So it all started by hanging this map on my wall in the bike room.
After hours of studying the map and a passion for the ultimate Pikes Peak ride I believe I have linked up an unprecedented route. It turned out to be a two day ride. Sorry I forgot my camera so no pics.
Day One: Air Force Academy - Crags Campground.
The day started early Saturday morning getting dropped of at the Deadmans Gulch Trailhead at the very NW corner for the AFA.. If you haven’t been on Deadmans it’s a B!tch. Pretty much an hour of hike a bike. Some section could be ridden but for the most part you’re pushing. Once you attain the top of Rampart Range it’s a nice cruise over some dirt roads until you get to the turnoff for Rampart Reservoir. We rode the Res for about 7 or 8 miles until you get to Rainbow Gulch and then turn off and cut through one of the campgrounds to get to Rampart Range Road. Once we got on Rampart Range road there is a descent to Chipita Park via Lofland Gulch. I don’t think we went down the actual trail but regardless we made it to Hy 24. From Chipita Park we connected with the Ring the Peak Trail System. This consisted of another hour hike a bike up Mt Ester Trail a sweet cruise by the Catamount Reservoirs then eventually made it to the Valley by the Crags for a good night sleep.
Day Two: Crags Campground – Manitou
This day started off as a clear and sunny July summer day. We kinda dilly dallied around getting on the trail but managed to find our way to the trail that takes you up the backside of Pikes Peak to Devils Playground. Take the two hike a bikes we just did the day before, combine them and add an incredibly steep grade (steep just to hike with no bike) less oxygen (Devils Playground is at 12800ft) So the Devils Playground hike a bike probably took 4 hours. We got to the saddle and it was amazingly beautiful. Lots of hikers complimented us on our efforts. We had a small lunch up in the alpine and got ready for one of the best descents I have ever had. We connected with Elk Park trail on the East facing side of the peak . It has been awhile since I have descended on Elk Park and it was better then I remember. Scary exposure, technical, and dense forest made this a blast. We made it to Barr camp and the kind folks there hooked us up with a free snickers since I only had my debit card. We offered to pack out some trash to offset the cost of our candy bar and ended up bring down a bit. From Barr Camp it was an incredible zip down Barr trail I know there is some debate on weather Barr trail is worth riding or not but I will say it was one of the funnest descents I have ever had. It was July 4th when we went down and there was hardly no traffic. Just scary fast descending with lots of sweet rocks/lips to jump off. The final 4 miles of switch backs I found were a blast also. Soon were in Manitou and I had to give myself a celebratory IPA for making this one.
So I get back home exhausted with 3 more day of vacation to recover. I wake up Monday feeling great and end up planning a nice backpacking trip down to the Lake of the Clouds in the Sangre de Christos wilderness for some more camping and fishing. I did take pics of this one and will share a couple. Needless to say this was epic too.!
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