Salida Mountain Trails - Quick Tour

Consensus:    (details)
  4.3 from 7 votes
greenBlue  Easy/Intermediate from 3 votes
Rank: #3 in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area area
#121 in CO, #842 Overall
Views: 3,867. Last 30 days: 237
Condition Details | Update
Jun 2 Green
Featured Ride in the area near Salida,
“A great introduction to the Arkansas Hills Trail System (aka S Mountain).”
Leslie Kehmeier on Apr 4, 2014
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4.26.7 milesKilometers 510’156 m Ascent 7,531’2,296 m High 5% Avg Grade (3°)
100% Singletrack -510’-155 m Descent 7,043’2,147 m Low 11% Max Grade (6°)
One of the Bureau of Land Management's "Backyard to Backcountry" treasures, this trail was developed between Salida Mountain Trails and the Royal Gorge, CO BLM office to provide world-class riding experiences.

Check out the top 20 BLM Backyard to Backcountry rides!
58:34 average time for 9.0 miles. Details

This short-ish ride is a great introduction to the Arkansas Hills Trail System, linking Frontside to Lil Rattler followed by the western half of Backbone and the bottom of Sand Dunes.

It's a great ride to get a feel for the trails and plenty of opportunity to link to other routes in the system.
Need To Know
The Arkansas Hills Trail System can be accessed directly from downtown Salida so be prepared for other bikers, trail runners, hikers and dog walkers.
Start your tour on S Mountain from the parking area at the end of F St along the river. Pass through the fence on the south side of the lot and bear right along the railroad tracks. Cross over the tracks at the obvious spot and stay left and pedal a few hundred yards.

Turn left and you'll be on Frontside, a moderate singletrack climb that starts along the bottom of S Mountain and then winds its way up to Spiral Dr. The climb is a bit of a grind at first and then turns into a steady pedal.

Stay straight at the intersection with Burnpile and then catch your breath once you reach the upper trailhead. From here, look for Lil Rattler behind the trail kiosk.

Lil Rattler is another fun section of singletrack. It starts out climbing again but much easier as it makes a gradual push towards the backside of S Mountain. When it hits Spiral Drive keep sharp left and continue pedaling up around the toe of a slope.

From here the route climbs gently some more to the intersection with Rd 173 and Backbone. Stay right and descend slightly across dry open hillsides to Sand Dunes.

The quick tour ends with a sandy descent interrupted by a few challenging creek boulders that take you back out to the railroad.

Cruise back into Salida!

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PHOTOS of Salida Mountain Trails - Quick Tour
  4.8 from 8 votes
Frontside trail provides stellar views of the high peaks surrounding Sal... (Salida, CO)
  5.0 from 2 votes
Lil Rattler makes an easy and fun connection between Frontside and Backb... (Salida, CO)
  4.2 from 5 votes
Fairly typical evening ride on S mountain in Salida (Salida, CO)
  4.0 from 3 votes
Evening ride in Salida. (Salida, CO)
  4.0 from 3 votes
On Tenderfoot. (Salida, CO)
  3.5 from 2 votes
Mid winter ride on Backbone trail, S mountain, Salida. (Salida, CO)
  3.5 from 2 votes
Taking on Little Rattler. (Salida, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Long runs of contouring singletrack. Backbone. (Salida, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Great views of Salida and the Arkansas Valley on Fronside. (Salida, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Start of the Backbone Trail. (Salida, CO)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Lil Rattler- nice riding trail with knock-out views of Salida and beyond! (Salida, CO)