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Level: Intermediate
Length: 8 mi (12.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,062/ -1,077 ft
Total: 195 riders

Mountain Biking Devil's Backbone

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#163 of 1,353 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#1,150 in the world

Ask the locals, this is the best trail in the area. The devils backbone is beautiful enough, but there is much more to view. I've encountered rattlesnakes on the trail twice before, so they are out there. This trail area is three trails combined, the backbone, the wilds, and the hunters. Soon it will be connected to horsetooth and lory state park!!! Over 50 miles of trail. But for now the on the devils trail there is only one route for riders (the other is for hikers only), I recommed heading left when you reach the wilds loop, taking the stem (of the lollypop) out to the hunters trail and heading right on the pop. Either direction is fun on the wilds trail, but on the hunters if you go left, the rocks angle against you. There is very little shade on this trail.

First added by searsandrewj on Oct 11, 2004. Last updated Mar 15, 2022. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Lift service: no
  • Night riding: no
  • Pump track: no
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: no
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Starting from Taft and Eisenhower (highway 43) head west on highway 34. The has 2 lanes in each direction, the road will go down to one lane in each direction. The trail head is just a few minutes from this point. You will see a coffee shop (The Black Cup) on the right, after this bend you will see an old water tower on the right with a road before it. Turn right on this dirt road and you will see the a large Devils Backbone trailhead sign.
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Devil's Backbone Trail map

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Local Info

Trail checkins

John Jackson (on Oct 6, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Aug 11, 2019)
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Camping & Lodging

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Devil's Backbone videos

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Devils Backbone & Blue Sky Trails
Devil's Backbone: I love Jenna
Devil's Backbone
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Loveland, Colorado

Intermediate | 15 mi
Intermediate | 7 mi

Rider questions

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  • joebaloba

    I'm a southeastern visitor and enjoyed the trail from the parking area to Hunters Loop: not much difficulty, a mild climb. It got much harder on Hunters Loop with some steep rocky climbs, and I had to walk my bike a couple of times because of the combination of steepness and rockiness. A good rider would have less difficulty. The return trip to the parking lot was surprisingly downhill and fun -- the way up had not seemed like much of a climb but the downhill was nice. No shade; take water and be ready for the aerobic blowout if you're coming from sea level. This trail is at about 5,000 feet and put me in debt on Hunters Loop.

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  • jkey6

    This trail is a shining example of how to manage multiple types of trail users with trail design. Certain sections branch off and split up "foot travel" and "multi-use." This is a pretty exhausting ride if you do the entire park as an out-and-back (about 19 miles, 2k ft vert but the terrain can really slow you down in some spots). I recommend only doing the Laughing Horse Loop in the clockwise direction, if done the other way the rocks angle against you. Minus one star for heavy traffic, no shade, and rattlesnake frequency.

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  • bigAD

    One of my all time favorites when I lived in Fort Collins. A majority of the trail is twisty buff single track that is a hoot to descent. Good views. Watch for rattle snakes.

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  • Chad_Pease

    Trail gets very busy with hikers. Please stay home and watch more tv hikers.

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  • Larry Briggs

    Road for the first time early this afternoon because of the 60 degree December temperatures. Lots of varied sections. Some too steep and rocky for me but overall a good ride. Several spots had to walk it going up and down. Beautiful colors and views. Will ride again.

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  • ultrarabbit3

    Great trail over all, starts off pretty easy, then as you keep going you get a preview of what's to come. Definitely want to know your skill level for certain parts of this trail.

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  • Jared13   ✓ supporter

    Chunk, chunk, and more chunk! The "more difficult" part of the trail has some really impressive technical rocks. Later on, you get a rip-roaring descent. Indian Loop has a decent climb and descent to it. Unfortunately, my ride was cut short by hail/rain so I wasn't able to explore more.

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  • Gdb49

    Great trail, should be on your list to ride. Rode the loops opposite of recommended way and will tell you they are tough ups when ridden that dirrection. Fun down sections and beautiful scenery. Add Blue Sky and Indian Loop then to Horsetooth Res for a big ride. Also can head up to top of Coyote Ridge. Need to be in shape and like challanging ups for this trail, but all in all a great ride, will ride again.

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  • MaelstromWBC

    If there was one word to describe Devil's Backbone, I would choose 'chunky'. The trail starts out as fairly smooth singletrack for about two miles. Then begins the mild climbing. It's enough to put me out of breath. There's also some technical features that are extremely challenging going up, but super fun going down. You'll get to a trail fork. Going right is nearly expert level. Lots of slow technical stuff. Going left is mild, but still some walking parts. Once you get to an overlook, if you continue dropping down into the river valley, you're on Blue Sky. So, if you just want to do the backbone, turn around. I work 15 minutes from this trail, so I do it quite a bit. It's a good trail for someone who is intermediate level, because it will have challenging parts, parts to admire being able to get through, and parts that you can fly though. So it's a good mix that keeps you from getting bored. Some of the trail is also very very wide. So you can 'choose your line' to make it as difficult or easy as you like. The large rocks make this one of the few trails that made me wish I had a nice full suspension 29er vs my 26. Definitely bring your full suspension mountain bike, and knee pads if you have them. The trail will have a bit of hikers and runners and dogs, but mostly in the first few miles. Also watch out for equestrians, too. I'd say this trail is a bit more challenging than many other 'blue/intermediate' trails listed on Singletracks. Physically, it's fairly easy due to little climbing compared with many CO trails, but it's almost 6 miles of chunk. Don't go on this trail unless you are used to obstacles that can easily cause over the bars or 'superman' crashes.

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  • blask06

    I'm new to mountain biking so this trail was a little tough for me, but with some walking it was doable. Good for an afternoon ride. Connects to horse tooth if you're up for it. Seemed like it was all up hill, but the ride back down was fun

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  • stumpyfsr   ✓ supporter

    Nice trail with some tough sections and rolling singletrack. Very well maintained. locals say its best in Ft. Collins area. Blue Sky trail has blind corners, so be careful out there. Looks like its connected to Horsetooth trail too, I didn't check this yet. Overall good ride here with something for everyone. Devil's Backbone remotely reminds me Porcupine Rim

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  • alskoj   ✓ supporter

    From the other reviews looks like you'll either love or hate this trail. There is some good singletrack here but there's also a lot of rocky sections ("way too much" according to my 16 year old son). Definitely ride this trail if you're from the local area - you can always turn around if you don't like it. Blue Sky trail is to the north. A much better option in our opinion.

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  • Tr0gd0r

    Meh. Not a bad trail by any means, but nothing to write home about. Not much flow to be had, just a lot of tooth rattling. Despite all the rocks, there are hardly any real technical challenges (save a couple unrideable spots). Has a few little grunts, but no serious climbs. When riding in this area, I think I'll just stick to the Ginny trail.

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  • sniswend

    My second favorite trail in the area. Lots of loose rocks and sand from recent trail work. First few miles always seem to be busy with hikers and bikers. Great climbs and down hills.

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  • Michael Paul

    This trail starts out with a lot of foot traffic from hikers and easy rolling wide singletrack. Don't let that foot you. This trail is chok-a-block with row after row of technical rock sections, tight corners, fast descents, and unforgettable vistas. Epic mileage. I would highly recommend this for XC or Trail riders.

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  • DanK_NoCo

    The first ~1.5 miles is easy dirt, with some ok views of the backbone. However, the mtb trail (east part of the Wild Loop) doesn't get really close to the rocks - you have to be a hiker for that trail. The mtb part of Hunter's loop is a steep, but doable climb with a few steps. The Laughing Horse is where things really get fun (why I gave this a trail a 4). The entire loop is really rocky. The west side of the loop is challenging, but ridable. The east side adds a few super challenging obstables. You can continue north on Blue Sky, connecting to a bunch more trails: Indian Summer, Rimrock to Coyote Ridge, and the trail systems of Horsetooth and Lory Parks. I typically miss traffic by riding during weekdays, or riding in on Blue Sky.

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  • cucycling44

    One short but very steep climb. Back loop as several technical rock sections. The downhill back to the parking lot is fast and open. Great after work ride.

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  • kuala_tahan

    Wouldn't recommend this trail. Tons of hikers and horses. I love rocky/technical trails, but the rocks take away any speed/flow that the trail has to offer, in addition to having to stop every few feet for hikers. Drops - didn't come across anything noteworthy. Not even very good singletrack, trail is as close to doubletrack as can be without really becoming doubletrack. There's way better front range rides

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Bottom Line
    Classic Colorado Front Range Hogback singletrack dishing up uber-rocky trails and grandiose views!

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  • danny_mcspadden

    trail has a lot of fun fast drops, short climbs pretty veiws of the rockies, and is easy to find i loved it, im from tennessee flew out to meet a friend he told me about this place so we went a must ride trail onlt takes a couple of hours

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