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  1. #1
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    South Boundary Trail and Shuttling questions...

    I'll be coming up from Austin in May or June for a couple of days of riding; day 1 at Angel Fire, day 2 on South Boundary. A friend will be meeting me from Denver. I've been researching SBT, and have learned about all Google has to offer as far as hard info goes, so now I'm looking for more subjective info, opinions, etc...

    Normally I don't mind a little climbing, but given the limited time and elevation, I'm more focused on descending. With that said, right now I'm trying to decide which shuttle option to take...

    1) The first question is, is the portion of SBT between FR76 and Garcia Park really worth the extra shuttle distance... vs starting at Garcia Park and skipping the 'climby' sections? If we were to start at Garcia, the ride and shuttle distances would be significantly shorter, which would allow 2 runs, and the possibility of doing both the technical lower SBT, as well as the jumpy Ojitos option...

    2) What is the Elliott Barker option like? The shuttle distance would be shorter, but it looks like there might be a little more climbing...?

    3) What about shuttle access for the 3 options? I've done some Googling and searching, and keep reading that 4x4s are required for the FR76 shuttle... In most cases like this though, it seems that people (usually not locals) have a differing idea than I (experienced off-roader) do of what a 4wd road is... So from locals' and regulars' perspective, should my 2wd 4Runner (much more clearance than most SUVs) be adequate? My buddy's truck is 4WD, so that shouldn't be an issue.

    I haven't found any info on what to expect on FR437 and 70 though, what are they like?

    4) I'd like to leave one truck overnight at/near the end of the trail; is there a safe(ish) place to do this?

    5) Lastly, we plan to camp somewhere near-ish to Angle Fire... are there any wet creeks west of, and within 30+/- minutes of AF? Ideally on or near FR70 or 437... not looking for official campgrounds, just a spot where we can have a fire and preferably some flowing water. I see lots of creeks and streams on maps, but not sure if they are wet or dry creeks.

    Other thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    As for camp sites, this appears to be a good area, as long as access isn't to rough:
    <iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m23!1m8!1m3!1d6429.695076805242!2d-105.4186912356072!3d36.3160038750024!3m2!1i1024!2i 768!4f13.1!4m12!1i0!3e0!4m5!1s0x87175962d74898e5%3 A0x2021bf2c5a3de4f0!2sAngel+Fire%2C+NM!3m2!1d36.39 30879!2d-105.2850091!4m3!3m2!1d36.314015999999995!2d-105.4209497!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1423516084275" width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" style="border:0"></iframe>
    Just south of Garcia Park via 437... has anyone here been there?
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  3. #3
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    Never camped there, but I do like the camping in this area:

    36.417985, -105.343577


    For me the FR76 part of SBT is a bit over-rated. Not much singletrack but there is a lot of fire road climbing. Sure there are some great views but for me they are not really worth the effort. If it were me I would start at Garcia Park and do an out-and-back on Heaven on Earth and then head West towards Taos.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calhoun View Post
    Never camped there, but I do like the camping in this area:

    36.417985, -105.343577
    Glad you posted that, I was also considering that area too, especially for its convenience. From sat images, the creek appears dry/seasonal, but that isn't a deal breaker. At least that area will be easy to check out on the way in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calhoun View Post
    For me the FR76 part of SBT is a bit over-rated. Not much singletrack but there is a lot of fire road climbing. Sure there are some great views but for me they are not really worth the effort. If it were me I would start at Garcia Park and do an out-and-back on Heaven on Earth and then head West towards Taos.
    Thanks man, that's the kind of of thoughts I'm looking for. If we start at Garcia though, I doubt we'll do any out-n-backs, just straight to Taos, hopefully twice. What is 437 like, surface-wise? Fairly well maintained?
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  5. #5
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    That creek has water through the year, but this is NM our creeks are just puddles that haven't dried up yet. 437 is really well maintained in my experience. FR70 can get really crazy. The out-n-back for Heaven on Earth is worth it. The climb from Garcia would be pretty easy and the return to Garcia Park would be fast and flowy. But I can't blame you for wanting a second run at the chunk towards Taos. That really is one of the better parts of that trail.
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  6. #6
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    Awesome, thanks for the info. The Chiquito Rio down by 478 (south of Garcia) looks like a pretty significant stream, so if 437 is relatively smooth, I might just default to that. I guess it also kind of depends on what time I arrive...

    Have you ever done Elliott Barker from FR70? Curious if it would have less double track than from 76; the shuttle would certainly be shorter, and it looks like it would still include "Heaven on Earth"... just haven't found much written about it, other than it's a popular alternative.
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  7. #7
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    I am pretty sure I haven't, but I'd have to look at a map.

    What bikes are you guys bringing on your trip? Renting at AF?
    "Mi amor Nuevo Miércoles!"

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  8. #8
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    I'll have a Yeti ASR-5 as the primary and an On-One EVOII for back-up (and a 2nd pass down SBT if we do 2), both are AM/descending-biased set-ups. The ASR5 is long and slack (for a trail bike) and actually does pretty well for this stuff. My buddy has a Giant Trance 27.5 that is his do-it-all Colorado bike.
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  9. #9
    ATR
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    I learned last year Ojitos is rough, the bottom mile and a half where all the rollers and jumps are is sweet, the top 3/4 accessed from the junction with the SB is a very unmaintained and unpleasant trail, unless it's been worked intensely since July. It's basically a rocky abandoned logging road with lots of down trees and rocks that gravity has pulled down from above, and eroded sections that haven't been cleaned up for years. If you care about your gear I'd recommend skipping that and riding up from the bottom if you want to hit the jump lines unless you just want to know that trail and it's the second lap.

    I agree that relative to the rest of the SBT it's worth riding Heaven on Earth as an out and back from Garcia Park, it's one of the flowier sections of this trail if you don't mind climbing back up after the decents, skip it if you want straight up downhill riding. In my opinion the SBT overall is fun but the only thing that makes it "epic" is it's distance, I don't know why so many people claim it's "downhill in both directions", it's not.

    Regarding overnight parking, most of Taos' trailheads including El Nogal are strewn with broken window glass, it's hit or miss with your luck and the sketchy non-mountain biking locals. Prob don't leave anything valuable in your vehicle.

    FR437 from 64 to Garcia Park was pretty smooth last Summer with a few washboard sections, any 2wd high clearance should be fine. I don't know much about the other roads. During May and probably most of June all the seasonal streams will likely be flowing. If you have energy and three-four hours after all that the steep 3.5 mile climb to the top of Devisadero is well worth enduring for the fast yet moderately technical descent down the west side of that trail.

  10. #10
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    On the map you posted...notice the finger of forest service land poking up/north? That's a decent car camping spot. No water really though, but secluded and far from the broken glass and thugs ATR referenced. Other car camping options exist nearby, although not the next-to-a-flowing-mountain-stream kind of thing you might be imagining. As far as parking a vehicle near the endpoint in Taos, you can leave it at our house just an easy downhill mile or two from the end of the trail. PM me as the date approaches. A vehicle parked overnight at a trail head in town is a target for a break in.

    May or June makes a difference. The trail may not be open until the first of June depending on snowpack...which is average so far this year.

    I've not ridden the whole Elliot Barker ridge to SB, but I'm told it's a burner. Better option would be to link the Vallecitos Loop to the SBT (start at FR 70), but instead of returning to the car from Garcia Park, just keep riding to Taos. A climb to the ridge for sure, but a sweet ride and a much easier shuttle than all the way to Angel Fire for the FR 76 start...plus you get all but a half mile or so of that section anyway, plus part of the Elliot Barker. Some folks pull that off in just a few hours, others will take most of the day.

  11. #11
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    Good info ATR, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442 View Post
    On the map you posted...notice the finger of forest service land poking up/north? That's a decent car camping spot. No water really though, but secluded and far from the broken glass and thugs ATR referenced.
    Yea, that's one of the areas I had in mind, and Calhoun also mentioned... it'll be the one I check out first since it is convenient.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442 View Post
    As far as parking a vehicle near the endpoint in Taos, you can leave it at our house just an easy downhill mile or two from the end of the trail. PM me as the date approaches.
    Awesome, I'll probably take you up on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck80442 View Post
    May or June makes a difference. The trail may not be open until the first of June depending on snowpack...which is average so far this year.
    Noted. Thanks to changes in my wife's work schedule, it will likely be June anyway.
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