This is a great bunch of singletrack. The initial climb is long but not terribly steep and there are sections where it mellows out long enough to let you recover a bit. There are some short technical sections but nothing that will define the trail. Some of the more difficult features are the water bars on steep sections but you can usually aim for a side if you want to avoid the full challenge.
Beware of hot days because there's not a whole lot of shade during the initial climb.
It can be crowded, but there seems to be enough room that it won't ruin your ride if you have a good attitude.
You'll often have to park along the road as the parking lot fills up quick.
From the lower parking lot, jump on the castle trail. Pretty quickly there will be a turn off for a hikers only trail (Turkey Trot) on the right. Just stay left and you'll see some small water bars in the trail.
Now this is where you'll be wishing you warmed up more. There is a short but steep climb with some tricky water bars if you stay in the center. From here it'll be a lot more consistent. About halfway up there is a fairly rocky section followed by slightly more technical riding. Just hang in there and you'll be done before you know it. At the top of the climb there is a nice stone shelter for some shade and rest.
The trail widens up and becomes very casual and it'll take you up just a little bit more. Shortly after heading down, you'll pass by a standard open space wooden fence. This is where you have some options. You can continue straight on the castle trail and turn left on Parmalee to hit the nice singletrack. This route will shave off 2 or so miles from the ride i'm describing and avoids some steep uphills.
If you feel up to it, turn left on the meadow trail which is some casual singletrack. Stay right past the Old Ute
trail and ride a little bit further until you see a turn off for Parmalee and Tower Trail
. Tower Trail
will take you to the top of Mount Falcon and supply some nice views from a small structure. If you go straight up the Tower Trail
, it'll get the blood pumping. It's short but a little steeper than the Castle trail climb. You can continue this past the peak and to the meadow trail but you'll have to ride down some sets of steps that could be intimidating, so be careful. Biking this little loop in the opposite direction will require you to carry your bike up.
When you've finished the Mount Falcon summit, turn down the Parmalee trail. There is a lot of traffic on this trail so be careful of riders and hikers. This trail has a bit of everything so it can be a lot of fun. Going from this direction you'll have a challenging climb back to Castle trail. It's probably the hardest climbing you'll do, but it's not nearly as long as the initial climb so with a rest or two, you should make it just fine.
Once you reach the Castle trail again, you might as well run Parmalee the other direction. Now you'll have some fun downhill and moderate climbing back to the Tower Trail
Turn right back on the meadow trail and either head to the castle trail to head down or continue with the two last loops.
If you're continuing, head right onto the Old Ute
trail. There will be a very short but steep climb with some more water bars until you reach the turn off for Devil's Elbow
The hardest part of the Devil's elbow is actually the climb out from the loop. There's also a good amount of shade so this loop is the most likely place to see mud. The worst is right at the beginning and can make the climb all the more challenging. I like to go counter clockwise because there is a really fun, short down hill section. Once you're on the loop, there is a short climb and then some nice opportunities for scenic views of the mountains. Push through the climb back to the Old Ute
loop and you've pretty much done all the major work.
The rest of Old Ute
has some bits of down and up and some interesting sections that aren't terribly hard.
Make you're way back to the Meadow trail, hang a right to meet with the Castle trail, and make the long decent back to the parking lot.