February 19, 2016
Pass Mtn Trail - I'm giving it a five to raise the average rank because others ranked it so low. The trail that goes around the mountain and over the saddle is not for the faint of heart, but it was the best mt. bike ride of my life! This is definitely expert territory. There are lots of places to get really hurt. I walked the hardest/rockiest sections. Lots of great scenery.
Most of the commentary on this trail says to ride it clockwise. I went CCW. My intent was to start from the Cat Peaks connector and go at least to the saddle to see the view, then decide whether I'd go all the way around.
The climb up to the saddle going CCW is not fun. I rode maybe 90% of it and walked the other 10%. Some of it is completely unrideable, but it's not difficult to push the bike over any of the rocky sections. I ride on flat pedals. It will be even less fun if you have to clip in and out.
The reward comes when you get to the saddle. The views are spectacular, and the ride back down the rest of the mountain is even better. The trail has great flow for the most part, almost completely downhill with only a few short easy climbs. Once you round the north end of the mountain and head back toward Usery park it gets really fast and flowing for several miles.
Next time I go I will probably ride up to the saddle CW then ride back down CCW, missing the treacherous downhill ride south from the saddle altogether.
If you don't have great biking skills skip Pass Mtn. Trail. Find a way to hook up Moon Rocks trail with Cat Peaks and concentrate on those. No heavy climbing (well a little bit of a climb at Cat Peaks) and lots of fun flowing trail.
Parking tip: You can park on Meridian road by the trailheads for Ruidoso trail or Meridian trail, and ride those to Cat Peaks. There is no parking fee on Meridian road, and you can access all the Usery trails from there.