We were headed to Gunnison today but we had to go back through Lake City, so Dad and I decided to bike a portion of the Alpine Loop in order to get to a trail head to hike "a short ways" to the Nellie Creek waterfall.
The Alpine Loop is an dirt road/4 wheel drive loop road that goes over Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass. It's a long loop and takes all day (and a suitable vehicle) to cover. We determined it was 5 miles from Lake City to the trail, which we figured would make a nice 10 mile bike ride.
The first 16 miles of the loop is dirt - suitable for any car, including my RV if I'd wanted to, so it wasn't all that different from riding on an unpaved rail trail. The five miles was a steady climb. There was one mile that was extra steep, I got off and walked most of that! The scenery was pretty awesome! We were right along a river and at one point it went through a neat canyon - we were above it so we could see into the canyon. We also passed an old mine site.
At five miles we came to the sign for the turn off to the trail. It was 4 miles to the trailhead! What!?!? The blurb in the tourist book said it was a short hike. 8 miles RT to the trail head isn't a short hike. And, this was a 4 wheel drive/ATV trail and there were a steady stream of ATVs on it making it unsafe for walking and it was way too rocky for biking. Soooo.... We didn't go up to see Nellie Creek Falls. Instead we rode down the mountain and got ice cream!
It was 10 miles RT with about 700 feet of elevation gain. We rode up in about an hour and down in about 30 minutes.
After our ice cream we headed up the road to Gunnison. It was a nice drive! The big alpine mountains turned to desert mountains!
Once we get settled in the campground we headed out to get Dad's tire fixed. One of guys we were chatting with at the trailhead yesterday had suggested a company Tomichi Tires. They closed at 5:30 so we rushed over there. Thor, the main guy, couldn't find anything wrong with the tire! He filled it with air and put it back on the car! Problem solved!
After the tire place we got dinner and went to the grocery store before coming back to the campground.