I will start this with a disclaimer: I am not 100% sure this stretch of the CDT is open to bikes. It was just recently constructed, and does not have any signs. The stretch south of it through the Tincup/Alpine Tunnel/Hancock area is open to bikes, but the stretch north, around Cottonwood Pass is not. Be aware.
I did this ride back when the leaves were changing, before the snow had started.
The trail runs through Mineral Basin, around the foot of 13,095' Mt. Kreutzer and over into South Cottonwood Basin. You access the trail from Chaffee County Road 344, off 306 (Cottonwood Pass). My preference has been to drive to Cottonwood Lake and start riding from there...but with a 4wd you could potentially drive all the way to the south CDT trailhead.
The road itself is a beautiful autumn ride with a rather mild gradient.
After some 8 or so miles of climbing this road you come to a right hand spur (344A) that goes to an old mine and the unnamed lake in Mineral Basin. Parts of this road can be difficult and I have been known to dismount and push a little...continue climbing on this road above the lake to an unnamed pass at 12,833' on the Continental Divide.
This is where you join the CDT.
Head southeast on an amazing singletrack.
This trail drops around 1000' immediately and then begins to contour around Mt. Kreuzter.
Many sections of the trail have been worked very well, so much that talus fields are actually pretty smooth!
The trail then contours around South Cottonwood Basin,
and the foot of Emma Burr Mountain.
It ends at CR 344 where the 4wd road fades out in the top of South Cottonwood Basin. The singletrack is around 7-8 miles long, and the entire ride from Cottonwood Lake is around 30.
A very worthy ride that has seen very few bicycles....even very few hikers. So go check it out next summer/fall!
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Thread: old TR, new stretch CDT
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