Peekaboo Gulch – Buena Vista, CO
Words: Nancy Anderson
Photos: Scott Anderson except where noted
Wednesday was the second time we fat biked South Fork Lake Creek (SFLC) Road into Peekaboo Gulch. But we have played on SFLC road many times before; from there we hike to the summit of 14,336′ La Plata Peak, backcountry ski the unplowed road and fat-bike the myriad 4×4 roads in any season.
The trailhead sits at 10,000′ elevation, so the views come quickly.
The Arkansas Valley has been dang hot lately, so last week we headed for the high country to escape the heat. The 4×4 roads were nearly devoid of vehicles during our adventure, but we did encounter a large group of friendly hikers who were out enjoying the beautiful creek and cooler mountain air.
SFLC road provides mostly mellow grades after the first few steepish hills that climb from the trailhead into the basin.
We certainly love to ride the local singletrack trails, but there are some real gems in the area that aren’t singletrack!
Turning off SFLC road onto Peekaboo Gulch road ups the “grunt” factor; I’ll admit that there were four 10-20 yard steep climbs that I hike-a-biked. But, the “Wow!” factor increases also. This route is gorgeous in summer-green, as well as fall-gold.
After riding to an old mine at the end of Peekaboo road, we passed the remains of some cabins as we began the descent.
Even at 11,800′, it was warm enough to enjoy riding through the snowmelt-cold creek.
After the creek crossing, Scott elected to walk his fattie across the one snowfield covering the road. He was smart after watching me try to ride through a similar snowfield on a spring SFLC road ride. I’ve postholed in deep, soft snow many times while hiking, but that was my first biking posthole experience.
We descended the several truly lovely switchbacks on Peekaboo Gulch Road. A few more of those would have eliminated those short steep hike-bike bits.
This route gains 1,800′ over the 6.5 miles to Peekaboo Gulch. In Buena Vista’s beautiful, big backyard that is considered a relatively mellow ride. The descent is good, swooping fun to close out a great 13-mile fat ride in Colorado’s high country.