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Jessica

Salida Co: Seeking recommendations

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Posted (edited)

Hey y'all. 

Barry and I are planning our first summer trip and we are looking for recommendations from someone who is familiar with the area.  

We want to ride high country trails for days, but have a few questions.  

Is early July too soon to expect the higher trails to be open and clear of snow?

Thinking of Salida in town trails, Monarch Crest and then swinging over to Phil's world in Cortez.  

Any insight or really great trail systems are appreciated.

We are aware of the altitude issue and are training in the heat to prep ourselves.  

Thanks!

 

Edited by Jessica
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South of Salida, almost in New Mexico is the town of Del Norte.  We managed to ride a really fun trail there a couple of years ago and there were several other interesting sounding trails in the same area.  

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My limited experience in that area was only the passes (12k feet) still had snow in early July.  Everywhere else was fine.  I didn't ride in Salida but drove through.

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I was up there the last week of July last year.  I rode Monarch Crest Trail 2 days in a row.  The photo below was from July 29th and I was told the motorcycle riders had just (successfully) dug though the snow bank 2 days before my first ride.  So in summary, I think it will all depend on 1) how much snow accumulated this season  2) what are the warming conditions as this MTB season progresses. 

Absolute Bikes in Salida is a great shop and could easily answer most of your questions.  Here is there updated trail conditions page.
https://www.absolutebikes.com/local-trail-conditions/

IMG-1314.jpg

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jessica said:

Thanks Cody for the great idea- that bikes website is an awesome reference.  

That was our first stop on our CO tour last year.  The bikeshop gave us some good tips on riding and camping.  They are a known staple in that area/community with some long time employees.  I think we did 3 rides while there.  You can check my strata from that period.  The locals are kinda "over it' with Monarch Crest, they say there's better stuff out there.  But it was one of my favorite rides!  You take a shuttle up to Monarch Pass and thus you end up in the 'high country' immediately.  I rode the long-version and only ended up with around 4'ish hours, but got the experience of what would normally be a 6-7hr ride (because I didn't have to get myself all way there and back).  I know that breaks the back-country epic ethos many of us love about riding in CO, but its just how it goes with Monarch Crest Trail.  And I found it rewarding because of that....all the reward, with less work.  But its not 'easy', its just right.  

Ok, I just went and located my Strava file(s).

Here's our first day of MCT.  My riding buddy was semi-fit, he had no problems, but wasn't the swiftest.  We stopped a lot and captured photos and took it all in.
https://www.strava.com/activities/2573922157

Here's day 2 of MCT.  Mike had to stay in town and do business work.  I was going to do something huge and epic and solo, but my wife (and Mike) persuaded me to tone it down considering it was early in our trip.  So I decided to do another round of the MCT and it didn't disappoint.  I was riding much more steady this day and didn't stop for very long.
https://www.strava.com/activities/2576721946

If you guys want some more tips for the area, then we can make that happen.  I'm not an expert, but I can at least give some general guidance based on what I learned.

Later,
CJB

IMG-1369.jpg

Edited by CBaron
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Thanks for all that, Cody. Here is the 8 total day loop we're considering, with the bulk of the driving taking place on Saturday and Sunday a week later. If anything fell out, it'd probably be Colorado Springs. And I don't have anything in mind for Durango or New Mexico but those are likely travel+ride days. I do know that I want us to hit Phil's World in Cortez though, and that's what'd driving that side of the trip.

image.png.021331c52d882aabd4090a75e8938c97.png

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hartman Rocks is longer from Salida to Durango, but it was worth it for me. 

image.jpeg

Edited by Sluggo
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15 hours ago, Sluggo said:

Hartman Rocks is longer from Salida to Durango, but it was worth it for me. 

 

https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7016201/the-hartman-rocks-big-loop

Oh dang that really looks like a good time. And it doesn't add much to the drive time from Salida to Durango or Cortez. After 2 or 3 days in Salida, we may need to consider this destination as a drive-day stop. 

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Thanks for the info.  Super excited to see all the sees on my bike. I'll be posting photos on the 'gram and book.  Hartman rocks looks like a blast.  Can't wait to see Durango.  During the rainy 18 season I spent many days dreaming about the Colorado trails on project mtb.  

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Posted (edited)

In Durango check out CT to Dry Fork to Hoffeins loop (I do it clockwise).  Its usually the first ride we do when we arrive.  Its a nice little loop that always impresses the first-timers....but honestly, its simply 'an appetizer' to the main course found around DGO area. 

Then on the other side of the spectrum, Kennebec Pass is a nice epic for that area.  We usually do it around from the Junction Creek Rd side.  Its much simpler, bit easier and little shorter from this side.  Under 'normal' circumstances this is a 5.5hr+ ride for us from the Junction Creek campgrounds.  Now we've also done it 'the big way' from town and out HWY160 to west, then up to Mayday and actually over the actual (Kennebec Pass).  Thats a big-boy ride and both times Ive done it we've had poor weather conditions and its been 8.5+ hrs.

Historically, one of my favorite rides in DGO area has been  Jones Creek-Pinkerton-Dutch Creek- out Hermosa.  This is not an advertised ride, but rather a locals-favorite that the shop guys turned us on to after we had said we've ridden most trails int he area.  I like it because it has a bit of everything....nice ribboning singletrack climb up through the Aspens, followed by steep ridge climb with some hike-a-bike with nice vistas (looking down on Animas Valley), followed by saweeeet descending singletrack down to Hermosa Creek trail (which you then follow out back to the trail end).  Problem here is that this trail route is smack dab in the middle of the last major fire area from 2-3 yrs ago.  I'm certain its been decimated by the fire and so I can't really speak for its current beauty or state of trail system.  Likewise, this same goes for the entire Hermosa Creek trail.  But either way, if your there, you might as well sample it anyways??

Lastly, another one of our absolute favorites is the ride over Blackhawk Pass.  This is a true back country EPIC.  We usually camp multiple days in the area halfway near Bolam Pass and do various rides in the back country area.  From there we ride the jeep road up to Bolam and pick up the CO Trail and head South back towards DGO.  You follow the CT around Hermosa Peak and then up to Blackhawk at 12k'.  Then descend the back of Blackhawk with options to go back via Hotel Draw...or go along further and head down Coral Draw.  If you choose Coral, it adds some distance and drops you onto Hermosa which you will have to ride back 'up' to the Hermsoa Trailhead (no real big deal).   ....or if you really want a BIG ride, you could then commit to Hermosa and ride it all the way out to trails ends.  Not for faint of heart (I've never done it all in a day).  *Another Big Boi Option* is to go over Blackhawk and continue on the CT (past Hotel, past Coral) and take it all the way to Kennebec.  You go along the high country crossing Indian Ridge and the drop down to Kennebec (at 10.2k').  This is an absolute monster ride.  I've had friends who did it going up to CT via Hotel Draw and then along the CT into DGO via Kennebec and they had 8+ hr ride with much of it above 9k crossing 12k+ over and over.  Much exposure above treeline for lots of this ride.

These are just a few nuggets from my 12x's to the DGO area.  Ya'll are good enough to take these tidbits and put together the details as you see fit from the trail apps and info from locals.  But if you want more detail or more options then just reach out to me.  Barry's got my digits.

Later,
CJB

Edited by CBaron
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And just as a side FYI, my avatar photo is of my True Fab Rat Rod bike atop Blackhawk Pass.  Its one of my favorite photos.  There's much 'feels' going on for me in that photo.

Cheers,
CJB

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8 hours ago, CBaron said:

In Durango check out CT to Dry Fork to Hoffeins loop (I do it clockwise).  Its usually the first ride we do when we arrive.  Its a nice little loop that always impresses the first-timers....but honestly, its simply 'an appetizer' to the main course found around DGO area. 

Then on the other side of the spectrum, Kennebec Pass is a nice epic for that area.  We usually do it around from the Junction Creek Rd side.  Its much simpler, bit easier and little shorter from this side.  Under 'normal' circumstances this is a 5.5hr+ ride for us from the Junction Creek campgrounds.  Now we've also done it 'the big way' from town and out HWY160 to west, then up to Mayday and actually over the actual (Kennebec Pass).  Thats a big-boy ride and both times Ive done it we've had poor weather conditions and its been 8.5+ hrs.

Historically, one of my favorite rides in DGO area has been  Jones Creek-Pinkerton-Dutch Creek- out Hermosa.  This is not an advertised ride, but rather a locals-favorite that the shop guys turned us on to after we had said we've ridden most trails int he area.  I like it because it has a bit of everything....nice ribboning singletrack climb up through the Aspens, followed by steep ridge climb with some hike-a-bike with nice vistas (looking down on Animas Valley), followed by saweeeet descending singletrack down to Hermosa Creek trail (which you then follow out back to the trail end).  Problem here is that this trail route is smack dab in the middle of the last major fire area from 2-3 yrs ago.  I'm certain its been decimated by the fire and so I can't really speak for its current beauty or state of trail system.  Likewise, this same goes for the entire Hermosa Creek trail.  But either way, if your there, you might as well sample it anyways??

Lastly, another one of our absolute favorites is the ride over Blackhawk Pass.  This is a true back country EPIC.  We usually camp multiple days in the area halfway near Bolam Pass and do various rides in the back country area.  From there we ride the jeep road up to Bolam and pick up the CO Trail and head South back towards DGO.  You follow the CT around Hermosa Peak and then up to Blackhawk at 12k'.  Then descend the back of Blackhawk with options to go back via Hotel Draw...or go along further and head down Coral Draw.  If you choose Coral, it adds some distance and drops you onto Hermosa which you will have to ride back 'up' to the Hermsoa Trailhead (no real big deal).   ....or if you really want a BIG ride, you could then commit to Hermosa and ride it all the way out to trails ends.  Not for faint of heart (I've never done it all in a day).  *Another Big Boi Option* is to go over Blackhawk and continue on the CT (past Hotel, past Coral) and take it all the way to Kennebec.  You go along the high country crossing Indian Ridge and the drop down to Kennebec (at 10.2k').  This is an absolute monster ride.  I've had friends who did it going up to CT via Hotel Draw and then along the CT into DGO via Kennebec and they had 8+ hr ride with much of it above 9k crossing 12k+ over and over.  Much exposure above treeline for lots of this ride.

These are just a few nuggets from my 12x's to the DGO area.  Ya'll are good enough to take these tidbits and put together the details as you see fit from the trail apps and info from locals.  But if you want more detail or more options then just reach out to me.  Barry's got my digits.

Later,
CJB

Thanks so much Cody!!!!  There are so many trails out there, it's awesome to have someone that can share their experience in detail.  Man, I love a new trail experience.  

I was in Telluride in 01 and was blown away by the landscape.  I can't wait to see this side and the lushness that Texas doesn't have. 

Barry and I will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary and I can't imagine a better trip to celebrate our cycling growth over the time.  

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On 6/16/2020 at 5:29 PM, Sluggo said:

Hartman Rocks

This was one of my favorite places I've ever ridden a bicycle. Thanks for the recommendation!

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4 hours ago, Barry said:

This was one of my favorite places I've ever ridden a bicycle. Thanks for the recommendation!

It’s a magical spot. 

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