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Level: Intermediate
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,789/1 ft
Total: 51 riders
 

Mountain Biking Penitente Canyon

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#135 of 1,322 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#1361 in the world

This trail is actually divided into two different trails (A and B). We combined both to make a total of about 7 miles. (Counterclockwise) The A trail has some pretty technical spots with a bunch of boulders and rocks to work yor way up. The uphill sections are short and kinda technical but really fun. some 1,2, and 3 foot drops make this section extremely fun. Trail B is not very technical since it leaves the canyon and leads back to the road. It is actually part of a dirt road for a few miles. Be careful when flying down the road sections they are really loose and full of sharp rocks that could cause some serious injuries if you were to wipe out.
Oh yea, some boneheads seem to think it is funny to change the signs around so take a good look at the trailhead maps so you dont get mixed up and end up on one of the hiking trails.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • Restrooms 
Getting there
From Del Norte travel North on HWY 112 for aproximately 5 miles then turn left onto 33 (dirt road) follow thos for apprximatly 10 miles. There will be signs for the park on the left side of the road. There are 2 pulloffs for the park go to the second road and find a place to park. We parked at the intersection and biked in, but you can drive up the road to some camoing areas to park closer to the trailhead.
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Penitente Canyon Trail map

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co_flyer (on Sep 12, 2019)
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Good (on Apr 14, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Del Norte, Colorado

*****
Intermediate | 10 mi
***
Intermediate | 6 mi

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Reviews

  • tcmtb
    *****

    As of 4/11/17 Everything is running great dry, fast,fun.

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  • Steve Harper

    BTW ! Stop at Three Barrels Brewery in Del Norte was great. Locals are very nice repaired my tire also at kens automotive service good service.

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  • Steve Harper
    ****

    I only rode a little bit of the trail . I rode blue sky loop from Campground intermediate trail . I believe this was called A loop? I rode down B loop a small ways. Then to truck where I was generous to receive a flat tire, so ended day. Area has great potential for becoming a great epic mountain bike mecca like moab dessert area, just not quite there yet trails not marked very well at all.

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  • Fool Man Chew
    *****

    These trails have been partly reworked, and many loops of varying miles have been added recently. The "A loop" which is mentioned in many reviews has been reworked and is now called the blue sky loop and is a local favorite. Do not try biking Witches canyon unless you want to carry your bike over large boulders, but rock drops, san juan iglesias, and many of the other trails in this system which of this date aren't even mapped yet since they are out of blm and onto forest land are flat out gnarly and fun!!!...take your friends and gopros out and explore these trails. They are fast, there are thousands of natural rock features that are basically miles of stunts, and the fun you will have depends entirely upon your level of expertise...sky is the limit!!

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  • Greg Heil
    Reviewing Ute Loop:
    *

    Pretty uninteresting due to boring landscape and lack of technical features, and hard to ride due to deep sand. A lose-lose in my book.

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  • Greg Heil
    Reviewing Lunch Gut:
    ****

    This rocky descent is challenging, loose, and difficult to follow at times, but it's a ton of fun!

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  • wrestle203
    ****

    this is one of my favorite trails in Colorado. the flow is amazing. ride both the A & B loops

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  • Greg Heil
    ****

    An intricate network of trails with some technical features mixed in and among some beautiful desert rock. Some of the trails are much more inspired than others, and the trail markings are pretty abysmal in places, but this is an entertaining playground with great potential!

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  • gkoers
    *****

    While the A and B loops are fun, keep in mind that the trail system has been significantly expanded recently. For an extended ride with more technicality, connect with the Ute Loop, Lunch Gut, and Rock Drop trails to the Blue Sky Loop and finish descending B loop. This is a must do ride that is definitely a Colorado hidden gem. If you like great views, solitude, and fantastic singletrack, this is the ride for you.

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  • shroomey
    *****

    I absolutely love this trail. I live in Monte Vista and go to Penitente all the time, whether to go biking or climbing. If you ride the A loop CW about half way through then take a left where it says Witch's Canyon it makes for some super awesome riding. The Witch's Canyon loop is not marked on the outdated trail map, its a little more technical then the A loop but makes for a longer funner ride. The Witch's Trail also has some awesome 4-7 foot drops. If you have any questions hit me up!

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  • abegold
    *****

    There are now a bunch of trails, much of it tech riding in dirt and sandstone. Some intersections marked by trail initials, others not. You'll find a surprise around every corner. I'd suggest riding A Trail as an out and back or riding it clockwise as 1/6 of it is doubletrack that completes the loop while the rest is tech singletrack. Lots of humped sandstone to play on. Several trails lead off the loop, explore!
    Some trails closed to bikes but I saw only 1 other bike and no hikers. Elevation is 8800'. 30+ miles of trail now!* Review edited 5/23/2012* Review edited 5/25/2012* Review edited 8/23/2012

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  • norski
    ****

    BLM has added new trails and added signage to this network. There is something for everyone here if you arrive with different levels of riders in your group. Take time to walk up Penitente Canyon and Witches Canyon (but don't try biking them ... you'll end up hiking your bike). They are very interesting and scenic. This is a rock climber mecca and some of the trails are for them to get from one area to another. These connector trails are not good biking choices.

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  • PangeaElysium
    *****

    The A loop at penitente canyon near Del Norte, CO is definately my favorite of all the loops. It is better ridden clockwise in my opinion. The uphill is mostly on a 2 track leaving all the technical and descents over rocks for the downhill. There are quite a few small drops, and long skinny rock croppings to balance on and ride up and down through the course of the trail making it super fun. This fast easy loop is one of the best rides Ive ever done, and Ive done all the best.

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  • mtbtrucker
    *****

    The A loop was challenging for me but was awesome and fun. I actually did better than I expected but because of the lack of skills and oxygen, I had to hike the bike a few times. Lots of boulders to go over or around. Great scenery. The B loop is easy and fast but be careful not to miss your cutoffs because your having so much fun ripping up the road.

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  • southforkmtbkr
    *****

    The A Loop is super fun singletrack, and now with the new trails branching off of it, you can spend a good half day riding the trails. For a video of the trail visit www.southforktrails.com* Review edited 3/21/2011

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  • John Fisch
    ****

    The A loop is super cool, but short. It's a good out and back loop trail (a loop that's equally good and somewhat unique in each direction, so you ride it "out" one way and "back" the other.") There are plenty of techy spots on the trail and many optional cool rocks and spines on the edges of the trail. My recommendation is to ride the A loop CCW then back CW and ignore the B loop unless you are looking for some easy non-tech miles. Only the short distance of the A loop keeps this from being a 5-star trail. It may not be worth a destination trip, but it's a must stop if you're passing through the San Luis Valley.* Review edited 8/20/2010

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