Its big... its a challenge... you need a GPS. It's the Salida Big Friggin' Loop!
It is difficult due to distance, altitude and its 12k' of climbing at altitude. This ride is not for the unprepared or faint of heart.
Carry a lot of water and food... and your GPS of course.
Head west out of Salida past the airport on CR140, turn north on CR250, and stay on it until you come to a Y intersection where 250 takes the right fork and 252 takes the left fork. You take 252, then turn right onto the Colorado Trail segment 14: Highway 50 to Chalk Creek TH and ride it all the way to Cottonwood
Creek, west of BV.
Following the Colorado Trail is not challenging, as it is very well signed. The only possible confusion: at Chalk Creek youll have to follow CR162 down to the Princeton Hot Springs Resort, then turn left on CR321, then left on CR322, then ride through the Frontier Ranch parking lot and continue on up the jeep road to the CT trailhead. And then on north on the CT to where the trail dumps out onto Colorado Highway 306. Follow 306 east on into Buena Vista.
Following the ride from downtown BV to the Midland Bike Trail Out and Back and Backbone
is not difficult. Its on the maps, its well signed, and anyone you run into can give you directions.
For people doing the long route, I strongly suggest that you load the GPX tracks into a GPS and follow it. Unless you are VERY familiar with the area or experienced with orienteering, topo maps, and dead reckoning, the route is hard to follow without the help of GPS.