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Arbaney-Kittle Trail (2186.2)

Difficult
 3.1 (10)

A backcountry ridgeline route above the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan river valleys - a classic!


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Map Key

18.7

Miles

30.1

KM

Singletrack

10,693' 3,259 m

High

6,881' 2,097 m

Low

1,403' 428 m

Up

5,214' 1,589 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

44%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Need to Know

This is a remote backcountry trail. Riders have been known to lose the trail, and stay out overnight. Be prepared for a long ride with all the right equipment to get you safely back to the trailhead! Download mtbproject to your phone to help with route finding.

Most locals tackle the A-K as an all-day adventure connecting Aspen to Basalt or use a shuttle to start on Kobey Park Rd. (FS Rd. 508). At the eastern end of the trail, you'll see a small cairn of rocks marking the intersection, and 50 yards later a sign that labels the trail as "Kobey Trail No. 2186". The A-K is named Kobey Trail by the White River National Forest signs on the ground for the first few miles until an intersection with Red Canyon Trail (FS 1933), where the signage changes to call it "Arbaney Kittle Trail No. 2186".

Description

The Arbaney-Kittle Trail is one of the Roaring Fork Valley's longest and highest elevation classic trails. It follows the ridge that separates the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers and offers excellent views of Ruedi Reservoir and Red Table Mt to the north, and the breadth of the Elk Range and Mount Sopris to the south.

Most riders tackle the trail from east to west, somewhat limiting climbing, while providing a huge descent all the way down towards Basalt. The trail combines classic singletrack through mature aspen groves and dark timber forests, short sections of doubletrack, a crux hike-a-bike section along a rocky ridgeline, overgrown trail segments that will keep the adventure level high, and thousands of feet of fast descending as you tackle the final miles of the trail down to Basalt.

The first 7.5 miles of trail are open to motorcycles, which does seem to help to keep this remote trail in decent shape each summer. During this first part of the trail, review the MTB Project mapping to avoid taking a wrong turn on routes to the south. Once you've reached Red Rim Rd., look for an intersection on your right to continue on the A-K Trail; from this point west to Basalt the trail is closed to motorcycles and sees less traffic.

About 1.5 miles west of Red Rim Rd., you'll encounter the half-mile crux of the trail. The ridge you've been riding turns to rocks, small cliffs, and the biggest views of the ride. The 10+ minute hike-a-bike begins. While you'll find cairns occasionally marking the way, some rideable sections, and even some good trail to navigate on both the north and south sides of the ridge. Use your best judgement and follow the path of least resistance while not straying too far from the actual ridge. When a rideable trail presents itself again on the ridge, you'll still encounter heavy corridor growth and may lose the trail for a short distance, especially on a short, steep section that has some old switchbacking trail obscured by vegetation. Refer to the MTB Project mobile app frequently in this area to ensure you are still on route, or close to it. A sharp right-hand turn marks the end of difficult route finding; this is about three miles west of the Red Rim Rd. intersection.

Climbs get shorter, descents get faster, and then steeper on the final eight miles of the trail. Fallen trees can be common on the remote parts of the trail. Be aware as the final steep descent is popular with hikers on shorter trips from the western trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier with improvements by Mike Pritchard

Trail Ratings

  3.1 from 10 votes

#34

in Aspen

#17554

Overall
  3.1 from 10 votes
5 Star
20%
4 Star
30%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
20%
1 Star
20%
Trail Rankings

#34

in Aspen

#1,586

in Colorado

#17,554

Overall
36 Views Last Month
5,374 Since Nov 29, 2016
Difficult

10%
0%
0%
0%
80%
10%

Photos

Looking north at Ruedi Reservoir.
Apr 20, 2017 near Basalt, CO
A rider cleans the last technical traverse.
Apr 20, 2017 near Basalt, CO
The views of the Elk Range make Arbaney Kittle one of the most epic rides in Colorado!
Apr 20, 2017 near Basalt, CO
Coming into the old Colorado Mountain Club Cabin or Cow Camp.
Apr 20, 2017 near Aspen, CO
Looking southeast into the Red Canyon drainage.
Apr 20, 2017 near Basalt, CO
A nearly indiscernible section of trail along the very technical traverse.  Riders beware.
Apr 20, 2017 near Basalt, CO

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Check-Ins

Aug 9, 2020
Stephanie Striefel
did 2.5 first day, camped at established spot (was the best section); other 5 next day, moto trenches, deep dust, hot, walked a lot; great views 7.5mi
Aug 2, 2020
Adam Olson
The first 6 miles are all torn up from motos. Deep ruts, every water bar gone and loose chalky dirt. No bueno. 24mi — 6h 00m
Jul 19, 2020
JoeSzusz
Sep 22, 2018
Rachel Hadley
Sep 22, 2018
Kelleigh Condon
Aug 29, 2017
Rafael Cruz
Z
Jul 3, 2016
Steve Scherck
2 hour hike a bike, thumbs down