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  1. #1
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    Off the beaten path?

    I'm looking for ideas for next weekend's riding. I've done all the normal spots; CB, Summit, Vail, Snowmass, Salida, Steamboat, Gunny, WP, the entire Front Range, Durango, Telluride, Fruita, GJ etc...
    I'm looking for new (to me) singletrack. I'm not asking you to divulge the "secret stash", but where's the most underrated place here in our great state?
    Anything in the Sangre de Cristo's? Flat Tops? Your help is appreciated.
    A punctured bicycle
    on a hillside desolate,
    will nature make a man of me yet...
    -Morrissey

  2. #2
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    My experience in exploring our great state is pretty limited, but I think the Flat Tops area north of Rifle is pretty underrated. Take FR 245 out of New Castle, or up through Harvey Gap. I was working in the Rifle area last summer and got to spend a little bit of time exploring up there and found a few gems - the 2150 trail( rippin' fun up and down) and the Cherry Creek (fast, rocky goodness through aspens and oak brush tunnels) shuttle were two of my favorites. The Mansfield Ditch trail parallels Cherry Creek pretty closely, but I never got the chance to check it out. Also looks like a there is a lollipop loop descending down one drainage and riding up another one could tag onto the end of the 2150 trail....

  3. #3
    Cycling, FTW!!
    Reputation: MarkoInTheBoat's Avatar
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    Craig America

    Elkhead mountains in the northwest corner of the state. I just uploaded some photos from the area and posted 'em in this thread----> Bears Ears trail 1144

    I have been collecting a lot of gps data from the area and plan on putting out some sort of map since the usgs topo's aren't very helpful.

    A few shots of the area.




    "When you pay $340 to do a 24 hour race you'll only have enough money to eat mustard sandwiches the rest of the year." -TD

  4. #4
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    Holy Sweet Moses! I wanna go there!

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info Marko, I'm very interested in riding the Bears Ears. How much hike-a-bike? How long does it take -at typical endurance racer pace?
    A punctured bicycle
    on a hillside desolate,
    will nature make a man of me yet...
    -Morrissey

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider
    Keep that **** on the downlow!

  8. #8
    Cycling, FTW!!
    Reputation: MarkoInTheBoat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbjedi1
    Thanks for the info Marko, I'm very interested in riding the Bears Ears. How much hike-a-bike? How long does it take -at typical endurance racer pace?
    Well, you asked for "off the beaten path" and the Bears Ears are just that. Trail 1144 is an old pack route that circles around the Elkhead range. I dont think that it was ever designed or constructed to be a "trail" as much as a series of hunting access routes. It certainly wasn't designed with Mountain bikers enjoyment in mind. But that doesn't mean it's not all enjoyable.
    Most of the 44 miles of trail are non-motorized singletrack but ATV's drive some of it anyway, and there is about 10 miles of the northern section that is a legal ATV trail.

    The singletrack sections don't get much use during the summer except by elk, so expect there to be some pretty bumpy, hoof printed sections that resemble game trails. But there is also plenty of smooth singletrack that will put a smile on your face as you cruse through HEALTHY stands of old growth Spruce and wildflower filled meadows.

    How much hike-a-bike? definitely some. A few miles worth throughout the entire loop. Its not unusual to find the trail shooting straight up the fall line, but most of the hills are only a few minutes long.

    From what I have seen along the trail, I would recommend riding the trail Clockwise to reduce the amount of hike-a-bike.

    How long? I have not done the 1144 loop in a single shot but I think it would be possible to do without a light if you drove to the trailhead and started early in the morning. However, I would recommend brining a light and overnight supplies on all your Bears Ears trips until you get familiar with the area.

    Routefinding is notoriously difficult through some parts of the trail but I have been putting up blue diamonds and blue flagging where things get confusing. In all the time I have spent out on the trail, I have only spent around 1 hour lost.. not too bad.
    When you do lose the trail, its pretty easy to look around in the grass for old logs that have been cut, there are plenty of trail blazers carved into trees that look like upside-down exclamation points, blue diamonds, and of course, lots of tree art.

    Its not always this obvious.


    I am planning on riding a big (36 to 48 hours) weekend loop out there before rifle season starts if anyone wants to come along. Not sure about the date or exact route, but it will be called the Bears Ears Burner and it will be starting at 11:44 PM. Touring paced ride with lots of stops to rest and enjoy the views, and a full night of sleep on top of Black mountain so we can watch the sun rise from the top.
    Welba, Oliphant, and Buck point from the top of Black Mtn.
    "When you pay $340 to do a 24 hour race you'll only have enough money to eat mustard sandwiches the rest of the year." -TD

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