark F., Monica and Walt
- June 2, 2007: ran by Austin, Bill S., Bob R., Jed, Ladd, Michael, Mike S., Monica and Walt
- November 18, 2006: ran by Dane and Gary
- August 13, 2006: ran by Monica
- August 12, 2006: ran by Bill S., Brian E., Cheryl, Daniel, Ed C., Eric S., Gary, Mark U., Mike S., Monica and Walt
From Denver, take I-70 west to the first Idaho Springs exit 241-A. Follow Colorado Boulevard past the Conoco station and the park on your right, and you will see a steep switchback on the right, with signs to Virginia Canyon and Central City. Just after this turn is a left turn with an arrow and a small sign for Russell Gulch.
Meet at the McDonald's or the Starbucks in Idaho Springs just off of I-70 exit 241-A.