In the many thousands of times I’ve set knobbies to dirt, I can’t remember a single time I wasn’t happy to do so. I don’t care what the trail is, what bike I’m on, or what the weather is, I’m always happy to be turning cranks. That said, I still find some trails have a reputation that far exceeds their actual merits. Here are 10 trails that just didn’t turn out to be all they’re cracked up to be, as determined by our Singletracks contributors or the mountain bike community at large. So, sit back, pop a cold one and read in horror as I skewer your favorite trail!
Rampart Reservoir, Woodland Park, CO
When I first settled in Colorado Springs, I was introduced to the local love for Rampart Reservoir. Everybody loved this trail. Message boards were constantly filled with “Conditions at Rampart?” posts, and every spring people just couldn’t wait to get out there and ride Rampart again. It was an annual rite of passage that many repeated over the course of the summer.
What Rampart is is a mostly pleasant meander around the shores of a man-made body of water with some stellar views of the north face of Pikes Peak. What it isn’t, is worthy of all this praise and hype.
The trail is mostly decomposing granite, so it is continually gravelly. It is also mostly devoid of interesting features, until suddenly an unrideable one pops up; things go from easy green to dismount and back to easy green without much in the middle to entertain most riders. The body of water is obviously artificial, and the view is generally of a depleted reservoir ringed by that tell-tail dead zone between where vegetation was and the current water level many feet below.
On a personal note, I think the trail rides better clockwise, but most folks prefer counterclockwise. It has become some sort of unwritten rule that the trail is meant to be ridden CCW, and other riders will definitely give you the stinkeye if you (horror of all horrors!) ride it the “wrong” way.