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 don't 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. Don't 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 you're doing along this stretch. You don't 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 parking lot.
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 you'll 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 doubletrack, 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
September 8, 2011