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Eagle Ranch Loops

Consensus:    (details)
 3.5 from 2 votes
  Intermediate from 2 votes
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Rank: #6 in Vail and Eagle
#106 in Colorado
#714 Overall
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“A fun, flowy, mostly singletrack ride in the heart of Eagle, Colorado.”
Leslie Kehmeier on Nov 12, 2012
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8.0 Miles 75% Singletrack 996’ Ascent -1,000’ Descent 6,798’ Low 7,220’ High
Restrictions
Wildlife Closure December 15-April 15
Overview
The Eagle Ranch Loops can be done in a number of different combinations. The trails can be characterized as fun and flowy, twisting through sagebrush and pinions. The main trails: Turniphead, Mayer Gulch, Bailey and Riddle are the heart of the Eagle Ranch loop system and can be ridden as one big loop or as a figure eight. The most common access points are: the parking area on Arroyo Drive and near the intersection of E Haystacker Dr and Harvester Ct. It's possible to park anywhere in town and ride to the trails. This is great if you're interested in a post-ride meal or treat.
Need To Know
There are a few good post-ride food options in Eagle Ranch. If you're craving a good burger, head to the Dusty Boot! Pizza and gelato? Provisions has that goodness.
Description
From the parking area on Arroyo Drive you can access the Turnihead and Bailey trails. For the full tour and the figure eight loop, start riding north on Turniphead. The trail travels north and rolls across a flat area before dipping and rising onto the side of a small hill. From here the trail dips into another flat meadow that skirts the Eagle Ranch Golf Course. After crossing a small creek bridge, the trail traverses and old ditch and then climbs up and around a knoll to an intersection with the Mayer Gulch Trail.

At the intersection, take a right. The sagebrush on Mayer Gulch is a little bigger and more dense. The trail is uphill but not steep, rises and falls frequently, matching the high desert terrain. After crossing the neighborhood bike path, the sage brush continues for a short time and then the trail travels through an open area before ducking under a roadway bridge.

Beware of trail users coming from the other direction. From here the trail is straight and slightly uphill all the way to the BLM road. Near the top of Mayer Gulch Trail notice a trail intersection to Riddle Trail. You'll be head this way on the return trip.

Turn right onto Riddle Trail and climb the doubletrack road briefly. As the road tops out take a moment to look at the view. You'll be surrounded by mountains, and most days, big blue skies.

From here the doubletrack descends, and is almost always very rutted. Pay attention during the descent as you will need to bounce back and forth to find the best line. As the road flattens out and rounds the corner, look for another doubletrack on your left to head up Second Gulch.

After pedaling just under 0.5 miles up the doubletrack in Second Gulch look for singletrack on you on your right. This is the Bailey Trail, named for mountain bike legend and Eagle local John Bailey, starts slightly downhill and is one of the most fun sections of trail in the system. With a little speed you can be on the edge of your seat shifting back and forth as the trail carves back and forth into the hillside. Before you know it you'll be back in the saddle, climbing to the top of the hill and the start of another descent.

The backside of Bailey goes quick so be prepared for a steep grade of trail and a few rutted sections. There are a couple of trees and a few rocks to navigate but all are welcome challenges to keep you on your toes. The trail drops into a flat section of trail that bombs through the sagebrush and back to the Arroyo Gulch Trailhead.

From here you can finish the ride or continue on to loop the figure eight to catch the Riddle Trail.

To continue, ride Turnihead to Mayer Gulch again. Near the top of Mayer (after the bridge underpass and a long straight section of trail) look for the Riddle Trail on your left.

The trail bends sharply to the left as it travels parallel to the Mayer Gulch Trail on the other side of the dry wash. Travel north on Riddle, first twisting through open sage meadow that climbs slightly before crossing a gravel road. On the other side the trail descends quickly along a barbed wire fence. This section of trail is fast and has a couple of kinks. The trail crosses through the fence line over a cattle guard and then traverses the edge of a small mesa above the Brush Creek Valley.
From here there are a couple of options to loop back to the intersection of Mayer Gulch and Turnihead trails on E Haystacker Drive.
Option 1: Continue on singletrack until you hit a paved path. Turn right and descend to the intersection.
Option 2: Continue on singletrack until the first intersection with another singletrack on the right. Turn and descend 'The Wall'. At the bottom, turn left on singletrack. The trail is pretty flat for the most part except for a very steep and very short section that veers up to the left.
From the intersection stay right to ride Turnihead back to the trailhead on Arroyo Drive.
History & Background
The development you see called Eagle Ranch was a working cattle ranch less than two decades ago and reflects the ranching and farming heritage of the Brush Creek Valley.
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COMMENTS
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PHOTOS of Eagle Ranch Loops
 4.7 from 3 votes
Remnants of the (actual) Eagle Ranch. (Eagle, CO)
 4.0 from 1 vote
Start of the Bailey Trail from Second Gulch. Looking north towards Eagle. (Eagle, CO)
 3.5 from 2 votes
Mayer Gulch trail at intersection with paved trail. Looking north towar... (Eagle, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
Lower Mayer Gluch trail looking south (Eagle, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
View from the doubltrack between Mayer Gulch trail and Bailey Trail. (Eagle, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
The Riddle Trail along the fence line. Looking north with Castle Peak i... (Eagle, CO)
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