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Level: Advanced
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Doubletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: -
Total: 12 riders

Mountain Biking Rainbow Trail: Westcliffe

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#530 of 1,346 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#5,397 in the world

This trail is pretty lame. When I read the description in the MTB Colorado Springs Falcon Guide I was stoked for the 30 miles of singletrack and one of the best rides in Colorado. After driving about 2 hours from Colorado Springs, we finally made it to the trail. First of all, the trail can hardly be called singletrack. If anything, it is a very wide singletrack, wide enough to accommodate a wide ATV. The biggest disappointment, however, was the large amount of rocks covering most of the trail. These rocks ranged from fist to head size and they were littered all over the trail. It is almost impossible to get any kind of rhythm going when trying to ride on flat to slightly upward sloping trail. I took a bunch of pictures (see sample below) to show you what I mean. There were a few short stretches of trail that were sweet - smooth trail, lots of trees, etc. For the most part, however, the trail stunk.

First added by Jeff Barber on Jan 1, 2003. Last updated Apr 30, 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
From Westcliffe, take CO Hwy 69 about 11 miles. Turn left onto county road 198. Follow the signs to the Rainbow Trail Trailhead, about 4 miles in.
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Rainbow Trail: Westcliffe Trail map

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Trail conditions

(on Jan 1, 1970)
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  • lfilonowich

    It has been a couple of years since I rode this trail, but 3 of us roade off from the Horn Creek Resort trail head and rode toward Hermit Road. I was a bit skeptical of this ride at first because my first encounter with it did include loose baby head river rock. This time the baby head was filled in with dirt and was very rideable. I can say his trek does include about everything mountain-bikeable except the big hops/drops. The three of us started about 12:00 noon and were at the resort by 5:00PM for chow. Watch out for the reviews that are 4 years or older because the trail changes as fast as the weather.

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  • bonkedagain

    Given the wide variance in the reviews of this trail, my buddy and I decided to give it a try. We started at the Hermit Creek road, and headed north. After about six miles I stop and ask my partner "Have you had enough yet?" His reply was "I'd had enough about a mile ago." This trail is nothing more than an ATV trail that skirts along the base of the Wet (east) side of the Sangres. Other than the scenery it has no interesting features. Just easy up and down, grinding your way thru the woods on an ATV trail, puncuated with maddening stretches of churned up rocks from the ATVs. There are so many better places to ride. Just go north to Salida and hit the trails in that valley. You can even hit the Monarch Crest which drops into the start of the north end of the Rainbow Trail and is actually fun to ride. The stretch along Methodist Mountain is well worn in by pedal powered two-wheelers and is also a lot of fun. Skip this section.

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  • Pain_Is_Relative

    I have taken this ride every year for the last 3 years. While I have never done the entire trail I have done two portions of it around the Hayden Creek Campground. I have read the poor reviews of this trail and agree that ATVs and Motorbikes have done damage to the trail. However, I have found a portion which I think has some of the greatest riding in Colorado. Here is the secret. I start at the Hayden Creek campground and ride up the Rainbow trail as high as I can go. Then I sit down, slug some water and a clif bar, and prepare for the adrenaline pump down hill. According to trail maps and signs there is a lake 5 miles from the Hayden Creek campground; good luck I have never made it. Oh, just so you know most of the ascent will be spent on your feet. I recommend spending the night at either the Coaldale campground or the Hayden Creek campground. The scenery around this area is worth the 2 1/2 hour drive from Denver. To get there, search the internet for the Hayden Creek campground in the San Isabel National Forest.

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