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  1. #1
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    Southern Utah / Colorado mtb suggestions

    Looking forward to driving west with my bike on a bit of a road trip. Will be in Grand Junction for 18 Road, Lunch Loops and Kokopelli. Then over to Moab for Falcon Flow, maaaybe Porcupine Rim depending on how FF goes, Mag 7 and something like either Klonzo or Klondike.

    Then to Cortez for Phils World, as that seems right up my alley.

    Is there anything worth checking out between Moab and Cortez, or any 'quick hits' between Cortez and Denver?

    I'm going to be getting my fill of tech and generally prefer fast and flowy. Scenic views are a bonus.

    Please let me know if I'm missing anything obvious in these areas.

  2. #2
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    When?
    So many ways to do the durango to denver route, but you can go back up through GJ-ish and hit Glenwood Springs' flow (South Canyon and Red Hill) both easily accessible from the highway.
    Basically, Rifle, GWS, Avon, most of Summit County, Floyd Hill area, Golden are all 10ish minutes off of I 70.

    If you go across the southern part of CO you can go through .....
    Actually, you'd be south of Gunny.... which I had in my original post.

    Del Norte and then up north and be near Poncha and Salida Area etc.

    You also would/could go through Durango, which may still have Alpine options.
    Last edited by grskier; 09-27-2023 at 04:05 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Will be in GJ Oct 5 - 8, Moab 8 - 10, Cortez 10.

  4. #4
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    There is not a lot in between Moab and Cortez. Some adventurous riding in the Abajos, but doesn't sound like that's what you're looking for.

    Just a bit north of Cortez, Sage Hen loop doesn't get much love but is quite good. The northern loop in particular has cool views over McPhee reservoir and distant views of the Wilson group and La Platas. Ride clockwise. The lower loop is also good but a bit more technical.

    Phil's World is fun, I'd recommend Coco Race -> Lemonhead -> Abajo -> Stinky Springs -> Ribcage -> back to lot. This is 16ish mi IIRC - can provide recommendations to make it longer or shorter as desired.

    The new trails at Durango Mesa Park (opening tomorrow) should fit the fast and flowy bill. They specifically built the downhill bike only trails to be modern flow trails: https://www.durangogov.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=3330

    I'd also highly recommend getting up higher given that the aspens should be prime. Park at Hermosa Park (behind Purgatory), pedal up Hotel Draw Road, then descend Stagecoach. Full on Star Wars riding through aspen trees. You could also consider Ryman Creek near Rico or Magic Meadows -> T35 near Telluride. There's tons of other incredible riding in the high country and midelevations but most of it tends more towards the technical side of things.

    On your way back there's some good flowy quick hit stuff near Salida.

    PS - use Trailforks for SWCO, MTB Project is missing a lot of stuff.

  5. #5
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    Well this is a well timed thread. I'm going to be in this next of the woods right around the same time.

    Adrenalated, to ride Stagecoach from the Rico side would you go up Scotch Creek, down Stagecoach, up Hotel Draw and then down Salt Creek? Looks like Ryman is an alternative to Salt Creek.

    I'm also interested in adventurous Abajo riding...

  6. #6
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    If you take 160 from. Cortez back to Denver I am in the del Norte area. Get in touch if you want.
    off your knees Louie

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumbest Known Time View Post
    Well this is a well timed thread. I'm going to be in this next of the woods right around the same time.

    Adrenalated, to ride Stagecoach from the Rico side would you go up Scotch Creek, down Stagecoach, up Hotel Draw and then down Salt Creek? Looks like Ryman is an alternative to Salt Creek.

    I'm also interested in adventurous Abajo riding...
    Yep. That is a pretty big day to do the descents/climbs on both sides of the ridge. I think itís around 6k of climbing.
    Ryman to CT to Salt is a pretty good ride on it own.
    It sounds like some folks on the Rico side are descending Ryman instead of Salt now. Ryman got a big re-route that opened last year. Iíve climbed it a few times but never gone down it. I feel like itís in that still boring-machine-built-Tyranny-of-the-Grade-Reversal stage of new trail. Salt is fucking rad.
    Scotch is a rough 2track that gets a lot of SxS traffic in the summer, but is probably pretty dead now. Still a solid grunt to get up to the CT.


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  8. #8
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    If you go through Gunny Hartman rocks is worth a stop for an hour. On the same route is Monarch Crest, if you can figure out a shuttle, then not to forget Salida.
    The whole human race is de evolving; it is due to birth control, smart people use birth control, and stupid people keep pooping out more stupid babies.

  9. #9
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    So far it's looking like good weather, if you can sneak in a high country ride north of Durango you shouldn't pass it up, it's some of the best in Colorado.

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  10. #10
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    Nov 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukonrider View Post
    If you go through Gunny Hartman rocks is worth a stop for an hour. On the same route is Monarch Crest, if you can figure out a shuttle, then not to forget Salida.
    I love Hartmans, but I wouldn't detour over to Gunni given the shitshow of construction. If you come south through Montrose/Ridgway RAT is fast and flowy blues. Nothing epic, but worth a stop. And the drive over to Moab that way is pretty damn beautiful.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumbest Known Time View Post
    Adrenalated, to ride Stagecoach from the Rico side would you go up Scotch Creek, down Stagecoach, up Hotel Draw and then down Salt Creek? Looks like Ryman is an alternative to Salt Creek.
    Correct. However, personally, I would not ride Stagecoach from the Rico side. As joetron says this is a 5-6k day and IMO Stagecoach is good, but not good enough to justify that. If I were inclined to do that much climbing my preference would be to set a shuttle and do East Fork -> CT Blackhawk Pass -> Salt or I would do something big and dumb off Calico trail. Stagecoach is best done from the Hermosa side, either as a small ride as I suggested via Hotel Draw or as a longer ride doing Bolam Pass Road to CT Blackhawk.

    joetron pretty much nails it, both Scotch and Ryman are big grunts to get up to the ridgeline. IMO Scotch only makes sense these days if you're going back to the Hermosa side, otherwise I'd rather climb Ryman as it's singletrack and goes through some awesome aspen groves. I do know people that prefer Ryman as a descent to Salt, but they are wrong, Salt is the fucking business. But, it is steep, and has a lot of mildly technical roots and rocks and the Ryman reroute is smooth and flowy so some do prefer it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFD View Post
    If you take 160 from. Cortez back to Denver I am in the del Norte area. Get in touch if you want.
    If driving from Cortez to Denver, Del Norte or Salida would both be rad places to stop and get a ride. Some local knowledge or guidance from BFD on Del Norte riding would be a good call. Looks to be some good stuff over there.


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  13. #13
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    I may be in that general area too for a while. In Brian Head area now.

    Calico is one of my favorite rides. Tough and rough but awesome views and some really great trail. Salt is awesome too. Not holding my breath on getting up that high though, but you never know.

    A few others since you mention S Utah. Hurricane / St George have some great riding. Maybe too much tech but pretty unique if you haven't been. Brian Head is rad, have recently done the main descents Bunker Creek, Dark Hollow, Blowhard. There is killer riding in the Tushars ( search my TR from Beaver). And the. Richfield is building killer trail which makes a good loop. In the middle of all that is Thunder Mtn and I'm sure some other stuff I can't think of at the minute. New trails by Kanab and East Zion, maybe not destination but worth stopping at.

  14. #14
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    Yes, Richfield is super fun. Thunder Mountain zone- go across the road to the north and piece together a ride with Cassidy, Casto, and um...the other one. Good camping over there too.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by joetron View Post
    If driving from Cortez to Denver, Del Norte or Salida would both be rad places to stop and get a ride. Some local knowledge or guidance from BFD on Del Norte riding would be a good call. Looks to be some good stuff over there.
    I was in the Del Norte area for work a few years ago and poked around. Middle Frisco was great, Cat Creek was just OK. Penitente looks cool but the trails were closed for a stupid 12-hr race. I tried the Limekiln area area instead and that was meh AF.

  16. #16
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    I've been down that way the last couple of weekends and there is plenty of good advice upthread.

    Rode Ryman to Salt with Adrenelated and I'd place it firmly in the 5* category. Not sure why anyone would go down Ryman over Salt. Rode RAT on the way home and thought it was really fun for fast easy riding. Hwy 50 is miserable right now unless you're driving over the weekend.

    We rode Boulder Gulch in Silverton a couple of days ago- that was brutal and awesome and beautiful and a whole lot of other things. I'm still processing that ride, ha!

    Penitente is fun for a day for sure and I've always wanted to check out some of the other riding in that area.

    If you wanted to do something other than ride for a day, I think my days on the Ouray via ferrata tend to be some of my favorite days of the summer. I tend to drive down there 3-5 times a summer. It's getting to the point where I'm thinking about doing a Euro vacation just to do a bunch of VF's.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
    <snip> It's getting to the point where I'm thinking about doing a Euro vacation just to do a bunch of VF's.

  18. #18
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    Hey thank you so much for all these suggestions, slowly googling them and checking them out on trailforks.

  19. #19
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    Should add just north of Cortez is Boggy Draw, opposite side of the reservoir from Sage Hen that was mentioned earlier. Haven't don't Sage but Boggy is fun and super flowy if that's what you're after. Whereas Phil's World is desert riding, Boggy is up in the pine trees. Not technical and not any tough climbing. Good one if you have time for a second ride in the area.

    Keep an eye on forecasts as there seem to be storms coming through that are starting to dump snow up high already. Hopefully it doesn't stick around.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thaleia View Post
    Hey thank you so much for all these suggestions, slowly googling them and checking them out on trailforks.
    COTREX is also a good resource to cross reference and stuff.

    Salida would be a good stop on the way back. As others have said, Monarch Crest if you want a big day. S Mountain trails if you want some fun stuff close to town. It is fun to do N Backbone and drop down into town for a beer.

    Obviously tons of "Quick Hits" in Summit on the way back to Denver too. Trails are pretty prime right now. A-Basin's new trails are pretty awesome if you want a different kind of experience and some incredible views. Alternatively, there is a new DH trail on the Frisco Peninsula that is pretty rowdy with some gap jumps and big, steep berms. Pretty fun and certainly something you could lap. Name is "Aftermath".
    Last edited by Name Redacted; 10-02-2023 at 07:48 AM.

  21. #21
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    Turkey Springs in Pagosa is similar to Boggy Draw. Pines and scrub oak. Topography probably a little more interesting at Boggy Draw. Advantage is no back tracking on your drive. Can be ridden fast and riding down Gopher has decent flow. Soaking in the river has gotten a little busy for me but if you hit it right is a nice stop after a ride. Also will add Trailforks does not really cover the best riding around here and COTREX is a great app.
    off your knees Louie

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Should add just north of Cortez is Boggy Draw, opposite side of the reservoir from Sage Hen that was mentioned earlier. Haven't don't Sage but Boggy is fun and super flowy if that's what you're after. Whereas Phil's World is desert riding, Boggy is up in the pine trees. Not technical and not any tough climbing. Good one if you have time for a second ride in the area.

    Keep an eye on forecasts as there seem to be storms coming through that are starting to dump snow up high already. Hopefully it doesn't stick around.
    Boggy is OK (I ride it all the time) but IMO Sage Hen, the northern loops at Phil's, and even Chicken Creek are all more interesting than Boggy for a second ride in the area (after main Phil's area). There are fun moments but Boggy is mostly just boring meandering through pines and scrub oak.

    There's even better riding on moto and backcountry trails above Mancos but that's getting more into the technical side of things.

  23. #23
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    Thanks guys all the info. Hadn't heard of COTREX so thanks again for that.

    RAT looks great but looks like I'll be in that area mid week - the construction on 50 will likely keep me away.

    Salida, Middle Frisco, Penitente Canyon are on the short list.

    Excuse this east coast flat lander's ignorance - can I assume Middle Frisco and the upper areas of Salida are bear country?

  24. #24
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    Colorado doesn't have grizzlies. Yeah, it's bear and cat country, no they won't bother you.

    Unless you look extra tasty.

    Also I forgot about the new Aquaduct trails near Mancos. Super flowy and pretty fun. Not at all technical, there might be one rock on the entire trail system.

  25. #25
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    Oct 2007
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    I have randomly found three canisters of bear spray while hiking/biking this summer. Always cracks me up. Now my wife has some mace to carry around in her car with her.

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