The Gentleman's Loop is a highly fun 15 mile cross country ride that leaves from the top of the gondola station and returns the rider to town. This ride combines Prospect
Trail with Jurassic
Trail and the Upper Valley Floor. It has everything from rolling xc to a few tricky climbs, and some of the flowiest downhilling on the mountain.
Route finding is very easy as the trail is well marked with wooden sign posts throughout the trail. Prospect
is the meat of the ride and most of the uphill is done in the first third of the ride, so this ride generally goes pretty quickly.
There are often hikers on these trails. The gondola runs from 7am and allows riders off at the top until sunset. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent and severe during riding season, but the rain makes the trail run even better.
Access this trail by leaving the top of the gondola and riding up past the top of Coonskin Chair (#7). Follow the signs for the Prospect
trail on your right and you can't get lost.
A few miles of cruisy up and down on Prospect
will get you to the first major climb which is a loose section of old road. It is in a clearing after a few sharp uphill turns, so downshift, stay in the saddle and spin it up. After this climb, things flatten for some more xc and you'll cross a giant talus field. Soon after this crossing you'll reach the second significant climb which is less steep but several times longer. This climb will put you at the base of the Ute Park lift and a platform with a tee pee. This is a good spot for a snack, or you can continue straight up through the trees and then continue for a short while on a doubletrack before turning right at a signpost and onto the really fun stuff.
The next few miles are ripping downhill on easy terrain with great bermed turns and small root drops. At one point you'll reach a road, stay right-ish on the road and rejoin the singletrack at a signpost on the right. More fun downhilling follows.
The next time you reach a road, it will be a hill and you ride up and right on this road until the intersection with a paved road. Turn left here and ride down around a gate. In about 200 ft you'll cross a larger road with an overpass and then hop off onto singletrack on the right hand side of the road.
From here, rip singletrack down through the Frisbee golf course on sweeping turns and some berms. A mile or so of this will put you back on the main road into Mountain Village where you'll turn right and cruise on pavement for a quarter mile before turning left next to the peaks resort. Several sweeping turns on paved roads will get you to a big gravel pull out on the right side of the road.
Follow the sign left on Jurassic
. This trail is very straightforward and is downward angled xc. when the trail pops out on a dirt road, follow it until you reach another paved road and take a right. go over a speed bump and ride left and uphill for 500 ft before rejoining the singletrack on the right side of the road at a wooden sign.
Another mile or so of singletrack puts you out on 145 where you'll take a right and cruise downhill by a speed checker. at the big bend exit down off the shoulder and go through an opening in the wire fence. You are now on the Upper Valley Floor. A 10 minute climb through an aspen grove gets you to a steep and slightly techy downhill which then puts you on the Valley Floor Proper. Turn right and cruise the remaining 2.5 miles back to town on rolling terrain just south of the San Miguel River.