This description is for the upper portion of the trail that can be accessed (or departed from) at the upper trailhead (near the BLM Parking Lot). Note that the trail actually starts down near Aspen at the Rio Grande Bike Path, but eventually becomes a steep boulder filled hiking trail.
The trail is most often ridden from the upper bridge (near its midpoint) as a fast descent with intermittent minor rock garden challenges. It's great to use as the downvalley part of loop after riding the Iowa Shaft trail for the upvalley portion.
The far eastern end of the trail approaches the Hunter-Frying Pan Wilderness boundary. This stretch of trail makes for a great out and back ride. It's often easy beginner level riding, but it's punctuated with some steep rocky sections between the gracious view filled meadows. The far end of the trail gets progressively more technical and wild until the trail ends with views further up valley towards Thimble Rock and the Williams Mountains.
At the lowest elevation, near the upper trailhead, the trail is an old road bed that's incredibly rocky. Most riders avoid part of this rocky stretch by jug-handling onto the Verena Mallory singletrack for half a mile. V-M is a narrow technical trail, but worth the detour if you can ride most of it. This is the traditional exit sequence when riding out of the Smuggler Mountain / Hunter Creek trail network.
Great riding in both directions. Lots of easy riding, but rated intermediate for the numerous rocky sections.
Shared By: Mike Pritchard