Sourdough Trail

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado

Distance6.7mi
Elevation Gain2,593ft
Trailhead Elevation9,213ft
Top10,298ft
Elevation Min/Max9213/10298ft
Elevation Start/End9213/9213ft
Sourdough Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Roosevelt National Forest. It is 6.7 miles long and begins at 9,213 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 13.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,593 feet. The Sourdough Trailhead Parking is near the trailhead. The Columbia Mine (elevation 9,488 feet) quarry and Brainard Lake Area Winter Trailhead and another parking can be seen along the trail. There are also a warming hut and restrooms along the trail. Near the end of the trail is an information guidepost. This trail connects with the following: Little Raven Trail, South St. Vrain, Usfs Trail 909 and Cutoff Trail.

Sourdough Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A traditional out-and-back route on a mountain trail, up and down through subalpine forest. This ride serves as a good introduction to the high-altitude trail network in the vicinity of Brainard Lake. “Only 11.4 miles,” you say. “That’s an after-dinner jaunt.”

Well, this ride is a bit longer than the number that appears on your odometer when it’s all done. The stretch of the Sourdough Trail between Rainbow Lakes Road (CR 116) and Brainard Lake Road never gets ridiculously technical or steep, like some other rides on the Front Range, but it’s consistently rocky. A bumpy yet non-technical ride."

"The Sourdough Trail skirts the fringes of the beautiful Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The drive alone from Boulder to the trailhead is reason enough to head for this trail. While traveling along the Boulder Canyon, multisport adventurers can stop to enjoy great climbing and hiking opportunities before continuing on Colorado’s famed Peak-to-Peak Highway. Once on the trail, however, the fun really starts.

The Sourdough Trail is almost entirely covered by a thick forest canopy, providing cool, shaded relief the whole ride through. Although the climb to Brainard Lake is challenging (but enjoyable), the descent is why you ride it. A fast and smooth descent through a thick emerald forest will have you screaming, “There’s no place like here and now.” Terrain: Singletrack, plus some paved and dirt road if optional loop is taken."

"The best singletrack in Boulder County. A great summer ride through dense pine forest with occasional views of outstanding scenery to the east. Why overheat on the lower elevation trails when you can do the Sourdough? Tread: 12.2 miles of excellent singletrack."

"The Sourdough Trail skirts the fringes of the beautiful Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The drive alone from Boulder to the trailhead is reason enough to head for the Sourdough Trail. While traveling along the Boulder Canyon, multi-sport adventurers can stop to enjoy great climbing and hiking opportunities, before continuing on Colorado's famed Peak-to-Peak highway.

Once on the trail, however, the fun really starts. The Sourdough Trail is almost entirely covered beneath a thick forest canopy, providing cool, shaded relief the whole ride through. Although the climb to Brainard Lake is challenging (but enjoyable) the descent is what you ride it for. A fast and smooth descent through a thick emerald forest will have you screaming: "There's no place like here and now." Terrain: Singletrack, plus some paved and dirt road if optional loop is taken."

"Did I mention rocks? This popular rocky trail jars you over most of the length of the ride. The rocks are generally not large, often loose and always seem to be under your knobbies. Try this trail if you are looking for practice over rocky surfaces. The climbing is not steep, but several of the climbs are extended. Terrain: Rocks, rocks, rocks; occasional hardpack and waterbars."

"This great trail is along the eastern flank of Niwot Mountain. Dense pine forests, wildflowers, easy access to connecting trails, and views are the main attractions of this hike. Trail conditions: This popular trail is smooth in some sections and extremely rocky in others."

"The Sourdough Trail, though popular, has much less traffic than trails in and around Brainard Lake. You won’t get quite the stunning views of the Indian Peaks, but you get beautiful views of the foothills, plains, and even snowcapped peaks in the distance.

As you can see from the altitude information (gained and lost) on the map, both trail segments roller-coaster, but the trail segment from Brainard to the south is more level overall, until you get near Rainbow Lakes, where the trail descends significantly."

Sourdough Trail Reviews

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9/26/2010
I've ridden this trail a few times. It has a good balance of climbing and descending. It's more of a rolling singletrack - more up than down on the way north, but it's not just climbing forever; there are a couple of short descents along the way to break up the monotony and pain. It seems to get rockier towards the end of the summer after more trail use. July had better singletrack conditions. The shade definitely makes for a nice cool riding day. There are a few technical sections to challenge you, and some tight switchbacks, but a lot of the trail is pretty tame. It's a great ride close to Boulder, and can link up with St. Vrain or Camp @$!*% - though those sections get a lot more technical.
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6/17/2007
A nice steady climb and pretty views and some challenging rocky sections. A fun ride within 20 minutes or so of Boulder.
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8/6/2005
Sourdough was more technical than the trail guides indicated. It was very rocky and requires good shocks. Lots of vertical at the trail head, but beautiful overall. This trail is not for the faint of breath at 10,000 feet and more.
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Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Roosevelt National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Skiing
Additional Use
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Activity Feed

Jun 2018