August 31, 2014
This is one of my favorite trail systems in New Mexico! Some of the only high alpine riding in the state that is legal. The Northside property is situated between the Wheeler Peak Wilderness and the Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area. Elevations range from about 9200' in the parking lot to 12,163' at the top of Frazer Mountain. There are lots of trails to explore and learn, I've been riding up here for two years and stil haven't ridden every trail. There's a mix of every type of high altitude terrain, lots of narrow technical singletrack, open tundra with spectacular views of the Taos mountains and mesas, mellow flowy and curvy pine forest trails, double tracks winding thru aspen glades and old mining roads that eminate the mystique and vibes of the boom and bust times when these roads were built... This is one of the few places in New Mexico I feel like I'm in a backwoods wilderness away from the crowds of most resort areas, I wouldn't be surprised to see a ghost or sasquatch wandering around up here in the thick forest. It's clean, and pristine, the forest is healthy and the air is the best tasting anywhere. During June the wildflowers begin blooming and as the plants grow thru the Summer different flowers come out and the trails evolve into a varying kaleidoscope of micro-ecosystems... Nature... The best thing about being on this mountain. While some of the climbs are steep and a few short sections require hiking, most of the ascent routes are manageable and there's lots of places worth stopping to check out your surroundings. The downhill rides are worth every bit of effort put into the climb, some of the routes are fast up and down lines, others allow for longer up-down-up-down tours. There are legit dh trails like the Drainage Trail tho most are rideable on a cross country or hardtail rig. This is a well managed and cared for property; bighorn sheep, deer and sometimes elk are seen along with the smaller forest animals like bobcats, ermins and snowshoe hares. The only trail I've ever seen crowds on is the Bull of the Woods road which is open for public access to the Wheeler Peak Trail, for hikers and horses. Beyond this trail it is a lot more secluded and akin to wilderness, be prepared as you may not encounter another person for a while, pick up a map at the kiosk near the bottom. This is private land and the usage fees are very reasonable especially if you're going to have time to explore this area throughout the Summer. It is also a relatively young trail system, with lots of potential for new routes to be designed and built in the near future.
High alpine trails in Colorado (Monarch Crest, Summit County, San Juans etc.)