The IMBA Epic at Curt Gowdy is a big loop that travels through a host of different landscapes, highlighting the best of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. The Middle Fork of Crow Creek bisects the area, creating three different eco-systems within the park; i.e. high plains, upland montane and riparian.
In the western area of the park, overlying Tertiary sandstone and siltstone of the Laramie Range have gradually eroded, exposing the Pre-Cambrian granite underneath. The granite makes for excellent mountain biking and is an important part of the trail system. The eastern area of the park is characterized by high plains topography with reservoirs and the large deeply incised canyons of Middle Crow Creek.
The route starts from Voline TH on Twin Lakes just behind the pit toilets. Combined with the northern section of Crystal Ridge
, it's a great warm-up to a big ride. Bear left onto Crystal Ridge
and cruise through open dry hills north. After crossing the main road the route descends slightly into a busy intersection.
Turn left onto Canyons
. You'll quickly cross a bridge and then stay left to pedal up through the oakbrush. Continue straight through multiple intersections with Middle Kingdom
. At the next bridge turn left after crossing to start another climb, this time on Mahogany
. Ride up series of switchbacks and moderately rocky trail. Continue through the intersection with Granite Ridge
to athe intersection with Canyons
at a parking area.
Take a moment to enjoy the views back to the south of a large canyon at the end of Granite Springs Reservoir. It's a great spot to have a snack and rest before tackling the next part of the route.
is the easy respite between the lower and upper end of the Curt Gowdy Trail system. It's an easy, mostly level cruise untill you cross the main road and dam for the lake. The northern end of Shoreline
will climb as in winds towards the Aspen Grove Trailhead(aka Main TH).
Now you'll be in the mountain part of the Curt Gowdy trail system which is characterized by shorter and steeper ups and downs. It also has more clusters of pines and aspen.
, the route rolls right into Stone Temple Circuit
, the core trail in this area. The climb ramps up a bit here winding up through trees and granite boulders.
Stay right at Igneoramous and then at Rock 'N Roller to continue the big loop. For the most part the route travels through pines and over waves of granite. For a moment, you'll break out into a open meadow on the east side of Rock 'N Roller before diving back into the trees.
Keep right at the next two intersections to tackle 2%
, a short but uber technical test of your tires and rocky surfaces.
Jump back onto Stone Temple at the three-way intersection with Igneoramous and enjoy a long section of flowing trail that transitions back and forth through open meadow and pine stands. Stay right at Albert's and get ready for the next technical section on El Alto
A fitting name("The High"), El Alto
takes you to the highest point in Curt Gowdy State Park. It is steep with huge slabs of granite that are great for gravity defying traction both going up and down.
From the end of El Alto
, turn right for a connection on Crow Creek to Mo' Rocka
, a more contouring, less technical but still rocky trail. This part of the ride travels through an extended section of pine forest.
Stay right at the intersection Crow Creek to finish the mountain section of Curt Gowdy. The trail has more roots than rocks and breaks out into a fantastic view of Crystal Reservoir.
You'll intersect Shoreline
briefly at the end of Crow Creek to connect to Granite Ridge
. The trail climbs steadily at the beginning to a nice view back to Crow Creek. At the top, navigate around a prominate boulder feature and the roll and contour, descending gradually to the road and a connection to the northern end of Canyons
Ride south into a high hidden canyon on rocky terrain. The trail will switchback and turn down to an intersection with Mahogany
. Stay left at the intersection to continue.
At the next junction, turn left again and begin climbing the Middle Kingdom
loop in a clockwise direction. Pedal up a climb, traverse a hidden meadow and then descend through a rocky keyhole across big granite slabs. Turn left at the bottom to continue on Canyons
The final part of the Epic is on Cliffhanger
. The trail stays tucked below the horizon and high above Crystal Reservoir. The route passes through a few open meadows before getting to a mandatory hike-a-bike on some exposed drops. Afterwards the trail rolls smooth to Volin Trailhead and the end of the ride.