If you like sweet singletrack this is not it. This trail is for people who donâ€™t mind pushing their bike up miles of steep rocky trail and get a grin when looking down steep rutted switchbacks that are covered with rocks and roots. Motorcycle riders are the most common users of the trail and they leave their telltale mark on it.
The ride is a loop that includes four miles of highway riding (State Highway 165 north of San Isabel) and about a mile of the Cisneros Trail climbing out of the San Isabel recreation area. It is about an eight mile climb from San Isabel Lake at about 8600â€™ to near the top of St. Charles Peak at 11,784â€™. From the top you have a steep four mile descent that is made up of seemingly endless switchbacks. Ridden in the clockwise direction, you will push for miles going to the top â€“ much of the trail is either too steep or has too many rocks to stay in the saddle for extended periods of time. There is some very nice singletrack in the Beaver Creek drainage and there other sections scattered along the trail that are good riding, but the majority of this trail is made of lung busting climbs and b*** puckering descents. The scenery is great -- this is one of the higher peaks in the Wet Mountains. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are close by to the west; Pikes Peak to the north, the plains to the west. Oh, and do you know why they call them the Wet Mountains? Yeah, it rains a lot, so it is typically very green, lush, and damp. The ruts are so bad in some places that the trail captures the streams and thus you are riding down streambed for hundreds of feet. Be prepared for some axle deep puddles and mud holes. I rode it in six hours, taking my time, enjoying the sights, and taking a side trip to hike the remaining couple hundred feet to the top of the peak for lunch.