The Impossible Task

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    • #607853

      I always get a kick out of trail ranking list, the absurdity of trying to pick the best trails in a vast area.  My personal top 10 has over 30 trails in it.  I love the passion that goes into them by writer and reader.  “How dare you rate my personal favorite trail only 4 stars, are you some kind of idiot?”  Or “That made your top 20, are you kidding?”  I’m as guilty as anyone, it hurts my feelings when my favorite trails “Can’t get no respect”.  I also see trails that are over rated in my opinion.  I live on the Front Range of Colorado and trying to pick the top 20 in Colorado is a joke!  Of course Doctor Park is #1 and anyone who doesn’t agree should donate their bike to charity and never ride again.  Enjoy these list and often use them to plan my list of trails, yet still laugh at them.

      I think the problem is in trying to put all trails into 1 category.  There are too many styles of trails to make this possible- Bike Parks, Epics, etc…  Skill level of the rider, weather, amount of time off to ride.  We also mix entire areas with single trails and then add the single trails back in.  If Fruita is counted as a single area it is simply the biggest and best we have to offer, but you need a week off and it consist of several individual areas.  I would like to see a top 20 that separates areas, single trails, epic trails, and  bike parks.  Maybe shrink the area size, a state is a massive area.

      Is Winter Park a trail to be compared to say Hall’s Ranch?  In Colorado Springs we have Ute Valley   Park, Palmer Park, Red Rock Canyon Park, N Cheyenne Canyon, Stranton Open Spaces, and Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  All are areas in our city that have full networks of trails and should be rated in a separate category. Yes 10 trails are better than 1.  I’m visiting your state where should I stay, would be a great category.  For example:  If you need a bigger city to site see and hit restaurants, I would argue Colorado Springs has the most offer.  If you don’t need as much Salida might have the best access to trails.   We are always our own city centric, we simply know it better.

      If you got lost, rained out or simply had a bad day, don’t rate the trail!  I look for certain names as I have found those riders to have a type of joy in their riding and seem to like the same type of trails.  This was the same back in my days of rock climbing.  Sometimes,  just look for Greg H. or John F. knowing I’ll get the full scoop from riders looking to have a good time.  They also have a much broader knowledge of trails than most of us.  Some guys seem to criticize everything or compare every trail to their favorite trail of all time- tend to just skip over their reviews or read them just for laughs.  Here is the single best piece of advice I can give anyone- If a local rider offers to show you the area say yes!   You’ll be amazed at the difference local knowledge makes to a single day of riding- buy him/her a beer at the brewery that is bound to be near by!

      I am a technically strong rider, but my endurance would be more along the lines of intermediate.  This has a huge influence on my riding preferences.  Love rocks and ledges to drop off of, and downhill is always better than the 4 letter word “UP”.  “Tell me where you sit before you tell me where you stand”  For example, my styles lead me to like Sedona more than most people.   Moab is amazing and The Whole Enchilada is my favorite trail.  Moab is king, but the best thing that ever happened to Moab is Fruita!  Whistler is the place where I had the most fun.  Doctor Park is my favorite individual trail- rate it as Stupid Fun, the highest rating there is.

      My one gripes with the ratings in Colorado, is rating the Colorado Trail #1 in every area.  It is 500 miles long and you need to dedicate an entire month to it.  Each section should stand on its own!

      Now it’s time to throw my list into the ring and let you guys pick it apart and make fun of me.  Love a good laugh, so let it rip!

      Did not put trails in order, just as they popped in my head.

      If I have several days to a week off here are the places I would stay:

      Crested Butte




      Colorado Springs


      Not in Colorado, but shout out to Curt Gowdy!

      Epic Trails

      Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge

      Monarch Crest

      Kennebec Pass to Junction Creek

      Elk Park off of Pike’s Peak

      Single Trails/ Small Networks

      Doctor Park

      Buffalo Creek- specifically Blackjack, but the entire place rocks!

      Horsethief Bench and everything else in Fruita!

      Hall Ranch

      18 Roads- easily ridden in a single afternoon.

      Oil Well Flats- maybe the smartest built trails on the Front Range.

      Pueblo Reservoir -Canyon Chutes only

      Floyd Hill Open Space- must include the back loops!

      Stratton Open Spaces/ Chutes

      Little Scraggy

      Ute Valley Park

      Horsetooth Mountain Park/ Lory Park

      Bike Parks


      Winter Park


      Granby Ranch

      Crested Butte


      Breckenridge Area- not really a bike park but the area is amazing.

      Most under rated trails

      Ridgway Area Trails

      Horsethief Bench- everyone talks about the drop in, but the trail its self is amazing.

      Most over rated 

      Zippety Do Dah- least favorite trail in an otherwise amazing network.  Worth riding but all the   talk of how scary and exposed it was and the only thing I noticed was the breaking bumps sucked.  Found it to be very anticlimactic.

      Phils World- love this trail area, it would make #21 on my list, but “Center of the MTB Universe”???? Been there twice and will return.

      One area that needs its own list is great beginner trails, so important to getting new riders involved.  Strong riders can ride anything but a new rider can have their experience ruined with the wrong trail.  Like Rustler’s Loop in Fruita, can completely make the day of a new rider.  It only takes one to set the tempo.

      I left out many trails that are in the areas that were picked for longer stays.

      Disclaimer- I have not ridden every trail in Colorado, maybe 200 of the well over a 1,000, so many trails have been left out due to ignorance of the trail or area!




    • #607918

      Great list and that task is definitely hard to achieve.

    • #616774


    • #617495



      Trail rating is worse than saddle choice and tire pressure combined!

      From your list, No complaints, I have ridden most of it.

      30+ year resident of the Roaring Fork Valley. Makes for a command center that allows for easy access to so freakin’ many fine mountain bike habitat areas.

      Fruita, JunkTown, there is plenty in that region. High country areas are spectacular in late spring.

      Cannot really laugh at any of the information in your post at all…




    • #617649


      A little jealous of where you live!  Love that area and go out at least once a year.  Any trail I need to ride on this years adventure out there?  Usually 1st week of October.


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