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  1. #1
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    Niwot ridge/cutoff trail

    So i'm thinking about riding a loop starting at the sourdough TH off rainbows lake road. Heading up the niwot ridge trail to niwot cutoff (knowing that i'll have to hike-a-bike through the IP wilderness) to Brainard. Then SSV back to sourdough then head back to lot.

    Seems like a good loop.

    Any feedback? Does the hike-a-bike make this not worth it? I've heard it's about a 15 minute hike, is that accurate?

    Thanks ahead for any info.

  2. #2
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    I'm not familiar with Niwot ridge trail so I can't help there. Mere possession of a bike in wilderness can get you in trouble. It makes no difference if you are riding it or not.

  3. #3
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    you are correct.

    I got a tip that you can hike through the wilderness with your bike but called the forest service to confirm. The rule is that you can't be in possession of a bike, or hang glider for that matter, in any wilderness area. Bummer.....looked like a good loop.

  4. #4
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    or maybe not.

    for the HalfAss 100 today, part of which follows the exact trail the OP is talking about, a FS employee said it is fine to go through carrying your bike with the front wheel off, they understand the short section is right on the edge of the WA, the trail actually zigzags in and out of the WA a few times, it would be easy to reroute the trail outside the WA to make a sweet loop legal but it's easier to let a handful of bikers walk through.

    May depend on who you talk to at the FS whether they say it's okay, there is a rule banning even possession of a bike in wildernes areas, but we had a name and permission. I feel fine carrying my bike through wilderness, I expect FS staff to use some common sense and rational thinking when enforcing rules, if my frame is strapped to my Camelbak and my wheels are in my hands I'm not going to be riding it anytime soon and I haven't just jumped off because I saw a ranger coming.

    I did hear a story today as we were talking about this, it involved a guy riding on the Pacific Crest Trail in a wilderness area, 10 miles from the trailhead. He was caught by a ranger and had his front wheel taken so he had to walk back, claim his wheel and pick up his ticket.

    To the OP, the section you are thinking about is 1/4 mile and is downhill hike a bike, it's very worth it, just don't be tempted to ride the flat bottom section to the road and spoil things for everyone else

  5. #5
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    No one at the Forest service can give you permission to break a law. You could try walking through with your bike partially disassembled and there is a good chance no one would bother you.
    However, there is some risk that depends entirely on who you encounter and how the interpret things.

  6. #6
    Rigid in Evergreen
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    Tricycles are legal in wilderness areas... feel free to get creative.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider
    No one at the Forest service can give you permission to break a law.
    oh, you were there, I forgot. Did you hear them say, 'it's fine but you all need to take the front wheels off your bikes and carry both pieces'?

    carry on.

  8. #8
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    Should I draw you a picture to explain how "laws" work? It might help.

  9. #9
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    Snowshoes and skis mechanized equipment in my book. And they actually cause minor damage. Portage a bike same impact as a hiker.
    It is up to ranger district, they are land managers. If you follow some of the bikepacking threads you will find more evidence that some rangers are down for it and some aren't. Just ask first. I'm sure once too many people start doing it they'll start saying no.
    I've done the loop you speak of I think, Niwot Ridge Trail > Niwot Cutoff trail> Little Raven > Sourdough. It's cool to ride above timberline. I would recommend not a weekend or do it non-prime time hours. Indian Peaks has too many visitors on the weekends, and you'll get questions from hikers which can border on the annoying / confrontational side.
    To further confuse things when coming down Niwot ridge a sign announces wilderness, and only calls out "No motorized vehicles". When leaving there is another sign announcing wilderness that does state "no bicycles".
    I opted to portage my bike all the way to Brainard Lake though which was about 3/4 mile.

  10. #10
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    Good job! halfass 100

    Quote Originally Posted by longman
    for the HalfAss 100 today, part of which follows the exact trail the OP is talking about, a FS employee said it is fine.
    Well I thought it was more than fine, i thought the halfass 100 was sick and genius.

  11. #11
    friend of Apex
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    Quote Originally Posted by longman
    May depend on who you talk to at the FS whether they say it's okay,

    Quote Originally Posted by Moustache rider
    However, there is some risk that depends entirely on who you encounter and how the interpret things.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydoug
    some rangers are down for it and some aren't.

    Yup

  12. #12
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    Looking at a map, there are some awesome loop possibilities if this trail was open to MTB.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by longman View Post
    I did hear a story today as we were talking about this, it involved a guy riding on the Pacific Crest Trail in a wilderness area, 10 miles from the trailhead. He was caught by a ranger and had his front wheel taken so he had to walk back, claim his wheel and pick up his ticket.

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