This is an advanced epic ride located in the Cochetopa Hills. The Continental Divide is only about 11,000 ft. and below timberline. This was another hard ride. It's 11 mils up to the CDT/Colorado Trail from Needle Creek Reservoir then a couple more miles climbing to the Dutchman Creek Trail. Somehow I missed the turn and was 4 miles past Dutchman Creek Trail before I figured it out! Lots of softball to basketball sized rocks made the riding even harder! Dutchman Creek Trail wasn't much better. The first mile of Dutchman Creek was a nightmare. There were never any waterbars cut into the trail. The water from all the rain has carved a perfect channel right down the trail even around the switchbacks. The lower section has some redeeming qualities though. Smooth, fast and fun. Then you have to find your way out and climb back up to Needle Creek Reservoir. I thought the guide book was kind of confusing it mentioned roads that were barely visible. It's still the best insurance that you will make it back before dark!
The route is pretty simple. From Needle Creek Reservoir ride up the main road (FR 781) to Razor Creek Trail continue up the valley to the CDT/Colorado Trail left to Dutchman Creek Trail. From the bottom of Dutchman Creek route finding back to Needle Creek Reservoir is difficult due to all the ATV trails and old roads. Map: Trails Illustrated 139 La Garita/Cochetopa Hills. This might help find your way.