Grand County Trail of the Week: Sunken Bridge and Upper Elk Loop |

Grand County Trail of the Week: Sunken Bridge and Upper Elk Loop

Deborah Carr and Lou Ladrigan
Backcountry Bound


Activity – Bike

Level of Difficulty -5 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)

Round-trip Mileage – 8.16 miles

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Round-trip Biking Time – 2 hours

Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 8861′, 39°55’08″N, 105°49’59″W

Altitude, GPS Reading at High Point (just beyond Hump) – 10,344′, 39°53’181″N, 105°50’47″W

Trail Fee Required – No

Dogs are permitted without leash

Trailhead Location – On US Hwy 40, in the town of Fraser at the Fraser Valley Shopping Center, turn south onto CR 72 for .3 miles. At the fork, CR 721 is to the right and CR 72 continues left. Stay left on CR 72 (which turns into FDR 158) for 2.0 miles to Parking on the left.

Trail Description – Head south on FDR 158 and ascend on the steady moderately steep road. Pass the fork on the left for Elk Meadow trail and remain on FDR 158. Climb through a large aspen stand with views to the south-east (left) of the Winter Park Resort and Parry and James Peaks. At the fork and trail marker, Sunken Bridge trail is on the right and FDR 158 continues straight. Turn right onto the double track trail through the woods. At the fork, bear left into the meadow where there is a large beaver pond on the left. Upstream of the beaver pond is a boardwalk. Cross the boardwalk over West Elk Creek and climb steeply through the forest to FDR 159 (Leland Creek Road/Aqueduct Road). Across FDR 159 are two trails, the one on the right is Upper Elk trail. Cross FDR 159 and take the right fork onto Upper Elk trail. Climb along the double track trail and ascend the long straight-away over several tank traps. Continue to climb the long windy double track trail and pass several side logging roads. Remain on the main trail to a fork. The road continues straight a short distance further and Upper Elk trail continues on the left. Turn left on this narrow (almost single track) trail and ascend over several tank traps and through a series of switchbacks and turns through the forest. Climb to a sign identified as the Hump. Continue a short distance further to the top of this ascent and then descend. After a short distance, there is a fork on the right. Bear left and continue downhill on the double track trail. The trail surface is mostly large loose rocks. Intersect Upper Elk Creek trail. Turn left onto Upper Elk trail (double track) and descend to FDR 159. Turn left on FDR 159 and then turn immediately right onto FDR 158. Descend along FDR 158 and pass the fork on the right for D2 trail and the fork on the left for Sunken Bridge trail. Continue to descend and pass the fork on the right for Elk Meadow trail and return to parking area.

More trails and information are available in “Hiking Grand County, Colorado” and “Winter Park and Fraser, Colorado Mountain Bike Map”. The book and map are available locally in many retail outlets, gift shops, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops or visit our website at This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance ( and Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, who work to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.

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