February 14, 2011 at 20:02 #95791
Have you ever ridden a trail you thought was going to be Nirvana and it just didn’t pan out that way? Help you fellow riders by telling them which trails just didn’t live up to the hype. It would also be helpful to tell us why as others may appreciate what you didn’t (i.e. if you say, "too technical, that might actually be a positive for riders who like their singletrack buff). For balance and to end on a positive note, let us know which highly desired trails still met or exceeded expectations. By the way, don’t go posting your favorite trail as on that fell short in hopes of keeping everyone else away. Here’s a few to get things started:
1. Joe’s Ridge (Fruita, Colorado)
This one’s a victim of proximity to other great trails. It’s got some great, flowy singletrack and some spooky exposure combined with steep drops. The problem is it sits right between Kessel Run, which is the funnest, flowiest little piece of downhill bobsled run for bikes and Zippity Doo Dah, which has the ultimate in knife ridge exposure and scary steep downhills. Joe’s kind of splits the difference but ends up being not as impressive as either. It’s only half as long as the other two as well.
2. Lions/Troy Built (Fruita, Colorado)
Another victim of geography. This loop will take you furthest out of all the Loma/Mack trails, which is good. However, the technical parts aren’t as much fun as Moore Fun or Mack Ridge, the views aren’t as good as Mary’s or Steve’s, and you don’t get the flow of Horsethief or Rustler’s.
3. Klondike Bluffs (Moab, Utah)
Klondike has some good rock, but it wasn’t as interesting as any of the other slickrock areas around Moab. It’s also covered with Jeeps (which can actually be entertaining, especially when they’re occupied by Jeep Barneys). If you’re there to spectate, it can be fun, but if you’re there to ride, you’ll find much better options nearby.
4. Baby Steps (Moab, Utah)
When you hop over to Baby Steps, you get a lot of sandy, ill-defined singletrack. Whenever you get into a flow, you lose sight of the trail and have to stop to relocate it. It looked like Moab trying to be Fruita and falling short. I hear the Sovereign singletrack is much better and is on tap for my next Moab run.
5. Emerald Lake (Bozeman, Montana)
This trail has a lot going for it. It’s a good, stiff, moderately technical climb which then makes for a rip-roaring descent. Most of all, the scenery is spectacular, especially at the high alpine lake that is your destination. Unfortunately, the "singletrack" is often so wide I could drive my minivan up it. It’s also horribly crowded (by Monana standards). I went there midweek and encountered many hikers and equestrians. All that traffic (and what the horses left behind) take some of the "rip-roaring" out of the descent. If I’m only going on a 4.5 mile out-and-back, it had better be spectacular–other than the scnery up top, this wasn’t. It’s still a great trail, but nowhere near the best trail in Montana as I was led to believe by trail reviews, guide books, and personal accounts of local bikers.
To end on a high note–here’s a batch that I think can accept any amount of hype and still meet or exceed expectations. Seek these out before you die, no matter what!
1. Porcupine Rim (Moab, Utah)–scenery, technical, more scenery, exposure, more scenery, and a wicked fun descent in, you guessed it, more scenery.
2. Slickrock Tral (Moab, Utah)–I know folks for whom this is on the other list, claiming it to be a one-trick pony. That’s fair, but it’s a heckuva good trick!
3. Wasatch Crest (Salt Lake City, Utah)–A wide variety of possible loops where you can have big climbs, descents, ridgetop riding, alpine lakes and an all day adventure in a remote feeling area right next to a major city.
4. The Ribbon/Holy Cross (Fruita, Colorado)–The Ribbon is legendary, rightfully so. Then you get to add on Holy Cross, which may be the funnest, flowyest, consistently techncial trail anywhere. If you’ve still got the lungs and legs for it, the rest of the Lunch Loops beckon.
5. Monarch Crest (Salida Colorado)–38 miles with 3K ft of climbing and 7K ft of descending. Start with a dozen miles at/above treeline on the continental divide with epic views of year-round snow-capped peaks, then plummet a few thousand verts in very short order and finish with a roller coaster ride through gorgeous Pine, Fir, and Aspen woods. What more could you ask for?
6. Templeton/Baldwin (Sedona, Arizona)–Cathedral rock may be Sedona’s most impressive landmark, and what better way to see it than on a combination of super sweet singletrack and gorgeous red slickrock. You will be enchanted by the colors and you bike will have a blast!
7. Gooseberry Mesa (Hurricane, Utah)–No epic climbs or descents, just the world’s funnest roller coaster quick ups and downs on the worlds best variety of slickrock and singletrack with wide open views of Zion as a backdrop. You can make it as hard as you want to–the available variety is unbelievable.
8. Thunder Mountain (Bryce, Utah)–The scenery here is equal to or better than anything you will ever see. It is also unique beyond description. And you get to see it on a variety of exceptionally high quality singletrack that includes a gorgeous climb, supreme ridge riding, and a rockin’ descent.
9. Downieville Downhill (Downieville, CA)–Nearly 5K ft of descending, every last foot of it tasty good. For a reasonable price, shuttle services will run you to the top and you can get multiiple laps in a single day. I defy you to not get hoarse hoopin’ and hollerin’ on the way down this one!
10. Hole in the Ground (Truckee, CA) Another "this ride has it all" ride. Deliciously stiff climb, fantastic high sierra views, a series of the coolest white granite rock playgrounds, and a long and varied descent including everything from low angle, swoopy, barely need brakes to a literal staircase that’ll send you over the bars if your butt’s not right on your back tire.
Summer’s coming–let’s go bag a few more!!!
February 15, 2011 at 06:31 #95792
1. Raccoon Mountain (Chattanooga,TN): In the smoky mountains of Tennessee and its a great trail probably my favorite thus far. Lots of great views, super well maintained challenging singletrack, and the perfect length mileage not too long and not too short. I believe its also on the list of IMBA epic trails systems.
2. Deer Valley (Park City, UT): Great downhill and single track
Trails I want to ride
1. FATS (Forked Area Trail System)
2. Porcupine Rim
3. Slick Rock
4. any trail in Western North Carolina
February 15, 2011 at 11:58 #95793
Trails that were surprisingly awesome:
Sylaward in Alabama – buff, fast singletrack seemingly in the middle of nowhere. This one wasn’t on my bucket list before I rode it but it should have been.
Buffalo Creek in Colorado – also buff, fast singletrack with moderate climbs. I lived about an hour and a half away from the trails but I didn’t find out about them until I had lived in Colorado for a couple years.
Bootleg Canyon in Nevada – I assumed the Interbike Outdoor demo was held here just because it was the only trail nearby but I was blown away by the quality of the trail system. Everything from fairly mellow XC stuff all the way up to DH/FR runs. Amazing variety.
Trail 401 in Colorado – I don’t remember how we heard about Trail 401 or why we decided to drive all the way to Crested Butte to ride there one Saturday but it ended up being one of our best rides ever. The scenery is the main draw here but the climb and descent aren’t too shabby either.
Trails that aren’t as great as advertised:
Bull Mountain in Georgia – It’s an IMBA Epic but over the years the system has slowly degraded into wide, eroded horse tracks. Fortunately the forest service and local riders are working to improve the trails for biking – let’s hope we can restore these trails to their former glory!
Rainbow Trail near Westcliffe, CO – We rode this section of the Rainbow Trail and were frustrated by the ATV damage that had been done in recent years. Apparently back in the day this was prime MTB territory and from what I understand some sections may be in better shape than others for biking.
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