The San Luis Valley offers up some great riding for mountain bikers. Here’s a selection trails to explore on two wheels. For additional trails information on mountain biking areas within the SLV check this out.
A big, hard climb rewards the rider with spectacular singletrack cruising and a wild descent. The Alder Bench trail (#799) is 6.5 miles long. It begins at Forest Road 610 right next to the Alder Creek Cabin and ends at Forest Trail 761.
This area in the hills just south of Monte Vista contains a 40-acre non-motorized open play area for bikers and hikers. The area is like a moonscape with flowing rocks to ride.
Cat Creek Trail
The looped Cat Creek Trail makes a 13-mile loop with 1866 elevation gain. Since a vast majority of the route passes through dense stands of aspen, the Cat Creek Trail makes for a great autumn ride. With a total elevation gain of 1,400 feet, forest road and singletrack route is moderately difficult. Though predominantly smooth, parts of the route include steeper climbs and descents over rocks and roots.
Del Norte’s Lookout Mountain Trails
Adjacent to the town of Del Norte, these trails offer singletrack open to cyclists, hikers and equestrians. Climb the craggy switchbacks to the summit (8,475 ft.) for views of the entire SLV and Upper Rio Grande. An additional 3.5 miles of easy trails loop around the base of the mountain. Three Barrel Brewing is conveniently located at the base of the mountain in the north edge of town (www.threebarrelbrew.com). Additional non-motorized single track trails are being built by the BLM and the Del Norte Trails Organization in the Pronghorn area on the rugged ridgeline lying between County Rd. 13 and County Rd. 14 just south of Del Norte.
The desert riding in the Limekiln area includes singletrack and two tracks and climbs and descends through the various canyons in the area. The BLM and local partners are continuing to build more singletrack in the area. The area gets its name for the existence of many 100-year-old kilns that were used to make lime for concrete.
Middle Frisco (Middle Fork of San Francisco Creek)
Climb West Frisco (an ATV trail off County Road 13), for a 12-mile loop with 3,000’ feet of elevation gain. Make it a longer ride by shuttling up to the Burro Creek trailhead (County Road 14). This trail offers up some beautiful high country with Bennett Peak looming respectfully overhead.
Miles of single track, fun rock gardens, rolling pinyon-juniper country and chances are you’ll have the trails all to your self. There are multiple loops that leave several parking areas and it takes a little bit of exploring to find the great riding that exists here above the canyon walls. Download a trail map here. Within the canyon walls lies a great climbing area with hundreds of sport routes.
South Fork Area Trails
The Rio Grande National Forest is filled with riding opportunities for beginner and advanced riders. Several trails are within a couple miles drive from South Fork. Many trails are multi use – so be prepared for hikers, horses, and ATV’s along the way. Trails in the area include the Deep Creek Trail, Middle Frisco Creek Trail (see above), Treasure Mountain Trail, Trout Creek Trail, Palisade/Alder Bench Trail and Penitente Canyon (see above). For more information on the South Fork area trails visit http://www.southfork.org/mtn-bike and/or a local bike shop.
A technical and strenuous trail in the South Fork area. The first few miles are moderate and fun. After that the trail gets pretty gnarly.
Riders can find a network of singletrack trails that spur off the road to the main Zapata Falls trailhead. The rides can be shuttled or riders can climb up the road and conveniently descent the singletrack. The BLM hopes to build more gravity-oriented trails in this area.