Arkansas Hills

4.02 out of 5
View Topo Map


↑ 4,600 ft
↓ 5,500 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
Update 9/9/13 by mtbgreg1:

The Arkansas Hills Trail System is the closest singletrack trail system to downtown Salida... and by that I mean that it begins directly from downtown! Just cross the F-street bridge, hang a right through the fence, and follow the tire tracks to mountain bike heaven!

Arkansas Hills follows the principles of the "stacked loop" design, meaning that the easier trails are lower down the mountain, but as you travel up and out the trails get progressively harder and harder. There are some smooth (but exposed) beginner-friendly trails on the lower reaches of S-Mountain, but higher up in the hills you can easily challenge yourself with super-advanced rock gardens, narrow singletrack, short-steep descents, and a wide array of gnar!

Due to their position in the dry, warm area of the valley, these trails get HOT during the summer... and when you ride them, you'll note the cacti and realize that this hills are actually a high-desert environment. However, those hot, dry summers also indicate that these hills stay mostly snow-free and mild all through the winter, making this trail system (as well as the other, lower trails in the area) a winter destination for the folks from Summit County, Crested Butte, and other locations that get snowed in during the winter months.

While this trail system is a great achievement, the local trail organization, Salida Mountain Trails, isn't content to just rest on their laurels, however. They continue to build new singletrack and expand the mountain biking opportunities in the Salida area every year!

Previous Description:

This Network of trails has a bit of everything, and there is really not much elevation gain and loss, Very Moderate.
The new North Backbone is super fun but tight with quick turns, not a super fast trail but you will use your technical skills.
Rattle Snake gets you pretty much to most of the trails, very easy trail not much gain, you might run overs some tumbleweed tho!
Burn pile is a blast to go down hill, fun swooping turns.
Tenderfoot is much more technical but still not much elevation gain.
Front side trail is a great way to descend back down to your car.
Check out for maps and other trails in and around Salida!
added by GimmeAraiseGnarly June 11, 2011
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
Please login or create an account to ask a question.
System Trails (15)
System Trails (15)
Cr 173
North Backbone
Uncle Nazty
Lil Rattler
Sand Dunes
Burn Pile
Sgt. Pepper
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (48 total check-ins)
  sryangobuf   on Jul 24, 2015
  Groomster62   on May 17, 2015
  rowunda   on Apr 1, 2015
  tlongpine   on Aug 31, 2014
  Michael Paul   on Jul 18, 2014
Photo & Video Gallery (180)
Trail Photos & Videos (180)
Reviews (15)

Granny Gear

June 8, 2015
shawnCOS. Granny Gear  
Review: Very cool ! Absolute bicycle shop is a great place to start from. Very friendly and cool place. Great information on local trail conditions and terrain. Good folks.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


September 1, 2014
tlongpine Trailblazer  
Review: Few trails can beats this kind of accessibilty.

The trailhead area intersects with a number of 4x4 trails, so I spend some time searching for the proper trail after crossing the tracks northeast of the parking area.

Did a jeep road-Frontside-L'il Rattler-Spiral Drive-North Backbone loop good for ~12 miles.

The morning views of the Southern Sawatch towering over Salida make this a memorable ride. If you're in the parking lot in the morning, look north towards Antero. The Chalk Cliffs are glorious in the morning sun.

Trails have great flow and something for all skill levels. Great way to start the day.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


July 12, 2014
Fit4Life28 Doubletrack  
Review: Amazing trail network that always keeps you on your toes. Starting right from the edge of town you immediately climb into a vast network of fun and challenging terrain. Bring your climbing legs and grippy tires because it's sometimes steep and loose.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


May 3, 2014
justin70 Singletrack  
Review: Great trails, right next to a great town. Traction on the loose surface can be an issue, but plenty of fun to be had. Especially loved the Prospector descent.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


March 22, 2014
uber_franz Trailblazer  
Review: Sweet trails right out of downtown. Doesn't get much better than this. Rideable most of the year!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


April 13, 2013
tmoney149 Gramcounter  
Review: awesome trails, with a mix of all kinds of riding. some techy stuff, a lot of flowy stuff and plenty of miles of trail to loop together. sand dunes was probably my favorite trail in the system, upper backbone was a good out and back

Similar Trail: jumbo mountain paonia, sidewinder montrose

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

World Champ

June 17, 2012
Greg Heil World Champ  
Review: This is an amazing trail system that you can access right from the town of Salida! Some trails are easier, some are more technical... some climb and/or descend a lot, some change elevation very little. But one thing is for sure: it's all good! Great trails include Frontside, North Backbone, and Unkle Nazty. Individual sections of trails that haven't been added yet because I didn't ride them: Burn Pile, Backbone, Tenderfoot, Sand Dunes, and Prospector

* Review edited 6/17/2012

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


June 12, 2012
Review: Great network in a very cool town. Trails are well built and have very good flow. Nothing overly challenging (although I didn't ride Unkle Nazty). Did Frontside-Lil Rattler-North Backbone-Sand Dunes-Backbone-secret trail. Very very hot (desert-hot) and sunny, so better to do in the morning or late afternoon. Keeps you on your toes, as you'll be cruising along nice smooth singletrack then hit a little techie area, then keep cruising, etc. Variable terrain. Check it out, very worth riding

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


May 23, 2012
stillfat Trailblazer  
Review: Good mix of flowy trails and some seriously challenging technical stuff. All of it is narrow singletrack and seems to hug cliff sides, so lots of exposure for the majority of the ride.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


August 31, 2011
Tr0gd0r Trailblazer  
Review: Spent a day riding here, some really enjoyable singletrack. Mostly easy to moderately difficult singletrack. The notable exception is Uncle Nazty, which has some great tech sections that are worth scoping out the first time. Lots of fun descent options (Uncle Nazty to Prospector), but the flow is really disrupted by all of the off-camber-so-loose-the-trail-dissolves-beneath-your-tires-deathrap turns, so not much speed to be had.

Similar Trail: Rainbow Trail

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No

Arkansas Hills MTB Trail 4.02 out of 5 based on 15 ratings. 15 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Feature Article
Mountain Bike Destination: Salida, Colorado