June 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm #217476
Hey guys and gals,
I am going to be in Colorado in a few weeks and I am looking for good trails that can be shuttled or dropped off at the top. Due to winter and school, my stamina for long climbs is not where it needs to be. I would say I am an intermediate rider who likes to attempt advanced features. I am going with my parents and they will be able to drop me off at the top of whatever mountains/trails. The towns we will be in are Mancos/Cortez, Gunnison, and Colorado Springs. I know there are a ton of trails near those cities, so I am primarily looking for downhill shuttle trails.
Thanks in advance
June 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm #217482
Will you have a shuttle/driver or do you need a commercial shuttle? If you have a ride, you will find TONS of great options. If not, things narrow considerably.
If you’re in Cortez, skip the shuttle and hit Phil’s World. There are no huge climbs, so your fitness need not be great, but it’s still a fun system and has some good features.
Mancos is near Durango where you can get a ride to the entrance to the last section of the Colorado Trail with nearly 5k vertical feet of descending and a couple small climbs over 22 miles.
Like Cortez, in Gunnison, skip the shuttle and hit Hartman Rocks. There are plenty of awesome, fun features to play on and not a lot of climbing (other than the initial hill which is short) required to get to them.
Gunnison is near Crested Butte, one of the MTB world’s greatest riding meccas, but it’s not really a shuttle place. With a ride, you can shuttle the road part of the 401 Trail, but that still leaves a stiff, albeit shorter, climb at altitude. It’s also not a good ride for features, it’s pretty much there for the scenery, which is spectacular.
Now as you go from Gunnison to Colorado Springs, you’ll cross Monarch Pass, our ultimate shuttle ride. Even with a shuttle, there’s some tough climbing for someone not in shape. But it’s soooooo worth it. Also, you can reduce the amount of climbing by taking one of the earlier descents off the crest rather than doing the whole thing. My favorite is Green’s Creek. There is a commercial shuttle for $25 a head and it’s money well spent.
There are no commercial shuttles in Colorado Springs. If you’re with someone who would like to do like a million other tourists a year and drive to the top of Pikes Peak, you can get dropped off and have well over 7,000 feet of continuous descending. It’s highly technical above treeline and there will be hike-a-bikes, but again it’s such a unique ride, it’s worth seeking out. Other good shuttle runs in Colorado Springs include Jones Park and the Pipeline Trail, both of which begin at the same trailhead. They do require a long, windy, washboardy approach, and upon leaving the maintained dirt road, there’s another two miles of stiff climbing on a forest service road that requires high clearance/4wd. So if you don’t have such a vehicle, you will be climbing a good chunk there. Right on the edge of town, it’s possible to get shuttled most of the way to the super fun Captain Jack’s trail–just one mile of moderate climbing on a decommissioned dirt road to get to the trailhead. After shredding Jack’s, it’s easy to keep the downhill rolling by adding on Spring Creek to Columbine or catching Gold Camp Road to The Chutes, our signature bobsled run for bikes.
June 1, 2017 at 8:24 pm #217483
Wow…thanks for the reply. I will have a personal shuttle haha. I’m the only Mountain Biker in my family. I appreciate all of the suggestions!
June 2, 2017 at 7:14 am #217488
Glad to be of assistance.
Be advised: If you are in Colorado Springs from 8 – 17 June, parts of Jones Park will be closed. Pipeline to Seven Bridges will still be available. Probably best for you anyway as the Jones Park route has enough climbing that a lot of shuttle riders don’t want to do it anyway while Pipeline is consistently downhill.
Also, Seven Bridges is very technical and very popular with hikers, so be ready for some dismounts and some opportunities to practice multi-user etiquette. Hit it on a weekday if you can to minimize congestion.
June 2, 2017 at 8:58 am #217499
Where is the drop off point for the last section of the Colorado trail?
again, thanks for all of your help
June 2, 2017 at 10:42 am #217508
“From Durango, take US 160 west. Just past Hesperus, turn right on Co Rd 124. Take Co Rd 124 to Kennebec Pass and start on the Colorado trail toward Durango from here. Co Rd 124 is a very rugged jeep road as it approaches the pass. This is a very long shuttle and would be well worth hiring a ride up.”
June 2, 2017 at 10:49 am #217510
John has just about covered it, being the guru master of trails that he is. I would add the Elk Park Trail/Barr Trail option, starting near top of Pikes Peak. It is much less intimidating than the full on Barr Trail from the top of Pikes Peak.
I would also add an option to Captain Jack’s. Instead of connecting with Spring Creek and Columbine off of Jack’s, you can ride one mile downhill on Lower Gold Camp Road (2/3 mi of dirt road and 1/3 mi of paved) and then drop onto The Chutes Trail for a great one mile DH run of bermed curves and little jumps. Then at the bottom of The Chutes, you can add another fun DH of 1.4 mi around the south and east side of the east reservoir (you’ll see the reservoirs on maps and images) and down Ridge trail and Upper Meadow Trail to the La Veta THD of Stratton Open Space. This THD is just west and up above the high school (Cheyenne Mountain HS).
Also it should be noted that the shuttle off of Jones Park or Pipeline can easily be connected to the Captain Jack’s shuttle options. The best way to do that is through Upper Jack’s imo, but there are other ways.
Also, of course the greatest of greats in terms of trails is the Colorado Trail. You can create many different shuttles, over its 28 sections and 500+ miles, but you should come prepared. Do your reading. Look at the last four sections of the CT above Durango and pick your fancy. Also there is absolutely astounding scenery from Durango to Ouray. My preferred way to drive that section of road is from Montrose to Durango.
All in all, with the towns you are going to in CO, you have some good times ahead of you.
June 2, 2017 at 11:00 am #217512
Here are some links for the CT near Durango. Don’t get lost out there. =)
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