Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Switzerland Trail Trip

by Adam Mehlberg

On June 16th, 2001 some of our club members took a trip back in history with the help of Hal and Jan Riggs. In attendance were Ryan Boddy, Don Owens, Cindy Mehlberg and myself, Peter and Betty Botts, Gail Straty, and Bethel Watts. We began our trip at the Crossroads Mall in Boulder. It was a warm and sunny morning with little threat of rain.

As we headed down Canyon Boulevard along Boulder Creek, Hal was telling us where the Depot was, the Engine yards and imparting the history of the area. We headed up Boulder Canyon toward Nederland and made a right turn onto 118 Road at Orodell and wound our way, following the old railroad grade for the most part, past the town of Crisman to the intersection with Fourmile Canyon just below Salina. Heading west along Fourmile Creek we reached Sunset.

Though we had been following the old railroad grade from Boulder, at Sunset the true feel of the old narrow gauge rail line is very evident. The old rail bed, now a four wheel drive road, makes its sweeping turns and slow climbs through the old cuts and over the fills that once supported a locomotive. After being rushed out of Sunset by the locals, we climbed the northern route of the rail line up to the Mount Alto Picnic Ground.

This site once had a large pavilion, a fountain, and was the destination for train passengers for summer picnics. Today only the large fireplace that once heated the pavilion remains, as does the crumbling ruins of the old fountain. From Mount Alto we continued north, crossing the Gold Hill road heading toward Ward. This part of the Switzerland Trail is less uses. The brush has grown closer to the old railroad grade along the sweeping turns on this section. Shortly you have to leave the old railroad grade and climb a hill to connect back onto a gravel road that takes you past some private property southeast of Ward and connects back up with the old line. Very little of the railroad grade can be driven near Ward with all of the homes and property boundaries. We stopped quickly at the old station in Ward before heading out on the Peak to Peak Highway. From an overlook along Highway 72 we saw the old railroad grade that we couldn’t drive cutting its way around the foothills as it headed toward Ward.

The part of the Switzerland Trail that went south from Sunset would be our return route to get back to Sunset. Just north of Nederland on Highway 72 we turned off of pavement on the road that goes to Glacier Lake. We were pack on the old railroad grade once again, except we were fenced onto the road as we passed through the private property around Glacier Lake. The Switzerland Trail line had a spur that went to the lake, but it is now on private property. Once we returned to public lands we were on FDR 327 and following the grade above Pennsylvania Gulch toward Bald Mountain. After crossing over the ridge of Bald Mountain the rail line runs above Gordon Gulch toward Sugarloaf Mountain.

There once was a station at Sugarloaf, but it has long since vanished. We stopped shortly below Sugarloaf Mountain before following the grade on down to Sunset. From here everyone took their own way back home.

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