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Level: Beginner
Length: 6 mi (9.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +2,906/ -720 ft
Total: 48 riders

Mountain Biking Little Rainbow

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#222 of 1,353 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#1,864 in the world

The Little Rainbow Trail proper is 5 miles of machine cut singletrack that traverses the contours on the lower flank of Methodist Mountain more or less parallel to, but lower than, the Rainbow Trail. Little Rainbow is a good description because it rides a lot like its big borther up the hill. It is possible to take roads up to the trailheads at each end (paved at the west, 4X4 on the East), but you'd be cheating yourself out of a killer singletrack climb and descent if you do. Since the East end is lower, I like to start there. There are two trails that go up from the parking area. The one that is marked right in front of where you should park is the "Lost Trail." This one is much better saved for the downhill on the return as it has portions that are unclimbable. Instead, look for the unmarked and not obvious "Racetrack" trail directly opposite the road from the "Lost Trail." Make the climb up Racetrack. You'll cross a dirt road--pick up the trail on the other side and keep climbing. You'll come to some cool eroded badlands and hook right--just a bit more climbing to reach the Little Rainbow Trail. When you hit a 4X4 road, look right and find the machine cut singletrack. Ignore the narrow "Dead Bird" trail as that will take you right back to your car. Ride the Little Rainbow as it roller coasters the countours of the mountain. After a couple miles, you'll cross a paved road. keep going another few miles--you can stay on Little Rainbow all the way out and back or drop to the right on the "Skull" trail then climb back up it or up CR 110 to the western trailhead and then head back. On the way back, make sure you don't miss the intersection with the "Lost Trail" (not currently marked, but it is a narrow trail intersecting Little Rainbow about a mile before you would run back into "Racetrack." It may be a good idea to lower your seat here as the trail flat out plummets in a couple places. Enjoy a screaming good downhill right back to your car!

First added by John Fisch on Nov 21, 2010. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Approaching Salida from the East on Highway 50, look for the left turn onto the not-so-well marked Burmac Road. If you see an old garage with a Big O Tires sign out front, you just passed it. Double back and take the first right then grab the first left that quickly dumps into a parking area. Park here.
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Little Rainbow Trail map

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Local Info

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mbeth (on Jul 12, 2021)
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Trail conditions

Dry (on Dec 29, 2017)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Salida, Colorado

Easiest | 3 mi
Beginner | 2 mi
Intermediate | 18 mi
Advanced | 9 mi

Rider questions

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  • triton189

    Wife and I took this trail for a spin and really enjoyed it. Perfect for her, not too much climbing from the trail head and smooth flowy singletrack. I shuttled her to the trail head to save her from the climb up.

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  • bikecandy

    This is a fast, fun, and non-technical trail. The swoops and dives of the trail flow well together. It's a perfect ride from town when you may be crunched for time and still want to fit in a good ride.

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  • Scott Anderson

    A great stretch of flowing single track. If you are going to do this as an out and back I recommend starting at Burmac Rd. TH and riding up Racetrack to access Little Rainbow. This gives you the climbing first as L. Rainbow flows uphill from East to West, making the return a super fun flowy ride. Stay alert for riders and hikers going both directions.

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  • tlongpine

    I rode it as a loop from CR 109 up to the TH, then back down to Salida.

    Desert single track that reminds me of ABQ foothills, Bootleg and The Gallup High Desert System.

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  • Jeff Barber

    This is a fast, flowy trail but it gets a little repetitive and there isn't a whole lot to look at out here. Still, it's nice to have a trail like this in town for beginning riders and those who want to stick close to town.

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  • LucindaInGA

    For a beginner trail, this one's loads of fun. Even the ride up CR110 from town to the western trailhead is scenic. Take the Racetrack trail down the hill from the eastern end of Little Rainbow. This is a great trail to start on if you're coming from a lower elevation and want to adjust to the altitude.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    A gorgeous, flowy (yet rocky in spots) singletrack trail above the town of Salida. No, it's no Monarch Crest Trail, but it IS an entertaining ride with some beautiful views.
    Since it is in the very dry Methodist Mountain area, this trail stays rideable for much of the year.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    There may have been an issue with the ranking system... It's ranked number 5,000 and something now. But I'd say it's BETTER than that, and way better than 1 star.

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  • rachlayne77

    I'm a beginner and this is a GREAT trail. If you want a killer one-hour or so workout, take (on your bike) County Road 110 from Highway 50 - it starts as a paved road for about 5 minutes then turns into a wide, dirt road for about the next 15. This is a pretty killer climb for a beginner like myself, but for an experienced rider this would probably be a moderate climb. Little Rainbow trail is on the left, and the only word to describe it is FUN. It's got plenty of downhill slopes, some mild uphill climbs, and some technical, tight turns. Basically, it's awesome. You can continue on at one point when it crosses a paved road (I haven't done that....yet) or you can take that paved road back to town for a killer downhill ride that takes about 5-8 minutes and will take you back to highway 50. I highly recommend this for a beginner rider, or any level, for that matter. It made me fall in love with mountain biking. :)

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  • John Fisch

    I thought this might be a nice trail--instead, it was GREAT! The climb up racetrack will get your heart rate up, but is completely doable. The Little Rainbow is pure singletrack fun as it countours the mountain with lots of little ups and downs but no extended climbs. Parts of the trail beg to ridden fast, especially on the return (west to east) leg. As noted in the description, if you're looking for a fun downhill, be sure not to miss the Lost Trail--you won't be disappointed. After some yankin' and bankin' on narrow, loose-rock singletrack, the trail will drop sharply--enjoy the plummet! Then the trail rollercoasters through some embedded rocks in the pinion forest, giving a rather Fruita-like experience. Finally, some fast, banked curves will bring you right back to the parking area. If you don't like out-and-backs, you could do like the locals do on the main Rainbow Trail and make it a loop from town, but that requires a good deal of road riding, including Highway 50. If you do, be sure to do it counterclockwise so you can take the singletrack portion fast (always watching, of course, for other trail users). This trail is a great addition to the already superb Salida riding repertoire! Check out SalidaMountainTrails.org for a good map (http://salidamountaintrails.org/little-rainbow-trail.html)

    * Review edited 11/20/2010

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