Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is the climb in Denver.

Lookout Mountain Profile

Lookout Mountain Profile

Length: 4.55 miles (7.32km)
Average Grade:
Maximum Grade:
Vertical Gain:
1254 ft (382m)
Summit: 7700 ft (2214m)
Tour de France Category:
Tour de France analogue:
Col du Noyer – Final climb, Stage 10, 2010 TdF

This is an incredibly popular climb starting in Golden.  The climb is measured from the tall stone pillars at the gates of the park, and ends at the turnoff to the overlook at the top.  This climb is incredibly popular with tourists and cyclists.  Traffic is minimal on this road.

Final Switchbacks

Final Switchbacks

I think the climb is so popular because it isn’t terribly hard.  With an average grade of 5.4%, most recreational cyclists can ascend it, even without a triple or compact crank.  Yet it still provides a challenge, a yardstick (ascent time), a nice ride near the city with little traffic, and enough of a challenge.

I divide the climb into thirds.  The first third heads northward from the pillars to the first switchbacks.  This section climbs steadily with great views of Golden, and North and South Table Mountain to the east.  The second third heads southward past the “M” (for Colorado School of Mines) and the grade eases somewhat, with a few ‘flat’ sections.

The final third is from the parking lot a the saddle with views to the west.  The grade past the saddle is the steepest, maxing out at 6.8% for 1/2 miles, and ascending the three tightest switchbacks.  The road climbs steadily passing a few nice overlooks of the entire Denver metro area, and then has a quick flat section before the final 200 yards to the top.  You can make a nice ~20 mile loop by continuing to Highway 40 / I-70 Frontage Road and dropping back into Golden.

Looking towards North Table Mountain

Looking towards North Table Mountain


8 Responses to Lookout Mountain

  1. Pingback: Overtraining | The Road to Cat 1

  2. Cheflandria says:

    This looks like a really nice steady climb…beautiful!

    • RichardB1001 says:

      It is a great climb, with marvelous views, but after you reach the top, you keep climbing until you reach US 40. A really great ride is to do the entire Lariat Loop, which is 44 miles, including Lookout Mountain.

  3. Pingback: my foray into cycling | justpedalharder

  4. MinePE says:

    This climb is crazy. It’s hard in the car. I can’t imagine taking this on a bicycle.

  5. I live about 5 miles from Golden and just got my Road Bike all tuned up. Going to go ride this climb and if i make it to the top, and feel descent am going to do the Hwy 40 route back to Golden and then 5 more miles home. Should be a good 30 mile ride. Been Mtn biking hard core this year but this will be my first real road bike ride. I’ll post on how it went and what parts were brutal etc 🙂 Peace!

  6. I rode from Arvada up Lookout to Hwy 70 and then back downto Golden on hwy 40….then back to Easley and Arvada. Here is my summary: Golden river to top of 19th street is the first section and it grinds on you early. Important not to push to hard at this point and just drop a gear lower than you like and spin up it. Then you go through some big stone gates at the top of 19th….Just ride whatever gear you have and ride. It hurts, this was a long continuous climb but never got so steep you couldn’t keep going, although my knees felt like they were close to giving in, and a pair of hot girl road bike riders past me by the top where the “M” is on the hill, but i spun when i could and pushed when its all i had left. The road gets narrow in a few places with extreme drop offs over the guard rail….Nice that the road doesn’t have hardly any traffic, it wouldn’t be fun to have to ride right on the edge on that section. The last section is after a good sized pull over viewpoint. The road goes up switchbacks which are steep on the corners but mellow in between….i had to stand on a few of them to get my ass off the saddle and stretch it out…which actually worked well…..7.5 miles of Colorado Uphill will make your butt a bit sore…and i ride all the time and still needed the stretch. At the top of the Switchbacks you can tell your getting close to the top since the views peaking through the trees are happening more often. Then you come to Buffalo Bills Grave. I rode my bike up the little entrance hill and parked my bike beside the fence around his grave. Bill was a wild man and he would have liked you to ride your bike right into the Bar or right next to his grave….I had a very comforting feeling while i stood by his grave and then drank water and road off towards Hwy 70…Its a couple of miles from the grave to Hwy 70 and there are a few little hills along the way….Nothing like the bad boy you just came up though! Hwy 40 is right before Hwy 70 and you make a left onto it to go back to Golden…..Hang on its a fast as you want to go ride for a long way….A person could really fly down this, i just rolled it since i had never been on this ride before and like to look before i go crazy as a 51 year old 🙂 The rest of the ride to Golden was a total non-event and all downhill all the way back to 10th street! You have to cross Hwy470 which is a stop light, but then as you go down the hill in front of the Taj Mahal (Jeffco County Building/Court and such) and coast and push big gears and coast some more…. faster than cars quite often. Then back on Easley road to Arvada. Strava said it was 31.0 Miles, 2315 ft of climbing (all in one big ass climb), avg speed 14.1 mph (first time ever so not to concerned about being slow) I rolled for 2:12 minutes and burned 1469 Calories. Not real happy with my new Compact Crank….I wish i just had a triple….its hard on your knees to have to push the Compact on climbs like this, but then again i guess if i could loose 35 more pounds i could climb like a god….and what the hell, i may have suffered but i did make it, i didn’t stop during the climb….enough said 🙂 So there is a right up on a first timers ascent of Lookout Mtn. I would park by the Coors plant or on 10th street to do the ride from Golden. The extra few miles i road were mostly flat and not necessary for anyone not living in Westwoods 🙂

  7. I left off a key piece of navigation. When i was comming down HWY 40 i passed the Morrison exit for Hwy 70 and went downhill and got to where there was an overpass. Right before the overpass is a bike path you need to take. It takes you to the Hwy470/6th ave crossing to get on the street in front of the Taj Mahal 🙂

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