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  1. #1
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    Western Slope road trip - Salida trail recommendations

    So we are starting a 2 week road trip and are going to stop by Steamboat for a few days before heading down towards Salida, CB and then maybe Durango and I wanted to get some input on some riding in the Salida area. Can you guys recommend some of the preferred rides around Salida. I havent ridden anything over there so hoping to get a taste of all the great riding I have heard about. We are going to be camping in the new Sprinter van and hoping we can get to a more central spot to base out of for a few days.

    Also, any recommendations on some camping spots, preferably with a creek or lake nearby. May as well ask for everything right. What is the preferred bike shop to stop by for advice when we need it?

    Any advice here is a great help.
    Last edited by ploglet; 06-18-2013 at 09:02 PM. Reason: title change

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    Hmmm, TomP must have been abducted by aliens 'cause he is usually all over Salida advice.

    I cannot fill his shoes but here goes:

    Salida bike shop = Absolute Bikes, they are right next to the trails known as Salida Mountain Trails. Across the Highway (HWY 50) you can get to Little Rainbow and the Rainbow Trail which can be connected as a loopish ride. Monarch Crest is a no go, still too snowy, but you can ride the Rainbow Trail section located near O'havre (sp?)Lake south of Poncha Springs 10 or so miles from Salida.
    Another good one is a section of the Colorado Trail next to the Young Life Ranch/Chalk Cliffs it is described as a loop that involves road riding so I advise an out & back starting from the Ranch/Mount Princeton TH.

    Salida Mountain Trails | Volunteer Trail Construction in Salida Colorado

    Home | Absolute Bikes - Salida Colorado Bike Shop Since 1999

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    Thanks a lot. I will definitely give Absolute Bikes a ring today to see if they have any recommendations. I would really like to ride some of the Colorado Trail down there as it will all be new to me. Is it possible to ride any of South Fooses Creek? As it will likely be quite warm down there riding up in the mountains is where I was looking.

    Thanks for the advice.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ploglet View Post
    . Is it possible to ride any of South Fooses Creek?
    I would think S Fooses would still be snowed in up high, but getting close.
    edit. I'm sure the rainbow section is good to go by now.

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    OK I will check out the Rainbow trail that was noted. How long is the trail?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnirider View Post
    I would think S Fooses would still be snowed in up high, but getting close.
    edit. I'm sure the rainbow section is good to go by now.
    Rainbow is totally GTG. Also Silver Creek Trail and Starvation. I rode up to Marshall and down Silver Creek and the Rainbow last Friday. There was a little snow trudging up top but not enough to matter. I'm sure it's all gone by now.

    Ploglet, my best advice would be to run your Sprinter up the Marshall Pass Road and find a spot near the Shirley Site, which is a big gravel parking area and latrine up County Road 200 (west off 285 on the way up to Poncha Pass) where it forks into 200/201 (Silver Creek Road). There are lots of Sprinter accessible spots up there. The Rainbow Trail section up there is 10 or 11 miles. Climb up CR201 to the Trailhead and then west to east to 285, then back to where you started up the Marshall Road.

    Or climb up to Marshall Pass and do either what I did last weekend or Starvation Creek (top to bottom, don't climb it). All of that is really convenient to do from where you could camp near the Shirley Site.

    There is also nice Sprinter-accessible camping up CR 250 toward the Colorado Trail/Mt Shavano Trailhead (aka Blanks Cabin). Then you could go up and ride the CO Trail up there.

    The section of CO Trail north from the Young Life Camp is truly sweet. As teleken says, do it out and back. Keep going north until it starts to drop down and down (about 6-7 miles) then turn back. Camping up there is not really a thing. Commercial USFS campgrounds only.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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

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    Sorry to hijack, but a quick question for Mr. Salida ;-) You may remember me from another thread. Well, the husband decided he'd rather just go ahead and die than miss out on CB, so that's where we're riding, but on the day we have to drive back to Denver, I thought maybe we could trail run 3-4 miles somewhere near Salida. Somewhere not far off the route to Denver, with a lake or river for crazy husband to take a dip afterward would be a huge plus. My google-ing makes me think there aren't any hot springs that haven't been turned into commericial developments, is that true? And...where's the best place to get brunch in Salida afterwards? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    Sorry to hijack, but a quick question for Mr. Salida ;-) You may remember me from another thread. Well, the husband decided he'd rather just go ahead and die than miss out on CB, so that's where we're riding, but on the day we have to drive back to Denver, I thought maybe we could trail run 3-4 miles somewhere near Salida. Somewhere not far off the route to Denver, with a lake or river for crazy husband to take a dip afterward would be a huge plus. My google-ing makes me think there aren't any hot springs that haven't been turned into commericial developments, is that true? And...where's the best place to get brunch in Salida afterwards? Thanks!
    Gotcha covered: Go right into Salida. Park behind Absolute Bikes. Trail run across F Street Bridge into Arkansas Hills Trail System (get a map from the bike shop). Go back to where you are parked, walk down to the river and jump on in there. There is a whitewater park right through town. The features create these cool deep eddys. Moms take their kids swimming there during summer. So you're 50 feet from where you're parked. You get anointed with Ark River Water, walk back up and get a table at River's Edge, conveniently located right there (same building as bike shop).

    Done. Get a First Cast IPA, Elevation Beer Co.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ploglet View Post
    OK I will check out the Rainbow trail that was noted. How long is the trail?
    TomP lists the Rainbow trail about 10-11 miles but you'll have 9 or so miles riding the jeep rd (CR201) to get to it.
    This map shows the area. Bottom right of the map HWY 285/Mears Junction is where you pick up CR200 up that road the are options to camp. Then ride up CR200 it turns to CR201 until you come to the turn off for Bonanza. Go left down the Rainbow back to HWY285. Great ride - expect some punchy climbs out of gullies and ATV traffic on CR201.

    The Monarch Crest Trail Map

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    Man, you really know how to give advice! That sounds perfect and easy and is exactly what we'll do, God and USAir willing. If you ever come to Pisgah, I'll do my best to return the favor.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    Man, you really know how to give advice! That sounds perfect and easy and is exactly what we'll do, God and USAir willing. If you ever come to Pisgah, I'll do my best to return the favor.
    S mtn trails would be great for running, but you might want to think about doing it late or early in the day. S-town can get hot in the summer (F street Bridge swimmin' hole notwithstanding), and the S-mtn trails are on the drier, less tree covered side of the valley.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    S mtn trails would be great for running, but you might want to think about doing it late or early in the day. S-town can get hot in the summer (F street Bridge swimmin' hole notwithstanding), and the S-mtn trails are on the drier, less tree covered side of the valley.
    Dassa fact.

    Salida the town is actually a very warm and very arid place. People who haven't been here see pictures of the Monarch Crest and other local high country rides, and they think we're kind of like Crested Butte or some other more typical ski town destination.

    An old nickname for our little Mayberry RFD is The Banana Belt. Our local average annual precip is 11". Tucson's annual is 12". Right in town we have big green trees, which for example Tuscon doesn't have, but that's because we have relatively ample irrigation water. Out of town it's high desert. Go about 10 miles due west of town and the annual average is double what it is right in town. Go another ten miles and it's about 3x (numbers pulled directly out of my ass, don't know where I would find that actual data, but I happen to have a little data right handy in my ass).

    The Sawatch Range/Continental Divide is less than 30 miles west of town as the crow flies. It's a significant range, with several of the highest of Colorado's 14ers. Elevation differential of 7,000 feet in downtown Salida to 14,231 ft Mt Shavano in 14.5 miles almost due west. It forms a very effective strainer for moisture moving in from the west. We are in a rain shadow. The moisture tends to fall out of the systems up there and we get wind. Mostly.

    So, right here in town, much dryer and much warmer than a 20 minute drive west. Typically in summer we're within about 5-10 degrees of a front range city's temp, but dryer. Probably cooler overnight too. In winter, lots of times when the Front Range is getting slammed with weather, we're clear and sunny and riding the local trails. This past winter I was riding local trails every month. Before I lived here I lived in Black Forest (yep, the house I owned is now a moonscape). I was at roughly the same elevation there as here. The weather there was much more volatile, snowier, colder...

    So yeah, we've got lovely high country riding just close by, but it's not Crested Butte here.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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

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    Tom, How long before Monarch opens up?

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    sorry, saw the other thread. I'm going to the tatoo parlor as soon as I get off work ;-)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangyman View Post
    Tom, How long before Monarch opens up?
    You know, I was really chastising somebody here not many days ago for asking about the Crest before the 4th of July.

    But, this week I heard that somebody made it all the way to the top of Fooses from Monarch Pass without encountering snow. I don't know if that means without encountering serious snow, or without encountering any frozen H2O at all...

    Normally the biggest drift is on the ridge just above (north of) Greens. I heard yesterday from some moto friends who climbed up greens that they encountered snow on the Greens Creek Trail 7 miles up.

    I would expect to at least find snow in the trees near the shelter at the top of Greens, and probably at least a bit of drift cornice on that ridge above Greens.

    But right now the wind is blowing hot.

    Short answer is, I do not know. But I betcha you'd hit some snow/mud this weekend. I also betcha that next weekend it'll probably be not enough to care about.

    Friend of mine actually was talking about going up there today to check it out. But there is so goddamn much smoke in the air here I can't imagine doing anything outside more strenuous than taking out the trash. Visibility here is probably 200 yards. They say it's coming from the fire on Wolf Creek Pass (which is closed by the way).
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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

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    Yeah, that is what my tatoo comment was about! Thanks for the info. I'm going to try and ride it 7/1 so hopefully it will be good by then. Hopefully, they will have the fire under control by then as well. BTW, one of your Salida brethren that writes for the Pagosa Springs paper had a nice article on the fire and what is the new normal in the high country. Pagosa Springs Daily News: Smoke on Father's Day, Part One

  17. #17
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    Monarch Crest: GTG

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    ...
    Short answer is, I do not know. But I betcha you'd hit some snow/mud this weekend. I also betcha that next weekend it'll probably be not enough to care about...
    I just got back from a ride, climbed to Marshall Pass from town, then backwards on the Crest to top of Greens. Found this flat patch of snow (that I walked on and not around as you should!) just north of the Agate Trail junction:

    Western Slope road trip - Salida trail recommendations-p1020871.jpg

    Ran into a friend who was coming from Monarch Pass. He said there were three drifts that were very cross-able. Standard 4th of July condition.

    High Valley Center shuttle is running.

    I rode Greens Creek down. There was actually a certain amount of snow down there, but again, not enough to matter.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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

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