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  1. #1
    Basura Blanca
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    Ark. Foothills route Question

    So the wife and I will be in the vicinity for some riding this Thursday and Friday before picking up our daughter at camp. Never having ridden any of the foothills system NE of Salida since it was put in, I'm wondering what's the best way to put together a route. Simply get a guidebook/advice at Absolute or Subculture? Or will that alone not be enough info to put together a tasty loop?
    Second question: As drought-stricken and loose as my home trails are here, I'd like to get one day of nice cool riding where the tread has some soil moisture. Suggestions? Methodist Mtn, Silver Creek-Rainbow, Sheep Creek, or Twin Lakes? The wife's not been riding dirt enough this year to enjoy the esp. rocky sections of COT south of BV. I'd appreciate any input. Thanks,
    - Joe
    We rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character.

  2. #2
    Team Velveeta™
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    Quote Originally Posted by NuMexJoe View Post
    So the wife and I will be in the vicinity for some riding this Thursday and Friday before picking up our daughter at camp. Never having ridden any of the foothills system NE of Salida since it was put in, I'm wondering what's the best way to put together a route. Simply get a guidebook/advice at Absolute or Subculture? Or will that alone not be enough info to put together a tasty loop?
    Second question: As drought-stricken and loose as my home trails are here, I'd like to get one day of nice cool riding where the tread has some soil moisture. Suggestions? Methodist Mtn, Silver Creek-Rainbow, Sheep Creek, or Twin Lakes? The wife's not been riding dirt enough this year to enjoy the esp. rocky sections of COT south of BV. I'd appreciate any input. Thanks,
    - Joe
    I recommend Absolute, but I worked there for half a decade so I'm biased... they have printed maps and ask for a dollar donation to SMT for them.

    We have been working on the best way to help bikers put together routes. The maps have a little bit of 3D effect, but it's still hard to tell which trails you should climb and which you should descend.

    How far do you want to ride? Sounds like you don't want to hit the more tech stuff...

    A good solid tour would be to start downtown and ride up Frontside. It's a little counter-intuitive, but to get there go across the bridge onto the RR yard and then turn right. There's a place where you can ride across the tracks near a little tin RR shack. Once across, go right again until you see a mega big rusty tank laying on its side. Directly to the left of the tank a jeep road goes up, take that and look for your left turn onto singletrack about 100 yards past the tank. That takes you right up to Frontside without having to get off your bike.

    Frontside to the parking area with kiosk and go straight up to the Lil' Rattler Trail. When Lil' Rattler comes back to the dirt road, take the button-hook left turn to continue up.

    From the top of Lil' Rattler, you could climb up the steep jeep road for about 200 yards to take north Backbone on your left. You could do out-and-back on N. Backbone, should take about an hour unless you're fast. There's some really very technical stuff in the middle, but it's a cool trail. Worth seeing even if you have to do some walking in the middle.

    Also from the top of Lil' Rattler, you can take the immediate right turn to Backbone. Ride Backbone all the way over to Cottonwood.

    Two options from there: 1) is to go up Cottonwood about a mile to the cairn (be aware, lots of people ride fast down Cottonwood. Keep your eyes peeled for riders if you climb it!), then go left up Unkle Nazty. There's some hike-a-bike unless you're super strong, but it's just one or two steep pitches. Just 30 seconds worth of pushing the bike once or twice. When you get to the intersection, go left to take Prospector into Sand Dunes. Take Sand Dunes down just a short ways back to Backbone. You should recognize that intersection because you went through it before.

    Three options from there:
    1) shortest way back to town is straight down on Sand Dunes.
    2) Or you can go back to the right and back up Backbone. You have the option of going back to town the way you came, or taking Tenderfoot Trail, which will come out onto the Spiral Drive gravel road, turn left to go back to the Kiosk, turn right to climb. You can always climb up to the top of Spiral to look out over the valley, and then you can take the first half of Lil' Rattler back down to the kiosk and the top of Frontside.
    3) Turn left back onto Backbone and back over to Cottonwood. When you get to the intersection, turn right and climb out of the wash. From there you are on bootleg trails that are not on the map because they cross private property. Stay straight and you'll go back to town via the Mae B. trail, AKA Rim Trail, AKA Brenda's Trail. At a saddle there is a relatively more faint trail to the left that goes over to Sweetwater Gulch. It's I think not a great trail, but it does have some fun dippy technical features. May not be fun for the wife.

    If you want a longer ride that includes those trails, 3+ hours, and also includes half hour or more on a gravel road, go to tom-purvis.com/gpx/ and download cottonwoodLollypop.gpx. I don't recommend trying to do that ride without a gps to follow, but it's good.

    Now, high country:

    The Crest is obviously still too snowy to be ready. My best recommendation would be the Silver Creek section of the Rainbow. Go up the Marshall Pass Road, stay left on CR201 (Silver Creek Road) then ride the Rainbow from West to East back to 285 to make the loop.

    I've been hearing that Marshall Pass over to Silver Creek Trail is clear, but I haven't seen it. That's my project for this weekend. I also have heard that Starvation Creek is snow-free enough to be passable.

    Bear Creek Rainbow has been open for at least month and a half. It's moon-dust dry.

    Good luck!
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  3. #3
    Basura Blanca
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    Thanks a million Tom! I appreciate the lengthy, detailed reply. W/ that and the map we'll be able to put together a good ride. We've done 201-Rainbow a few times when the Crest was still snowed in, but it sounds like that'd be a good bet again. Last time we were on Starvation Creek, I was letting her enjoy the lead and she rolled right up to a very startled bear ascending the trail. I could probably talk her into riding it again, but I'm not sure she's up to looping it from the bottom. Thanks again & happy trails,
    - Joe
    We rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character.

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