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The Continental Divide Trail (CDT) crosses Hwy 160 at the summit of Wolf
Creek Pass. If you are doing this ride during the summer monsoons, you
will want to get an early start. You donít want to be on the exposed ridge
at almost 12,000 feet during a lightning storm.
After warming up your knees in the parking area (yes, you have a climb
ahead of you), head south on the CDT. The first 1.5 miles is a steady climb
which your lungs will feel since you are over 11,000 feet of elevation.
The ride described here is a reverse lollipop. You will be riding along the
boundary of the Wolf Creek Ski Area for the loop part of the lollipop. As
soon as you top out on the ridge, enjoy the views to the west. Soon you
will be enjoying the views to the east as well. Donít rush. Take your time
and look around as you progress along the ridge.
At mile 2.9 you will pass behind Alberta Peak on what looks like a goat trail.
It has a wider tread than first appears. Even so, do your sight seeing with
one foot on the ground and pay attention to what youíre doing along this
stretch. You donít want to roll down that hill clipped into your bike!
At around mile 4 (depending if you got off the trail once or twice to look
over the edge at the views) the trail forks. Bear left on the less traveled
trail. Yes, this is the Continental Divide Trail.
Make a note of landmarks at mile 5.25. There is a small, almost hidden trail
angling backwards on your left and connecting to an old dozer track. This is
the trail you will use on your return to descend to the Wolf Creek Ski Area
Continue on the CDT to around mile 7.5 where you arrive at Railroad Pass.
This is a good place to turn around and head back. Take a break, walk
through the saddle and have a look around. You can keep going if you
want. The trail stays fairly level, crossing a couple scree (talus) fields for
almost another mile before it starts dropping off to Silver Pass. If you
continue to descend, just remember youíll have to climb back out.
Return to the (almost invisible) trail junction you marked earlier and head
downhill. Keep following the old dozer track, which becomes a double
track, then connects to Co. Rd. 391 which goes to Alberta Park Reservoir.
Turn left on this gravel road and you will soon find yourself in the parking
lot of Wolf Creek Ski Area. Continue onto Hwy 160, turn left (uphill) and
return to your vehicle at the summit (mile 14.83).
added by norski
on September 8, 2011
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