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blue Salida Mountain Trails - Quick Tour

  3.9 ( 15 ) Favorite


3.7 mile 6.0 kilometer loop
100% Singletrack


Ascent: 516' 157 m
Descent: -509' -155 m
High: 7,532' 2,296 m
Low: 7,058' 2,151 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 13% (7°)


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Trail shared by Leslie Kehmeier

A great introduction to the Arkansas Hills Trail System (aka S Mountain).

Leslie Kehmeier

Bureau of Land Management Treasures

One of the Bureau of Land Management's "Backyard to Backcountry" treasures, this trail was developed between Salida Mountain Trails and the Royal Gorge, CO BLM office to provide world-class riding experiences.

Check out the top 20 BLM Backyard to Backcountry rides!

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


This short-ish ride is a great introduction to the Arkansas Hills Trail System, linking Frontside to Lil Rattler followed by the western half of Backbone and the bottom of Sand Dunes.

It's a great ride to get a feel for the trails and plenty of opportunity to link to other routes in the system.

Need to Know

The Arkansas Hills Trail System can be accessed directly from downtown Salida so be prepared for other bikers, trail runners, hikers and dog walkers.


Start your tour on S Mountain from the parking area at the end of F St along the river. Pass through the fence on the south side of the lot and bear right along the railroad tracks. Cross over the tracks at the obvious spot and stay left and pedal a few hundred yards.

Turn left and you'll be on Frontside, a moderate singletrack climb that starts along the bottom of S Mountain and then winds its way up to Spiral Dr. The climb is a bit of a grind at first and then turns into a steady pedal.

Stay straight at the intersection with Burnpile and then catch your breath once you reach the upper trailhead. From here, look for Lil Rattler behind the trail kiosk.

Lil Rattler is another fun section of singletrack. It starts out climbing again but much easier as it makes a gradual push towards the backside of S Mountain. When it hits Spiral Drive keep sharp left and continue pedaling up around the toe of a slope.

From here the route climbs gently some more to the intersection with Rd 173 and Backbone. Stay right and descend slightly across dry open hillsides to Sand Dunes.

The quick tour ends with a sandy descent interrupted by a few challenging creek boulders that take you back out to the railroad.

Cruise back into Salida!


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Oct 1, 2018
Jody Patten
Sep 11, 2018
Jason Denley
Jun 29, 2018
Sabrina Katharina
We did this but followed backbone all the way to sweet dreams then came down. It felt like 85% climbing and 15% downhill. Not a fan. 6mi — 1h 20m
Jun 27, 2018
Chris Dvorak
May 1, 2018
Taryn Brooke
Sep 5, 2017
Rick Garcia
Aug 27, 2017
Erik Sharp
Aug 13, 2017
Ginny Koken

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Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 15 votes


  3.9 from 15 votes
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