Bachelor Historic Loop is a 17 mile loop trail located near Creede, CO. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for scenic driving.
Very easy hike. Great for the whole family.
We did this loop on 07/21/2012 and it was tons of fun. We rented a Polaris Razor and had no problems navigating the roads. However, there are parts of the 4x4 Bachelor Loop that are VERY rocky and steep and are difficult to navigate. Once you're in Creede, stop by the Forest Service to pick up their information sheets on the Bachelor Loop. There is also a map on the back of the sheets which is what we used to navigate our trip. Once you see the map, this review will make a lot more sense.
IN A CAR or NON 4x4 VEHICLE - Takes about 1-3 hours / total miles 17 miles
If you're in a car or non-4x4 vehicle the Bachelor Loop Historic Tour is really fun. All of the mines are well marked and the Forest Service Information Center on Main Street has a lot of information and maps. Don't leave without this information or the map, as it will really come in handy on your trip and will be 'tour guide' of the mines and local information. The Loop by car or in a non-4x4 vehicle is marked in a thick, solid black line on the map. The numbers in the circles correspond to the Mine marker. Each Mine is marked and there is information on each mine in the information sheets from the Forest Service. And, the info sheets describe the terrain and conditions of the road.
IN A 4x4 VEHICLE - 4.5 hours (we stopped for photos, bathroom, etc)
If you're a 4x4 enthusiast, the 4x4 routes are a lot of fun with amazing views. Just like in a non-4x4 vehicle, stop by the Forest Service Information Center on Main Street to pick up their Bachelor Loop information sheets and for the map on the back. You WILL need the map, AND the information sheets describe the terrain of the roads.
THE ROUTE WE TOOK - We started from the Mine Museum and headed toward Mine #1, north on 502. This is not a 4x4 road, but it is narrow and rocky in parts. A few miles up on 502 you will see a rocky road, off to the right, that has a fairly steep incline. This road is called Phoenix Park Road (502-1A) and you must have a rugged 4x4 to navigate it. The Forest Service rates this as "More Difficult", so use your best judgement before heading up this road. If you're up for the challenge, it is about 2.2 miles long and dead-ends at an old abandoned miner's cabin. You can't take your vehicle any further, but you can hike up (.3 miles) to a waterfall. The views are beautiful.
After seeing the waterfall, we headed back down Phoenix Park Road, got back onto 502 and continued north to the 4x4 road. This will take you to 503 between Mines 6 & 7. We continued north on 503 toward Mine #8. Once we reached Mine #8, we took a sharp left/south toward Mine #9 on 504. There is also a snowcat/snowplow vehicle parked at this intersection, so you have a landmark. (The reason we took this route instead of continuing north on 503 toward Mine #10 is because just above Mine #10 on the 4x4 road, is an extremely steep portion of road. Unless you're an experience ATV/4x4 rider, I would not recommend going 'up' this incline. It was a lot easier going down). We continued south on 504 until we reached the sign for "Mine #13 / 4x4 Road / 505." We took this road which will take you up to the Continental Divide. The views are spectacular! I believe you will reach close to 12,000 feet so bring rain gear and a jacket, as it gets a lot cooler up there. As you're looking at the map, 505 loops toward the east and then back south. Be aware that if you take this route 'clockwise' (like we did), just past the peak at the Continental Divide, but before Mine #10, the descend gets very difficult. It's very rocky and the last descent is the toughest. Take it slow and let your 4x4 do what it was built to do. Once you're down the steep incline, you will see the Equity Mine (#10) on your left and you will reconnect to the main part of the tour on the road.
It was so much fun and we will definitely do it again!