“A Santa Fe classic with lots of rocky technical pieces and smooth fast singletrack.”
— BC Rimbeaux
This ride incorporates the two most bikeable sections of the Dale Ball trail system: Dale Ball North Loop
and Dale Ball Central Loop
. All the trails in these sections are good mtb trails. DB North has more fast trails with fewer technical rocky sections. It is also favored by hikers and dog walkers. The DB Central has a higher concentration of fun technical rocky sections.
This trail is great fun in either direction. You can begin the loop at any point where the trail intersects a road, but this description begins on Cerro Gordo Rd at the arroyo at the sharp turn in the road. Another starting point is .4 miles east near a larger parking area.
The trail heads north in and out of the arroyo for .7 mi to Junction 20 where you turn left. After .1 mi, you'll come to a climbing left turn that is the hardest technical feature of the whole ride. It's really just one big step, but it's somewhere between tough and impossible.
Continue straight past Junction 19 another .45 mi to Junction 11 where you'll turn left. This turn and marker are obstructed by trees so they're easy to zip by.
It's downhill to the steep-banked arroyo paralleling Hyde Park Rd. Coss the arroyo and the paved road and start climbing.
The switchbacks provide most of the technical challenges on this climb with the toughest coming after .2 mi.
Continue straight past Junction 10, and stay left at Junction 5 and begin descending. The section between these 2 junctions have great views. It's a .7 mi descent to Sierra del Norte Rd.
Cross the road and begin climbing. Stay straight at Junction 3. After .8 mi, a new (2012) trail without a Junction sign splits off to the left. Stay straight/right at this intersection.
Continue .7 mi to Junction 2 where you'll go left.
As you near the Corral parking lot, stay straight on the trail that takes you around the lot to the left. At the far end of the lot, the trail is next to the split rail fence. Don't enter the lot, but take the lightly used trail to the intersection of Sierra del Norte and Hyde Park Rd.
Cross Hyde Park Rd into Cerros Colorados subdivision. Just past the subdivision sign take the trail to the left. The trail will parallel Hyde Park Rd for .3 mi, crossing one paved driveway before turning to climb.
The climb is .5 mi with a few short descents mixed in. The last part of the climb turns through 6 switchbacks that will have you wondering when you'll get to the top!
From there, the trail descends and climbs out of 2 major drainages before the final descent to Cerro Gordo Rd. Lots of fun technical rock puzzles along the way.
Turn left at Junction 14, and make a hard left at Junction 15. Get ready for technical rocky steps down to the arroyo and a quick climb out.
Stay left at Junction 16, and again at Junction 22.
Continue straight at Junction 23 and begin a steep-ish descent through cobbly rock. Bikes have smoothed a path through most of the cobble so it rides well.
Make a sharp left at Junction 25.
Start downhill at Junction 26. This can be a fast descent, but be aware that there is a locked gate across the bottom of the hill. There is a narrow opening to the right of the gate to access Cerro Gordo Rd.
Turn right on the pavement, and ride .4 miles to the start of the ride.