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Salida, CO: Update Cottonwood Tour featured ride?


Original Post
Brian Smith · · Boulder, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 5,871

I mapped this ride (https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/6309603) a couple of years ago, before lots of work was done to Cottonwood Trail and before Chicken Dinner Trail existed (props, Salida Mountain Trails!). 

My question is: should the ride now conclude on Chicken Dinner Trail? I haven't had a chance to ride the trail yet, so wanted to get opinions.

Marcel Slootheer · · Salida, CO · Joined May 2014 · Points: 873

Yes, it should include the new Chicken Dinner trail, as it adds 2 miles of Icing on the Cake (to stick with the food), versus the 1/2 mile that is left at that point on Sweet Dreams. It's a better finish even if it's a bit of an uphill to get back to town. Worth it.

Opinion from a local who helped with the design of Chicken Dinner.

Brian Smith · · Boulder, CO · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 5,871

@Marcel - thanks, man! Exactly the type of feedback I was looking for!

Marcel Slootheer · · Salida, CO · Joined May 2014 · Points: 873

I noticed you made the upgrade, but I recommend the following additional changes:

Change "Look for a small, unpaved parking area on the right (south) side of the road and ride through it to the Cottonwood / Rumba Trail / Salsa Trail entrance - just across the small, dried-up river bed. "

Into "Look for the parking area with official Trail Head kiosk on the right (south) side of the road and ride through it to the Salsa / Rumba / Cottonwood trail entrance - just across the small, dried-up river bed.

Then:

Change "Cottonwood starts with a fairly gradual climb through a shady pine forest."

Into "The first segment of the Cottonwood trail starts with a segment called Salsa, which starts as a fairly gradual climb through a shady pine forest."

Then, this entire section in your description is out of date/inaccurate at this point (for almost 2 years now):

"Eventually, you'll come to a junction with Forest Road 173. Follow this dirt road down the drainage and ignore a doubletrack that splits quickly off to the right. Next, you'll have a short but punchy climb up FR 173 to the top of a ridge. Once the road levels off and then begins to descend, keep your eyes peeled for the singletrack to begin again off of the left side of the road. This is the only bit of tricky route-finding. If you've descended for more than about 45 seconds, you've most likely gone too far. I suggest consulting the MTB Project mobile app at this junction.
This portion of Cottonwood has a completely different, much more primitive feel to it than the initial segment. You'll descend the ridge line (rather rapidly), and find yourself shot out onto the dry riverbed of Cottonwood Gulch."

It should now read something like this, as there's now 100% new single track that replaces that road section:

Eventually, you'll come to a junction with Forest Road 173, cross this road and continue on a new section of single track called Rumba. This replaces the route that required pedaling up & down FR 173 and riding down an old fall-line section of single track. Rumba starts with an intermediate climb that eventually ends up on Rumba Ridge. Just before that you pass a "Big Snake" sign. If you stop for a break, be aware of a (big) snake. Once on the ridge things start pointing down and the fun starts. The trail goes out and then back on the ridge before dropping down into the wash. A nice flow trail follows all the way to the "Waterfall" section. The key to riding this flow section is to ride slightly slower than you really want to, this way you can actually make some of the more awkward turns in this section, instead of going into them to hot and losing all your momentum trying to stay on the trail. It really is a nice section of trail if you can find this perfect speed. Once the you get to the Waterfall area you're back onto the older single track that continued to go down the Cottonwood Gulch.

Btw: Salsa has been renamed Beasway recently, to honor Brett Beasley. He was with the Forrest Service and in charge of the Cottonwood project, he unfortunately died in January. This trail name change still has to be applied in MTB Project.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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