Colorado's Steel City, long known for blue collars and green chilis, has recently become one of Colorados mountain bike hot spots. Lake Pueblo State Park is a premier trail destination in Colorado due to the park's desert like climate and top-notch trail system that features everything from easy cruisers to bone-jarring rock drops. With a growing singletrack network of at least 45 miles of trail, Pueblo often draws comparison to the riding found in Fruita, a desert western Colorado town that is famous for its grin inducing trails.
There is enough singletrack and variety at Lake Pueblo to spend a whole weekend exploring. And since camping is available at Lake Pueblo State Park year round, you can set up a tent or camper just feet from the trailhead.
The Park is very popular with mountain bikers and many of the trails are "purpose built" for mountain biking.
The trail system is especially popular during the winter months. Often, when the entire region is locked in snow and ice, Lake Pueblo remains one of the only dry places to ride, drawing riders from hundreds of miles away.
However, do not ride the trails when they are wet! The trail base at Lake Pueblo is clay shale and is especially sensitive after snow or heavy rain. Riding on muddy trails at Lake Pueblo does severe damage to the trails and your bike! Monitor local discussion boards like MTBR and the Southern Colorado Trial Builders website for up-to-date conditions before making the trip.
You need to pay for a daily State Park Pass to park at the main trailhead. The popular "red-gate" is a free parking option. However, numerous vehicle break-ins over the years at this location make for an unnecessary gamble. Please park at the main trailhead, the park fees go to park maintenance.
Bald Eagels frequent the park from December to March.
This easy to follow loop is a nice sample of some of the best cross-country/intermediate singletrack the park has to offer. Use the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app
, or print off a map online at the Southern Colorado Trail Builders website or pick one up at the State Park - sometimes they are offered at the main trailhead.
In general, most of the park's intermediate singletrack follows along the tops of mesas, frequently flirting on the edge of one of the Park's numerous short slot canyons that punctuate the areas gentle topography. Other cross-country oriented trails flirt along cliffs and bluffs high above the lake's shore. Most of the trails in the bottoms of canyons are black diamond trails and contain bridges and "north slope" style structures. This ride hits four of the State Park's easiest canyon trails: Rodeo
, and Rock Canyon
which feature short drops and minor technical features.
All of the trails in the Park are signed identifying their name, so with a map in hand, it is pretty easy to find your way and difficult to get lost.
Elevation gains and losses on all of the trails are minimal but the trails are designed to keep you on your toes with frequent short dips and climbs, and twists, turns and fun surprises.
The route featured in this ride is as follows:
Start from the main trailhead and travel uphill and turn left onto The Conduit Trail
which quickly turns into The Duke
Trail, following an old ditch that wraps around a mesa. Turn left onto Rodeo
and climb up a short canyon that ends at a "T." Turn left onto Rodeo
Ridge, and head over to the red gate.
At the gate, pick up Cuatro Sinko
, one of the best flowy downhills in the park, dropping into the bottom of a broad canyon. Turn left and an immediate right to catch the bridge over a creek, and take Pedro's Point
to connect to Driftwood, which cuts through an interesting area of piled up old lumber salvaged after the construction of the reservoir. At the end of Driftwood you end up back on Pedro's where, optionally, if you like, you can add Inner or Outer Limits
(other great xc oriented trails)to your trip that skirt along the cliffs above the reservoir.
Use the Pronghorn Trail
to connect to Voodoo Trail
to arrive at the Voodoo Loop
, the park's premier xc trail. Voodoo Trail
offers two ways to connect to the loop. One, a shorter trail that forks off to the right and drops down to a creek crossing, that depending on the lake's stage, could be submerged or, two, a longer "detour" that winds around and avoids the crossing all together. If you do not know which trail to take, simply follow the detour.
Once on the Voodoo Loop
, enjoy all eight miles. Many like to ride the loop clockwise, but it rides great either way. Pay attention to the wind direction and choose your direction accordingly.
Once you are finished with the loop, backtrack to the intersection of Pronghorn and Pedro's and take the Waterfall
Trail, which features a short but steep drop into a cool slot canyon. Connect with Creekside
and turn left onto South Shore
, shortly after turning right onto the aptly named Stonehendge Trail. Working hard to climb to the top, turn right at a "T" and ride down the super fun and scenic Rock Canyon
Trail. Back onto South Shore
, turn right and ride back to the trailhead.
In partnership with Lake Pueblo State Park, the trails are cared for by the Southern Colorado Trail Builders, a very active club that helps keep the trails maintained. The trail system is constantly being enhanced and expanded by club members. The Southern Colorado Trail Builders website is the most up-to-date information source on the trail's condition and offer the most comprehensive map. The clubs members consists of local mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and horseback riders.
Before the park was established, the trail system consisted of a collection of old roads, cow paths, and rouge motorcycle trails that had been established before the reservoir and park were built. After the construction of Lake Pueblo and the subsequent State Park in the 1970s, local citizens formed the club to address trail advocacy, construction, and management, with a focus on building and maintaining high quality mountain bike trails.