August 9, 2010
DO: Plan a trip to this region as it's beautiful and unique
DO: Bring your bike.
DO NOT: Plan a trip to this region specifically to ride.
Short Story: Beautiful trail, great views, not very long or challenging, but fun and worthwhile if already in area. Good trails to introduce new riders to backcountry mountain biking.
I've lived in CO my whole life and never been down to this area, the western side of the Lost Creek Wilderness. I was stoked we did. Its beautiful terrain. No alpine peaks but equally great: very unique rock formations like in the BuffCreek/Waterton region but bigger, blanketed in aspens.
We came down to spend a weekend with a bunch of friends, all with kids, so we stayed at the Spruce Campground, about an hour south of Jefferson. Great spot to set up shop: Tarryall Creek runs through it, great for tubing. Beautiful canyon, tons of hiking, no hookups but flat.
This area has a ton of amazing hiking trails, but they're almost all within wilderness. Brookside-McCurdy and Lizard Rock trails, though, have non-wilderness portions that are fun on an MTB, both rideable from Spruce CG. Unfortunately, while they can be looped together for what would be a 6.5 mile loop, you cannot legally do so because 3/4 mile of it is within wilderness. That said, its still worth bringing your bike if you already have plans to be in this area.
Brookside-McCurdy climbs out of the Twin Eagle CG (about 1.5 miles up road from Spruce) up to the wilderness boundary. At first the climb is steep and rough, but its definitely rideable. It then levels out a bit, then its an XC, mild climb to wilderness. It takes you through amazing aspen groves with some twisty berms and such that are a kick on the return downhill. Couple technical sections but cleaneable by advanced riders. It also offers windows of views into the Lost Creek and McCurdy Mtn. complex which features ridiculous rock formations, as well as glimpses of the 14ers Lincoln/Bross/Democrat way on the other side of South Park.
Since there aren't many technical sections and no major climbs this is a great trail to bring a novice MTB'er.
Go here in the fall and its going to be awesome when the aspens change.
Since MTB's are not allowed into wilderness Brookside-McCurdy is an out-and-back. However, its definitely worth hitting the Lizard Rock O/B trail, too, since its so close.