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Rampart Reservoir Trail

 40 votes

14.2 Miles 22.9 Kilometers


90%

Singletrack

1,034' 315 m

Ascent

-1,027' -313 m

Descent

9,266' 2,824 m

High

9,000' 2,743 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

All Clear

2 days agoUpdate

Excellent singletrack circumnavigating around a scenic reservoir in the Rampart Range of Colorado.

Kevin League

Overview

Some of the best singletrack in the Colorado Springs area: the Rampart Reservoir Trail is a local warm season favorite for riders of all abilities. It features mostly smooth sections of trail with periodic obstacles, winding through unique rock formations, a variety of wildflower filled meadows and a portion of recently burned forest along the shore of a very scenic reservoir in the Rampart Range of southern Colorado.
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

The route described here is from the the Rainbow Gulch Trailhead, the most common starting point for most mountain bikers. The parking here is free, but it adds a short, less than two mile, descent and climb back to the the trailhead. Paid parking and direct access to the reservoir trail is located in the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area a few miles away.

The reservoir is a very popular recreation area for many different user groups, especially for the fishing contingency. On any given summertime weekend or holiday, you are likely to see parking at near capacity, but do not let this discourage you from riding. On the busiest summer days you're likely to only see a few people either hiking or riding the trail. Most users of the recreation area are there for the boating, fishing, and picnicking.

Description

Leave the trailhead on a wide dirt road heading downhill. About a half mile later, you'll reach a fork: a singletrack trail goes left and parallels the road. The road or singletrack will take you to the same location, but I recommend the singletrack, its more fun! Follow the singletrack until it intersects with the road again a short time later. To continue on the singletrack, cross the road by turning right and an immediate left where the aqueduct pours into a canal. Follow the singletrack now paralleling the canal and road, through the willows to the intersection of the Rampart Reservior trail, which crosses the canal via a sturdy bridge.

Turn left, crossing the bridge and then turn right back onto the road that quickly turns into singletrack. Travel clockwise around the reservoir. The trail travels around each and every arm of the reservoir. Occasional obstacles interfere with the flow of the trail, requiring dismounts for all but the most advanced riders. You'll encounter a few small creek crossings as well.

At the 9 mile mark you'll reach the reservoir dam. Cross over the dam, reaching the south shore of the reservoir and pass the guard shack. Pick up the singletrack immediately after the guard shack and gate.

The south shore of the lake interacts with more recreational infrastructure like picnic sites and fishing access to the shore. You'll encounter more foot traffic from these users and the trail is a bit more worn. The south shore has also seen the most impacts of the Waldo Canyon Fire and you'll pass through a few burned sections. A few dismounts may be required to cross some flagstone paved stormwater drains that intersect the trail.

After riding through the burn and then into a deep mature forest, you'll return back the the bridge where the loop begins and ends. Take either the singletrack or road back to the trailhead. I prefer to take the trail downhill in the beginning and the road at the end for the short climb back.

As described here, many riders enjoy traveling around the reservoir clockwise. However the trail heading around the lake counterclockwise is also very good. For a longer ride, finish a lap around the lake going one direction and then finish with another lap going the other way.

Finally, while the trail is perfectly suitable for even beginner riders, skilled riders also enjoy the trail for the somewhat frequent technical challenges. Most riders should expect to dismount and walk some of the more difficult sections located in a dozen or so spots along the trail.

History & Background

Rampart Reservoir or Rampart Range Reservoir supplies domestic drinking water for the City of Colorado Springs. Water for the reservoir originates from the Colorado River Watershed and is supplied through a series of transcontinental pipelines buried under the Rocky Mountains. Planning for construction of the reservoir began in the 1960s as the population of southern Colorado and its need for drinking water increased. In 1969, the reservoir's dam was built and five years after its completion, the reservoir was opened to the public as a recreation area.

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4.0 from 40 votes


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Check-Ins

Nov 16, 2017
Allen Tanner
Sep 18, 2017
Rich Markley
Sep 2, 2017
Edgar Gonzalez
Aug 15, 2017
Logan Vowers
Nice trail around lake, took a break and jumped off the rocks 14.2mi
Jul 28, 2017
Charlie Gage
Jul 15, 2017
Allen Tanner
Great conditions. No mud and the Pike's sand is tacky after the recent rains. 15mi
Jul 8, 2017
Damian Guerin
Beautiful day! Beat the crowds by starting @7:30 am. Earlier would have been better. 12mi
Jul 6, 2017
David Monson
Rode Rampart today from the dam around the lake. great weather, not too hot, not many people on the trail. Nice ride. 12mi — 2h 00m

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 40 votes

#160

Overall
  4.0 from 40 votes
5 Star
28%
4 Star
48%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#51

in Colorado

#160

Overall
475 Views Last Month
20,313 Since Jul 5, 2013
Intermediate Intermediate

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Conditions


All Clear 2 days ago

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An awesome ride but be prepared. Take rain gear, a sweater, flat repair kit, and a small flashlight. The upper reaches (see map) where there are tight turns include an area that is not clearly marked. i went off the trail for about 50 yards before backtracking and locating the trail. The ride includes several steep drops in which you will have to lift your bike over logs, etc and walk down a short but steep section (shoes with good traction will help). Final note - start early! Aug 12, 2016
David Monson
Pueblo West, Co
David Monson   Pueblo West, Co
This is a blue rated trail with some sections I would rate black. Trials skills are needed on some of the rocky sections, a lot of loose small granular rock on the trails. Lots of sections with roots to navigate through, novice riders will be getting off the bike frequently to walk through the tough sections. Some really tight rocky sections and off camber sections. We had fun, but not going back. Jul 6, 2017
Christopher Bare
New Mexico
Christopher Bare   New Mexico
I agree. A pretty solid blue trail with several sections that would require trials skills or a good enduro background. Be prepared for a bit of hike a biking over these rocky obstacles. Otherwise, a beautiful location with Pikes Peak dominating the background. If you ride the trail as stated above you will not have to pay any fees. This is a must do if you find yourself in Woodland Park. Jul 19, 2017

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