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Tags:
Level: Advanced
Length: 15 mi (24.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +1,076/278 ft
Total: 29 riders
 

Mountain Biking St Mary's Falls

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#1,006 of 1,348 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#10,501 in the world

This is the most brutal climb in the area. The first couple miles are on a tough grade through loose gravel, but nothing unbearable. Then it gets really steep. Then it gets steeper, still on the wretched gravel. Then come the switchbacks. Every time you think you're all the way up, you come around a bend or another false summit that tells you otherwise. But the scenery's good and the downhill is a lot of fun, although most don't see it as worth the climb. I was going to do this as an uphill leg for the Jones Park or Pipeline downhills, but by the time I got to the top, I was too whipped to attack them, so I simply turned around and came back down St Marys Falls. It took me less than three hours, but it was an excruciating three hours. Recommended for masochists only.

First added by John Fisch on Mar 22, 2008. Last updated May 2, 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
Follow the directions to Buckhorn. They share the same trailhead and both start by riding up Gold Camp Road. Follow Gold Camp Road past the entrance to the Buckhorn singletrack. Go around the left turn and up and over the collapsed tunnel. Once on top of the collapsed tunnel, the singletrack climbs to the right.
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St Mary's Falls Trail map

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VitalyG (on Aug 23, 2018)
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Snow: powder (on Mar 14, 2021)
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Reviews

  • JamzMan777
    **

    Yeah.. did this yesterday but without the advice in these reviews. If starting at the bottom expect a super tough " pick up your bike and hike" for about 2.5 miles at 55 to 70 degree climbs. At one point it turns into boulder stairs that are a couple feet high. I did it, but it was not fun except I feel completely gritty. Other hikers were amazed that i could climb and carry when they could barely climb. Some people were falling just trying to climb up (lots and lots of loose gravel). I was able to use the bike as a stabilizer when it was all i could do to lift my leg up the next high step. The ride down was ok but alot of small gravel makes spinning out very possible and 70% of the time i was walking. I almost fell, jumped off the bike only to almost lose my bike down a 200 foot drop. That would have sucked, but i have the memory now of barely saving my bike. Hoo-ahh! Want a grinder that will make u wonder why u did what should be a hiking only trail then this is for u.

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  • VitalyG
    ****

    Do not ride up this. Too steep, rocky, loose gravely. If you are a climber it does not matter because you will still have to get off the bike - the trail is rough! Ride up old gold camp to 381 and turn right to begin descend on 624/st marys.

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  • RoadWarrior
    ***

    Decided I needed to do a little hiking so used this trail to access Jones Downhill/ Pipeline. Hiked this trail 34 years ago so knew what I was getting into. Oh to be 34 years younger. from Gold Camp Rd to the base of the falls is a pretty mellow ride, after that if you are not in excellent shape, and acclimated to the altitude, you will wish you had brought your hiking boots. At 9000' altitude started to bother me, at 10,000' thought about turning around, and bailing out via Stove Mtn to Gold Camp Rd. at 11'000 was rewarded with some awesome views of Pikes Peak. Even ridden down hill this trail would eat you alive if you don't know what you're doing.

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  • ****

    I actually did this ride from the very bottom, in town: The Chutes, to Gold Camp Rd, to Spring Creek, to Columbine, back onto Gold Camp, then to St. Mary's. The previous reviews are a bit harsh, but pacing is the key. The route I took covers almost 4800 vertical feet and took approx 2 hours(with some wrong turns) and a total of 21 miles. There are some "hike-a-bike" sections, but who cares?? The view at the top is SO worth it!
    If you know how to descend at speed, it's a lot of fun! If you don't, you could get pretty jacked up. Never ride "over your head"! It's always better to dismount and walk down a sketchy section, then endo and walk town the whole way!
    If you're an advanced rider, you'll appreciate the work put in on the climb, and the descent is fast and flowy. It took me less than 25 minutes for a full descent!
    Enjoy, and never ride over your head!

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  • vbeckman74
    ***

    There is no reason to ride up this thing. It's a hike, no matter your skill. Make it a big loop. Ride up Gold Camp and down this one.

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  • rickster470
    ***

    The other descriptions pretty much nailed it on the head. This trail is quite a tough climb, with quite a few sections where you may have to walk the bike. As said before, this trail wasn't built with a mountain biker in mind, but it is doable. Be very careful if you decide to take the same route down, there can be lots of foot and bike traffic and there is lots of loose gravel.

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  • pdinsurance
    **

    This trail was not built with a mountain biker in mind, but can be used as an alternative to get to the Top of Jones Park or Pipeline instead of Gold Camp Road. At best this trail is about 70% rideable. I wouldn't consider rideing it down.

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  • shane_anthony77
    ***

    I rode this trail a couple years ago with a buddy and WHOA was that a mistake! We ended up riding it all the way to the top and linking it in with Jones Park Downhill. I love Jones Park, but that day all that I wanted was to get down the trail and to my car. It is the toughest uphill that I have ever done and to all those who say that you have to earn your uphill, well lets say I have paid for a few years in advance.

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  • ****

    Ah yes the steep wreched gravel. Both times I did this ride I didn't come back down the same way, I thought it would be to steep and sketchy to enjoy. If you keep going up you'll hit more singletrack and fire roads/jeep trails, and can come back down gold cramp road for an easy ride down, but you still have quite a bit more climbing past the falls until you get to some downhill, but its all very doable compared to whats before the falls.
    Another route is to take this trail up and over Mt Rose with some awesome views from the top. You'll likely be carrying your bike at least half the time up rosa. You may want a topo map of the area, it got confusing in a few spots up there.* Review edited 2/23/2009* Review edited 2/23/2009* Review edited 2/23/2009

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  • bonkedagain
    ***

    I have ridden this quite a few times. It is definitely a brutal climb, and between the steep and the loose granite you should expect to walk at least a half mile or more where the trail goes past the waterfall, and there is another steep and rocky section further up that will also get you out of the saddle. But, if you pace yourself it isn't too bad, and for riding to the top of Jones Park (Frosty Park, actually) I would much rather go up this way than ride around Gold Camp Road. I definitely recommend against riding down this trail since it suffers from serious erosion (don't make it worse) and with all the loose granite you have high risk of doing a face-plant.

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