Elk Park, Colorado Springs
Greg named the Barr Trail on Pikes Peak his number one trail of the year, and that is certainly a worthy king. For my entry on America’s Mountain, I go with the Elk Park Trail. Rather than plummeting straight down from the summit, this route starts off to the side on a flank of the great granite peak, a couple thousand verts lower, and meets up with Barr at its midpoint. While giving up some of the vertical that makes Barr unique, it cuts off the hike-a-bike portion and replaces it with some of the most stunning cross country riding anywhere through surprisingly lush, north facing slopes. And you still get the very entertaining bottom six miles of Barr as a finish.
Agate Creek, Salida
I had made many trips off the mighty Monarch Crest. Before 2015, they had all dropped down one of the routes off the east side. However, thanks to a Singletracks gathering in Salida, I was able to join the crew for a drop off the one route on the west side. Like any Crest ride, there’s a whole lot of descending. Unlike the eastern routes, this ends up being a very wet ride. No, it wasn’t raining or snowing, but rather over 20 water crossings, some of which were deep, even as we rode in late summer during the lowest water time of year. The only bummer of the ride is that my son couldn’t go with me that day; of course that means I still have a great excuse to go back!