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Cole Canyon Loop

Consensus:    (details)
 4.0 from 1 vote
  Intermediate/Difficult from 1 vote
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Rank: #9 in the Black Hills area
#18 in Wyoming
#839 Overall
Featured Ride near Sundance,  area, 
“A long quality loop around the perimeter of the Sundance Trail System in the Bearlodge Mountains.”
Paul Anderson on Dec 6, 2013
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22.3 Miles 3,588’ Ascent 6,511’ High 6.1% Avg Grade
50% Singletrack -3,590’ Descent 4,804’ Low 15.3% Max Grade
Restrictions
Closed in winter due to snow. Best riding June 1st - September 30th.
Overview
This is a great ride that brings you through remote areas of the Bearlodge Mountains including the Sheepnose trail through Cole Canyon. Feel the adventure by testing your legs and lungs on this grand loop of the Sundance Trail System.
Need To Know
Plan for a long day, be prepared to have some route finding decisions, and enjoy the remote backcountry feel that this ride will offer.
Description
Park at the Sundance Trailhead located off of Government Valley Road. Begin by ascending up the Sundance Trail to the 4-way intersection, located in an open meadow at roughly 1.8 miles. Make a right turn to the North onto Tent Canyon Trail.

At approximately 3 miles you'll come to another intersection with Tent Canyon Ridge to your left and Ogden Creek to your right. Turn right onto the Ogden Creek Trail which will bring you past the intersection with Ogden Ridge Trail, through a green walk gate as well as crossing through Ogden Creek which may or may not be flowing water depending on time of year. Just beyond the creek crossing, at approximately 4 miles, you'll encounter the intersection of Ogden Creek Trail to the left and Sheepnose Trail to the right.

Proceed on Sheepnose Trail climbing up open hillside taking care to look for remnants of trail work, blue diamond signs as well as a few carsonite trail markers. At approximately 5.4 miles you'll be at the intersection of Richardson Fire Trail to your left and Sheepnose Trail to the right. Stay on Sheepnose trail and be alert around the 5.8 mile point of an old fire road that heads downhill. You do NOT want to take this trail, remain to the left which holds steady elevation.

At mile 6.7, follow the open ridge slightly left, at mile 6.9 be looking for the trail markers and trail remnants to your right. At mile 7.2 once again be looking to your right for signs of the trail (carsonites and blue diamonds) which can be hard to locate due to tall grass. This same location has a very prominent cow path that leads straight ahead and drops over a steep hillside. It is much preferred to locate the trail and avoid the cow path.

Several switchbacks will get you down into the bottom of Cole Canyon at approximately mile 7.6 where you'll begin your climb up Cole Canyon. At approximately mile 9 you'll make a right turn off of the old logging road you have been riding. At mile 9.3 make a left turn at the intersection with Sheepnose Mountain Trail. Note that a great out and back side trip exists to the summit of Sheepnose Mountain if you were to make a right turn. Mile 10.5 is the Sheepnose Trailhead where you'll be making a left turn, off of the singletrack portion of the ride, onto good gravel road.

At mile 12, stay left on the main gravel road, but be aware that the Richardson Fire Trail will also merge from the left, with the main gravel road just beyond and around the corner from this intersection. Mile 12.2 stay right at the intersection where the Richardson Fire Trail leaves the main road you are riding. Mile 14.3 will bring you to the intersection with the paved Warren Peak Road, this is also the high point of this ride.

Turn left on to pavement and continue to the 16 mile point and Sand Pit Road which is gravel. At mile 16.2 you'll encounter the Ogden Ridge Trail on your left. At mile 17.1 you'll see Bitch Pitch and Edge Trail on your right. At mile 17.5 the Tent Canyon Ridge Trail will be on your Left. At mile 18 you'll see a spur for the Edge Trail on the right.

Just beyond a steel gate, at mile 19.1, start looking to the left for the Two Flat Trail. At mile 19.4 you'll see the Edge Trail on your Right. At mile 19.5 make a left turn staying on Sand Pit Road. If you continue straight you'll be on the West Fork Quarry Trail. At mile 19.7 Two Flat Trail will be on the Left and Luge Trail is on your right. At this intersection continue straight on Sand Pit Road.

Mile 20.7 will complete the loop back to the first intersection of the day where you'll back track on the Sundance Trail to the Sundance Trailhead and your car at mile 22.3.
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COMMENTS
OTHER RIDES NEAR HERE
5.0 (1)
A quick theft of time for a ride.
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5.0 (2)
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4.7 (3)
The classic loop in the Bearlodge mountains if you only have time for one ride.
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PHOTOS of Cole Canyon Loop
 4.0 from 4 votes
Looking east at Crow Peak in South Dakota --above the coffee cup.. (Sundance, WY)
 3.5 from 4 votes
Bitch Pitch looking down.. (Sundance, WY)
 3.3 from 3 votes
Bearlodge Classic Rider hitting the descent back to Reuter (Sundance, WY)
 3.3 from 4 votes
Just past a great lookout on the Sundance Trail. (Sundance, WY)
 3.0 from 3 votes
View looking south at the Tent Canyon Ridge and Ogden Creek drainage, Ph... (Sundance, WY)
 3.0 from 3 votes
Inyan Kara Background, Sundance Mtn, form the Sundance Trail View south (Sundance, WY)
 3.0 from 3 votes
View Looking South, of the Cole Canyon Area. (Sundance, WY)
 3.0 from 3 votes
Staying ahead of storm clouds (barely) on the Sundance Trails. (Sundance, WY)
 3.0 from 3 votes
Sundance Trail --View East (Sundance, WY)
 3.0 from 3 votes
ATV Barrier-View of Upper ogden meadow.-East (Sundance, WY)
 2.7 from 3 votes
Looking East at Crow Peak photo by Ryan Cherveny (Sundance, WY)
 2.7 from 3 votes
4 way crossing looking north aka "saddle" (Sundance, WY)
 2.7 from 3 votes
Upper Ogden / Sandpit crossing. (Sundance, WY)
 2.7 from 3 votes
Sundance Trail looking at the "saddle" view west. (Sundance, WY)
 2.3 from 3 votes
Great view looking east toward South Dakota. (Sundance, WY)
 1.7 from 3 votes
Looking North to Sheepnose Mtn (Sundance, WY)
 1.3 from 3 votes
Which Way is right? -> (Sundance, WY)
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