This trail is roughly 30 miles with 5-6 of those miles above treeline. The first couple of legs of this ride are on the Colorado Trail (Copper to Camp Hale via Searle Pass and Kokomo Pass), where it's almost all singletrack, while the return is mostly on 4x4 road, double track, and paved bike path.
Start by finding your way into the heart of the Copper Village and look for the chairlift named American Eagle. The start of the trail is just to the right of the lift (before American Flyer) and is a dirt road that you'll see switchback up the hillside. After the first switchback, you'll see a rock painted white with the Colorado Trail symbol painted on it and a singletrack next to it. Continue to follow this trail as it meanders and switchbacks up Copper Mountain. There are many side trails that cut off the CO trail through this section, but the CO trail is clearly marked. This part of the trail has been heavily used by horses, but don't let the leftovers deter you, it'll quickly be over and the real riding will begin.
You'll eventually come out at a stream (Guller Ck) with a crossing and a long open valley. The horse traffic should be over, and you'll continue up the valley to above treeline. You'll top out after a bit of hike-a-bike at Searle Pass (12,035ft, 7mi).
Before you go beyond this point, make sure the CO weather is on your side. You've still got over 3 miles to Kokomo Pass (all above treeline) and on the return trip Ptarmigan Pass ( at treeline). Neither are good places to be in a thunderstorm.
If it all looks good, continue across the vast alpine tundra to Kokomo Pass (12,011 ft, 10 mi). This is arguably the best tundra riding in all of Colorado (similar to Monarch Crest, but without all the people).
Once you reach Kokomo Pass, the fun begins. You've got 3,000 vertical feet to drop to reach Camp Hale. The downhill has got just about everything you could think of: rolling singletrack, fast double track, switchbacks, loose technical sections, etc.
You'll reach the forest road at the valley floor. Take a right to contour around the bottom of the mountain through historic Camp Hale (home of the 10th Mountain Division during WWII). At the north end of Camp Hale, you'll see the 4x4 road (Ptarmigan Pass) heading up to the right (east). Continue up this road, for what will seem like an eternity until you top out at Ptarmigan Pass (11,772 ft, 23.4mi).
From the top of Ptarmigan Pass, you should be able to see I-70 and Vail Pass to the NE. Follow the 4x4 road as it drops off the pass for less than a mile to where it reaches a saddle on the ridge. The road will drop off the ridge to the left (west), but you want to take the small trail that drops off the ridge to the right (east). This is Wilder Gulch and it's all downhill from here.
Continue down Wilder Gulch until it reaches I-70. There are some very swampy spots through here, so be aware and stay on the trail! At the end of the valley, jump on the paved bike path and cruise back to your car.
Excellent ride. Difficult climbing, very fast and technical downhill. The second big climb up the fire road was waaaayyyy longer and steeper than I expected. I loved the whole loop and would definitely ride the Copper Triangle again when I'm in town.Thank |
These directions were way to imprecise after Camp Hale. Me and my buddy got dangerously lost because we took a 4X4 road off to the right for what seemed like an eternity just like the directions said. If it weren't for pure luck that there just happened to be a cabin at the top of our wrong turn with people to take us in who knows what would have happened. All things considered, the singletrack from kokomo to hale was incredible and I wish we could have finished the loop.Thank |
I was looking for an epic, memorable ride, and this was it. Several long climbs, the last of which kicked my butt (Ptarmigan Pass). The downhills were fun, but what stands out in my mind were the climbs. The section between Searle Pass and Kokomo pass provides great views.* Review edited 8/4/2011Thank |
Wow, this trail configuration is hard. I had no problem riding the Monarch crest trail including the rainbow trail, and this Trail makes the Monarch Crest a Joke in regards to difficulty. Bring extra water and food, because the elevation is going to beat you down. Prepare for alot of steep technical and some hike-a-bike sections. The trail is marked well and I had no problem following the discription. There are really just a couple spots to watch out for. Everything is marked really well all the way to Camp Hale, when you get there be sure to to take a right and ride the road till you see a sign for Resolution Road which you will follow all the way to Ptarmigan Pass. Go straight over the pass but be sure to look for a trail on the right (Wilder Gulch) that is not marked. There is an opening in the woods with a large log.Thank |
A friend and I just rode the trail on 8/23/07 and it is in great shape. The downhill from Kokomo Pass is one of the sweetest I've ever ridden. The climb out of Camp Hale to the top of Ptarmigan Pass is on a nice dirt road (heavily used by 4-wheelers), but still really tough. If you're looking for an epic ride, this is it!Thank |
Awesome first half!!! Arrived in Camp Hale, took a 4X4 road to the right and it was the wrong one! We wasted too much time, had to ride to Minturn and get a ride. Once you reach Camp Hale, go FAR North!. The first dirt road you see on your right is a dead end at a cabln and is a walk-a-bike road for more than 2 hours....Thank |
I didn't do very much of the trail but what I did ride was really nice.Thank |
Did this trail yesterday with slight variation. Started off Hwy 91 where the Colorado trail crosses head west crossing the ski area on fun singletrack. You will exit the area and enter into the long valley that brings you to Searle pass and on over the ridge crest and over to kokomo pass. Take plenty of time to soak in the amazing views you will receive. From Kokomo it is an orgasmic downhill till you get to Camp Hale. This is where my ride alters. I headed out to route 24 on Forest road and picked up 24 which is paved, all the way in to Minturn/ I 70, where I was picked up. The ride took 6 hours with breaks and picture taking. My best mountain bike ride of the year, so far.Thank |