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Tags:
Level: Beginner
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +855/874 ft
Total: 45 riders
 

Mountain Biking Soapstone Natural Area

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#733 of 1,345 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#8151 in the world

Soapstone is a brand new trail network owned and managed by the City of Fort Collins. Currently there are 30+ miles of trails when you include the adjacent Red Mountain Open Space (Larimer County), and Big Hole Open Space (Cheyenne) all of which are connected.

A storm chased me out but I was able to do the Mahogany Trail and Mahogany Loop (access from upper lot) -- these are fun and flowy, with less rock than we are used to here in FC. None of the climbs are extended, and each climb seems to top out on a ridge with awesome views to the south and west. Switchbacks are manageable and I did not need to dismount at all during the ride. The loop is about 3.3 miles and the "trail" which takes you to the loop is about 1.8 miles.

I also rode the Canyon trail from Mahogany East -- got about a mile and a half before I had to cruise out to beat a storm, but what I saw of Canyon it is beginner doubletrack (an old service road?) -- a bit sandy in spots, but not rocky. Canyon will connect to Cheyenne Rim, which a Ranger had told me has amazing views.

A route the ranger recommended is (from the lower lot) Cheyenne Rim N to Canyon E to Mahogany S to Pronghorn S. Sounds like a great loop -- that's next for me. You can find a map on the city's natural areas website.

First added by wonderbread on Jun 12, 2009. 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
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Getting there
Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (25 miles, one way) From Fort Collins take Hwy 1/ Terry Lake Road north, turn left onto County Rd 15 and travel north to Rawhide Flats Road. Turn right (north) onto Rawhide Flats Road and follow it to the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area entrance station.
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Soapstone Natural Area Trail map

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jabz (on Aug 6, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Apr 25, 2019)
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Rider questions

Q: Can I bring my dog

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Reviews

  • brett.williams
    ***

    Lots of doubletrack. Cheyenne Rim could be great fun, but the gravelly surface made me uneasy when catching air.

    You'll almost definitely see antelope. It's pretty remote, and entirely exposed to the sun. Go early in the morning if it is summer!

    The Mahogany loop offers the best mountain biking. Pronghorn Loop is a great place to bring the kids.

    Overall, it's nice and definitely not crowded. But consider that it only takes 20 more minutes (coming from FtC) to get to Curt Gowdy.

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  • brett.williams
    ***

    Pronghorn Loop is a good place to bring the kids--it's not technical, but does have some rollers for some fun. Mahogany Loop is the most interesting trail of the bunch, but is short. The Canyon Trail is just a long doubletrack.

    Cheyenne Rim has some neat views of the red mountains to the west. It is a long descent, but the fun is diminished by the consistently loose and gravelly surface, which blunts your speed.

    You're pretty much guaranteed to see antelope (and I ran over a rattlesnake). Be warned, the Canyon/Cheyenne rim trails are remote with limited cell phone coverage. If you get stranded, it's not likely anyone will be by soon.

    It's not a bad ride, but for 20 more minutes of driving you could be at Curt Gowdy.

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  • Ryan Ruhle
    ****

    A lot of great views, if missing some technical features for the majority of the trail. Definitely something to take the family and kids to if you want a lazy afternoon ride with great scenery!

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  • vbeckman74
    *****

    This is the loop I wanted the Edge Loop in Fruita to be. The climb is gradual, but will make you work a little, but the downhill you get from that little bit of work goes on forever. It's fast and fun. The views are great and far.

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  • MaelstromWBC
    ****

    My girlfriend and I did this ride on our 2013 Salsa Fargos (rigid, drop bar, 29ers). She is a novice rider and I am intermediate. The trail has a mix of old two track jeep roads and lots of singletrack, but mostly narrow singletrack. We started on Pronghorn Loop, which is laid out very well. Not too windy and flows very very well. She really liked that trail. We then began on Cheyenne Rim Trail, which is mostly a jeep road but turns into singletrack. The Cheyenne/Canyon trails have about 2000 feet of climbing over about four miles. It's mostly gradual, but has a few steeper sections that were a bit too much for her. It's also one of those climbs where you think you're finished, but you're not. If you're going clockwise on Cheyenne/Canyon, you're not done until you see the good view. There's then a nice downhill, followed by a climb of about the same distance. We then got on the Mahogany trails. These trails were the most advanced out of all the trails. I was comfortable on the Fargo, but my girlfriend had to walk a few obstacles. She also lost a tube, probably due to a cactus. There are many cacti right outside the narrow singletrack. This trail reminds me of the Shinglemill portion of Buffalo Creek. It was a very nice laid out trail, but I just don't think it's worth the dive for me to go back there again coming from Denver. Would check it out more if I lived in Ft. Collins. I'd also probably bring my fat bike if I went again. The kitty-litter singletrack would be perfect for a fat bike. I think the trail was just a bit too windy and technical for the drop bars on a Fargo unless you're a pretty decent rider used to singletrack on that bike. My girlfriend would have probably been better off on a traditional mountain bike with flat bars. The Pronghorn trail would be really fun on a fat bike after snow due to it not having much elevation (it's nearly impossible to climb powder, even on a fat bike).

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  • swimswithtrout
    ****

    I just rode Soapstone/Red Mountain again, almost a year after my first trip there. What a difference a year has made !

    The trails are now nicely hard-packed instead of all of the loose trail construction debris that were prevalent after the "Grand Opening last year.

    I had not ridden Mahogany before, but did this time, and it may be the best trail there. Skinny, twisty, ST with a great ridge-top run on the S side.

    My recommended loop, to max out the ST, would be from the lower lot riding CCW up the W Pronghorn Tr to the Mahogany connector, Mahogany Loop CW to Canyon, Canyon to Cheyenne Ridge back to the TH . BE SURE TO BRING ENOUGH WATER ! None is available there.

    Avoid the temptation of taking Pronghorn to Sand Wash to Canyon. Sand Wash "trail" "is" a nasty sand wash and all but the very top of Canyon is an old ranch road dbl track.

    I also rode over into Red Mountain as well, down Ruby Wash Tr and up Big Hole Wash to get back to Cheyenne Ridge and I doubt I'd every do that again. The first mile of Ruby Wash is fun....until you hit the bottomless pea-gravel of the dried river bed. The scenery is spectacular but the riding/wallowing in the river bed was not fun at all. Then you're left with more of the same gravel wallowing as you climb back up to Cheyenne Ridge.

    If you're on a bike and just want to have fun, stay in Soapstone. If you need more miles, do another lap.

    The only reason I didn't give this network 5 stars is because it's not all singletrack.* Review edited 6/21/2010

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  • gilligan
    *****

    I loved these trails. Rode yesterday 11/13/09 in the snow. Ground was hard and the snow packed under my wheels. Virtually no trace that I was even there. First time in this area and it was spectacular. Can not wait to do these trails in the summer. Easy riding with short uphills can be ridden in middle ring without difficulty. Overlook views were frequent and beautiful. Just about any level of rider can enjoy these trails. Mountain biking doesn't always have to be hard, technical gonzo stuff to be enjoyable. Sometimes it's nice just to ride for hours on easy singletrack wandering through open terrain with majestic vistas.

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  • Farmer_Ted
    ****

    Single track and double track...some of the trails are faint. As a general rule; as you travel North you will be going uphill and as you travel West you will be going uphill. Beware of cattle and sheep on trails at some places. Best way to ride is counterclockwise from lower parking lot...Pronghorn to Mahogany to Canyon and then 9+ miles of (mostly) downhill onthe Cheyenne rim trail with fun berm carving and jumps. There's nothing very technical here at all but sometimes it's nice to actually ride your bike instead of humping it over huge boulders and straight up the sides of mountains. There is great scenery here as well.

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  • McCobra
    ****

    Started at entrance TH, and linked the following to complete the loop: Pronghorn to Sand Wash to Canyon to Cheyenne Rim. Took about 3 hours (taking it really easy, it was ~90 deg F out). Nice downhills on Cheyenne Rim with some really fun rollers to jump off. Had no problem climbing on the full suspension, but locked out rear on a few sustained climbs. Going to ride this one more in the colder months.

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  • Rob
    ***

    A lot of single track, double track and gravel road riding. It's good for a hardtail and long rides. Kind of a pain with 6" travel front and rear. Nice and fast in many place. Decent flow. Bring lots of water, as there is no cover. On the furthest East trail - Plover Trail (close April 1st to July 15th each year), there were swarms of bitting flies, especially with a slight tailwind so they could keep up.

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