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Level: Intermediate
Length: 25 mi (40.2 km)
Surface: Fire Road
Configuration: Network
Elevation: -
Total: 4 riders

Mountain Biking Shelf Road Recreation Area

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#678 of 1,346 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#6,927 in the world

This is a sizeable BLM area primarily dedicated to rock climbing. The area is 80+ percent fire roads with a good amount of ATV track and just a smidge of singletrack thrown in. There is a network of attached loops and a lot of dead-end out and backs to contend with. There's no real prescribed route--this is an area to just spin cranks, explore and enjoy the varied and very interesting scenery. From the parking area, take either fork and go up--when you reach an intersection, pick a direction and go--While there's not a lot of trails, there this is a big enough area that getting lost is a possibility--a map and compass are highly recommended. Most intersections are signed, some are not, and those that are only indicate the designation for one of the three or four trails available, so they may leave you scratching your head without another reference.

First added by John Fisch on Mar 19, 2012. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • 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
Head north out of town on the Shelf Road, signed as Field Avenue in town. Travel 12 miles north from the intersection of Field and Central; as the road makes a hard right at the 12 mile mark, bear left into the Shelf Road Recreation Area. Follow the main route into the area, climbing steeply up a sometimes rough road. Park at the day use parking area just past "The Bank" camping area.
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Shelf Road Recreation Area Trail map

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Trail conditions

Open (on Aug 19, 2012)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Canon City, Colorado

Beginner | 0 mi
Easiest | 14 mi
Advanced | 5 mi
Intermediate | 7 mi

Rider questions

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  • MikenIke

    This is actually at Sand Canyon Recreation area & the Cliffs. Bring water and supplies, it gets Hot.

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  • rcraft6826   ✓ supporter

    This is definitely a good place for beginners. Overall the area has great scenery but if your looking for anything that isnt big double wide trails and fire roads this place isnt for you. Some of the fire roads can provide a good cardio workout, still definitely a good place to take someone for there first time.

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  • John Fisch

    This is not a trail I'd recommend for its own sake--being mostly fire road and doubletrack, what's under your knobbies is rarely of interest. Some of the road is rocky, actually making is more interesting than the singletrack which is usually deep, soft gravel & sand. In some cases, lack of use allows some doubletrack to fade out completely, making route finding more challenging.

    Here's what the area does have going for it:
    1. Spectacular scenery. There are rugged, vertical walled canyons, pinion, juniper and ponderosa forests and meadows, beautiful red rock mountains and rock formations, and sweeping vistas of surrounding mountains.
    2. Despite the elevation (mostly in the 7,000 - 8,000 foot range), this is a dry area--so if you want to get in some early season training at altitude, this is a good place to do some sizeable climbs and log a lot of miles.

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