“Almost 20 miles of high-quality technical desert singletrack!”
— Tim Judkins
Sidewinder provides almost 20 miles of technical desert singletrack and numerous slickrock sections. The access roads allow you to bite off only as much as you want. There are a few fast/flowy sections and a lot of technical moves to keep you on your toes. The trail is a blast, but don't forget to stop once in a while to enjoy the amazing views.
Need to Know
Bring plenty of water and avoid the trail if there is a real chance of rain. If the trail gets muddy it is literally impassable. It is mostly exposed to the sun and dries out quickly. Fall and spring are the preferred seasons, but it is often rideable in the winter. Keep in mind that it usually feels about 10 degrees warmer on the trail than in Montrose or Delta.
The Sidewinder trail was built in 2010 by the BLM and other groups, providing a technical multi-use trail in the Gunnison Gorge NCA. Check out the BLM's site for details and a reasonable map:
Staying true to its name, the Sidewinder weaves in and out of the desert canyons paralleling the Gunnison Gorge. You'll have great views the entire ride and there are multiple access roads that allow you to sneak a peak of the Gorge. Expect to see motorbikes and possibly horses on the trail. It is remarkably high quality singletrack with very fun technical moves around rocks and cliff edges.
The trail can be ridden in either direction. Riders usually ride the trail in segments, accessing it from either end or from one of the access roads. The whole trail can be ridden as an out-and-back or as a loop, riding Peach Valley Rd. If doing a loop, Sidewinder flows best riding from south to north. From north to south, you climb nearly 3000' and descend about 2000'.
From the north, start at the well-marked trailhead off of H75 road. The trail climbs for about 1400' while contouring south along the hillside. The first few miles is some of the best quality, but it is all worthy. Once it levels out, continue to follow the trail south as it snakes in and out of numerous drainages.
You'll pass multiple Gunnison Gorge access roads along the way. These provide a quick way back to Peach Valley road if needed. From the north, you'll pass Ute, Dinosaur, Duncan (twice), Bobcat, Wave, and Eagle Valley roads before reaching the end of Sidewinder at Eagle Valley Trail
. Here you can take Eagle Valley Trail
down to the Eagle Valley trailhead or continue on Sunset Rocks
History & Background