September 5, 2012
My son, a friend and I rode Elk Park yesterday morning as a DH shuttle, connecting with the Barr trail to finish down in Manitou. Wow, what a ride. Dropping over 5000' in just less than 12 mi, it throws pretty much everything a DH trail can throw at you except a major jump.
The trail is currently in great shape. The surface is just awesome. There is none of the deep scree that is typical of much of the PP region. It is fast, fun with many techy spots and gnar thrown in to keep you very honest.
The trail runs from PP Hwy and traverses PP for about 6 mi mostly through a beautiful mixed conifer forest of spruce, limber pine, bristlecone pine and aspen until it junctions with the Barr trail. Then it's just under 6 mi again down the Barr until you reach the bottom. Both trails are awesome and fast. Lots of little jumps. Lots of drops and obstacles made from rocks, roots and logs. The lower Barr has several switchbacks with multiple drops in many of them.
Directions: To get there, pay your $12 per person fee (ouch) at the bottom of PP Hwy. Then head up the beautiful, paved hwy until just before MM 14 (also 0.6 mi from the hairpin turn above Glen Cove). There you will see a small sign on your right, which says, "Timberline". At this sign but on the left side of the road, you will see a metal gate sort of hanging there cockeyed. There is no sign for the trail here, but turn left at the gate anyway, and drop onto a small dirt road. The trail begins on the first turn of this dirt road. Once again, there is no TH sign here either, but be assured this is Elk Park trail. And be assured, this trail will not disappoint you. It is one awesome ride.