This 14.88-mile "lollipop" loop has something for everyone. The route
detailed has 3,058 feet of total ascent if you ride to the summit of Jackson
Mountain (a "hill" by Rocky Mountain standards).
You can choose to bike from Pagosa Springs and add 4.2 miles (one way) to
the route described below - making it a 23-mile ride. The ride from town
starts with an easy, scenic, rural asphalt & gravel road. Once you reach the
Hershey Ranch (where the mileages below begin), you ride on a fairly flat,
dirt, jeep road following the creek that everyone in the family can ride and
At the end of the road you need to ford Snowball Creek, so it is wise to
wait for spring run offs to slow down before doing this ride. After you cross
Snowball Creek, you are on slightly steeper and rougher jeep roads.
Finally, stepping it up another notch, you climb a fairly demanding single-
track to the summit.
Ride whichever portion meets your level of interest and ability. The reward
for persevering to the top of Jackson Mountain is one of the sweetest
single-track descents (through aspen groves) in the Pagosa Springs area.
This ride is a local favorite partly because of its closeness and accessibility,
and partly because of the scenic beauty of the ride.
• Reset your bike computer/GPS unit at the entrance gate to the
• Ride through the ranch, respecting the private property on both sides
of the road.
• At 1 mile, you come to a fork in the road and a metal gate on the right
fork. Go through the gate – closing it behind you.
• The road drops down and follows Snowball Creek.
• At mile 4.3 you ford Snowball Creek and follow a jeep road on the
other side of the creek.
• At mile 5.26 you pass a large, old-growth ponderosa on your left.
There is a single-track shortcut here if you want to take it. Otherwise stay
on the jeep road, which is badly deteriorated in places. (Note: This is also
the point of departure for an additional lollipop loop incorporating some
singletrack and a couple doubletrack roads if you are interested in
extending your ride for a couple more miles. The singletrack is difficult to
see at the start. See/download the accompanying map.)
• At mile 5.59 (mileage calculated following the jeep road) you come to a
road junction. Turn right onto FR 738 E.
• At mile 6.88 you reach the end of the road. Continue straight and pick
up a single tack that loops to the right and climbs the hill.
• At mile 7.69 you arrive at the summit of Jackson Mountain. Stop for a
snack, catch your breath and enjoy the view.
• The trail follow the top of the ridge for a short ways then loops right
and begins a wonderful descent through the aspens.
• At mile 9.03 you intersect FR 738 E that you climbed earlier. Turn left
and retrace your route.
• At mile 9.45 you reach the FR 738 E junction you passed through
earlier. Continue to retrace your route back to your vehicle.
• At mile 14.88 you arrive back at the gate to the Hershey Ranch (mile
17 if you do the additional loop).