Oil Well Flats

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SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
****
4.31 out of 5
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Intermediate
15.0
miles

Singletrack
↑ 2,000 ft
↓ 1,900 ft
5,935
elevation (ft)

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Trail Description
About this trail
Oil Well Flats is a brand-new singletrack trail system being built around old 4x4 and doubletrack roads. There's currently over 10 miles of brand-new sweet singletrack to ride, with many more miles already under construction and planned for the future.
This trail system is undoubtedly cross-country oriented, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Some of these trails are rather technical, incorporating many natural rocks and features for a very pedally, technical disposition.
That said, all of the singletrack is superbly designed, contouring with the land and passing by some of the most interesting and scenic features.
Thanks to the unique climate surrounding Canon City, this area stays very dry, even during the winter.
Be sure to bring a camera for all of the fantastic views, and a little suspension for the rocks wouldn't hurt, either.
added by Greg HeilWorld Champ
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
 

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Q: Is there any camping near the trails? -Guest

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Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Stratton Open Space / The Chutes
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (247 total check-ins)
  ye11ow   on Sep 15, 2019
  ye11ow   on Jul 1, 2019
  dgoodwell   on Jun 29, 2019
  ye11ow   on Jun 29, 2019
  ye11ow   on Jun 28, 2019
Photo & Video Gallery (133)
Trail Photos & Videos (133)
 
Reviews (32)
 

Gnarly


May 12, 2019
Gdb49 Gnarly  
 
Review: This is absolutely an intermediate level trail area, if there are an easy sections they are just long enough to catch your breath or because the trail builders were so brilliant that you don't notice what you're riding. This originally started with the 3 main loops- Tectonic, Unconfomity, and Island in the Sky. There was a fair amount of road riding, but with the addition of a few great miles of singletrack called Anticline this has all but been eliminated. Now TBD has been added and to not give this 5 stars leads me to believe not all the trails have been discovered. They should have named TBD FFF- Fast, Fun, and Flowy. Must have hit 20 jumps and think I missed at least that many. If you ride Island in the Sky "backwards" it's tough and lacks flow. Fractured has also been added to the system and offers a gentler option. Fire canyon is a blast downhill section. As a Colorado Springs resident, this is more than just a bad weather option, it is a "GoTo" spot. What an absolutely brilliantly built area- Thank you to the builders and LAMBA! Start from the lower parking lot, Tectonic, Anticline, down and back on TBD, Anticline, Unconformity, Island in the Sky, down Fire canyon, Tectonic.

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Epic


February 10, 2019
mongwolf Epic  
 
Review: Very good local ride for those living in Canon City, and a great resource for those living in the Front Range region when the snow starts to add up. However, at 6000-6700' in elevation the Flats are about the same elevation as COS. So maybe it is not as big of a difference/improvement as we all hope. The Lake Pueblo trails are the driest trails in the region sitting 1000-1500' below Oil Well Flats. In terms of the riding, starting at the Tectonic Shift THD, it is a very easy 6 mile climb to the top of Island in the Sky, riding CW. There are definitely some fun features along the way. The descent off of Island in the Sky is ROCKY for about a half mile ... Hell on rocks ... actually it wasn't too bad, but definitely keeps throwing rocks at you, and definitely advanced riding. It's pretty cool they put the trail through that area. Overall, the entire system has a nice mix and is a fun, rocky, curvy system. I'll be back.

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Granny Gear


April 23, 2018
 
Review: Fantastic place to ride when the weather in the springs and/or front range isn't great!

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Granny Gear

September 17, 2017
 
Review: How I wish this was my back yard. Not an epic ride, but lots of fun. It's a little flat, so constantly working with a little payoff at the end. Lots of rock obstacles to clear and good technical fun. Beautiful setting. Given it's location in a less precipitous region, I could see this being a winter ride haven. At 13 miles of trails and plenty of short segments that all connect, it would be awesome for after work rides. Great place to learn skills, easy enough for family, challenging enough to be fun.

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Bunny Hop

March 20, 2017
 
Review: I rode 2 of these trails, one rated green,but was not an easy trail, and a blue rated that was fairly difficult, these are rocky, technical trails with a few easy spots. Not for the novice rider. It would get easier the more you rode the trail and became familiar with the difficult sections. But great views and a fun ride. Looking forward to more trails built in this area!

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Gramcounter

November 14, 2016
Kristyne Gramcounter  
 
Review: Quite dusty on this trail and we believe we did it backward because we went up lots and lots of rock garden however our descent was more single track with minimal amounts of rocks and obstacles. I think done in the reverse it would have been amazing. I personally felt like there was no flow to the trail which I didn't care for but island in the sky views were spectacular. We plan to do again in the reverse.

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June 12, 2016
Guest   
 
Review: Next Fruita... UMMM no! Its an ok trail system. Don't buy the hype.

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Granny Gear

May 15, 2016
 
Review: Before you balk at my rating, I will add two important caveats: I drove here from downtown Denver (so distance is a factor in my rating) and I am a relatively experienced endurance MTB racer (e.g. I ride a ton of trails and rarely less than 30 miles).

On with the show.

Oil Well flats is a newer (or newly renamed) collection of trails outside of Cañon City. That much you know. Descriptions and general "social media" buzz make it sound like a collection of trails on par with those at Buffalo Creek, or (even) Fruita. Those folks either have not done significant riding in either of those areas or are liars...

I drove down on what turned out to be a nice day, and managed to ride all of the trails (save for the "Path of Least Resistance" connector), several of them multiple times. That includes, Fracture (up and down), Tectonic Shift (up and down), Anticline (upish... it is rolling up and down either way), Islands In The Sky (once, the suggested way making the "rock crawling" part the climb and riding the more flow heavy section down), Unconformity (some of it up and all of it down, twice), and Fire Canyon.

The trails were fun, but they were not at all what I was expecting. They were overly hyped... by a long shot.

Normally on days when the weather is a bit off in the Golden/Denver area and I'm loathe to do more road training, I drive to Buffalo Creek and do Nice Kitty, Little Scraggy, Shinglemill, Baldy, Charlies, Millers, Sandy, etc. Usually to the tune of 30-40 miles (repeating or doubling back at times), and I can ride all of that terrain, up and down, without putting a foot down. (Blackjack is another story, though I can clean a good bit of it, if I'm feeling sassy) I say this to compare and contrast the two. Coincidentally enough, last week I was in Fruita for a few days at the Bookcliffs (18 road), and had just made a stop at the new(er) Avon trails (Lee's Way Down, etc). I've ridden all over Colorado, all of the big classics, all over the Front Range, from the Cheyenne Canyon (Upper & Lower Jacks, Seven Falls, St Marys, Jones, The Chutes) and Palmer Park ares of Colorado Springs, to all about Rampart Range Road (the reservoir, etc), all over Golden, all over Boulder, Ft Collins, etc. I mention all of this because I am not being mean with my review of OWF.

The rating system is a bit bizarre. It seemed to indicate the overall "roughness" of a trail versus the actual technical difficulty. For example, Fracture (as a descent) is the closest to a "flowy" trail there. It features high banked turns, lots of built up rock drops as optional lines (I hit all of them, because "duh"), but it is fairly flat. There are no steep grades either up or down and this means lots of pedaling even with minimal braking. This trail is marked as a "green" trail, or beginner. Then you have "Island in the Sky" which has two pieces. The southernmost part (going right where Fire Canyon goes left), starts off gently enough, but soon you are riding over rather rough rock fields that seem to go on for some time. This isn't technical, not in a way I would use the term (e.g. requiring handling skills and courage), but rather sort of unrelenting. It reminds me of climbing Jeep roads. Thump. Thump. Thump. It requires some skill, but is really just rough. The second part, after climbing to the top, is more of a "flowy" descent, but compared to trails that are commonly described that way (say the Kessel Run in Fruita or Sandy Gulch in Buffalo Creek) it is not. It is, however, bereft of the loose boulders and rocks that are strewn about most of the trails at OWF. The descent, is actually less technical than that of Fracture (assuming you ride the northern most leg that way). You could ride it in reverse, but this would be a rough descent. Perhaps most likely enjoyed on full suspension plus sized bike, but even then... That trail is OWF's sole "black" or "advanced" trail.

I always enjoy long, steep, somewhat technical climbs and fast, flowing, descents. I found neither in the Oil Well Flats.

All of that said, I feel I should expand on what I liked about it.

Fracture was fun, probably the best trail here only because it had the most "flow." Anticline, Tectonic Shift, and Unconformity are different. While fun, they are not overly technical, nor are they very steep. The upper part of Unconformity is probably the second most enjoyable trail (subjectively, of course). It did have some rather sharp switch backs I only cleaned once (which require some nose manual pivots, and trials skills I don't always get to employ).

That said, I do not understand the rating system and I really would not chose this over Buffalo Creek or even a day trying to clean Templeton (in Palmer Park)... which is not really physically demanding in the way a long MTB day normally is.

If I lived in Cañon City, I would ride here all the time and my ratings would be different, I'm sure. But as it is, I found it to be short, not especially technical, and just not steep enough to be up my alley. If someone has told you it is remotely like Fruita or BC (two of my personal favorite places), they just haven't ever been to either or not ridden the trails most folks speak of when they refer to the two.

But all said, kudos to the Cañon City Crank Pedalers, the BLM, and LAMBA for building them. They are good trails, but they were not even close to what I expected and I would not recommend driving more than an hour to ride them.

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Trailblazer

May 9, 2016
tetontom Trailblazer  
 
Review: GREAT riding in a very scenic setting. Coming from Golden/Denver, I'd say it's not a great value, however, unless the Jeffco/Buff Cr. trails are not rideable. Roughly 2 hrs in the car for each hr of trail riding... I think next time I'll bring camping kit and ride a day at Lake Pueblo while I'm there. But, I think there are quite a few stretches of wet/snowy conditions that make this a worthy destination for winter and early spring riding. Superbly crafted trails; no awkward switchbacks or water-bars. No monster climbs (I don't think you're ever really going uphill for more than 10 minutes on any of the trails). I guess the inverse is also true; don't expect any epic descents, either. Seems all the trails could be ridden I either direction; I went ccw up Island in the Sky and it was tough, but still very rideable. "Pedally" is a good word to describe the bulk of the riding... LOTS of terrain per mile! People calling any of the trails "flowy" are maybe exaggerating a bit.

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Doubletrack


May 1, 2016
chefmark Doubletrack  
 
Review: NIce trail well worth the drive for front rangers. Rocky front range type of terrain. Some of my favorite style of trail

Similar Trail: Palisades

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Oil Well Flats MTB Trail 4.31 out of 5 based on 32 ratings. 32 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
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