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Sharkstooth Pass to Bear Creek

Difficult
 2.5 (2) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A high alpine loop over Sharkstooth Pass and down Bear Creek.


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Map Key

19.2

Miles

30.9

KM

75%

Singletrack

11,910' 3,630 m

High

9,009' 2,746 m

Low

3,145' 959 m

Up

3,180' 969 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

33%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

This trail gives excellent views of the La Plata mountains as it goes over Sharkstooth Pass, before then dropping down Bear Creek and then returning back to the road via the Aspen Loop Trail #631.

Need to Know

This trail has several hike-a-bike sections, multiple stream crossings, and, if ridden earlier in the summer, multiple snow field crossings.

Description

From Mancos, turn right and drive up County Road 42 until you reach Windy Gap. Most cars will be able to make it to Windy Gap, and 4WD vehicles can turn right on the road to Twin Lakes to drive directly to the trailhead. If you park at Windy Gap, there is an ATV trail that can be ridden down to the trailhead.

Once at the trailhead, begin climbing up Sharkstooth Pass, with many excellent views of Hesperus Mountain along the way. Once above treeline, the trail gets much rockier and more difficult to ride. We ended up hiking quite a bit of it. Eventually, you reach Sharkstooth Pass. The pass gives the opportunity for an optional climb of Centennial Peak, if you have the time. Sharkstooth Pass is the point of no return, and going any farther pretty much commits you to the entire ride.

Begin descending down the other side of Sharkstooth Pass. This is probably the steepest section of the trail, and crosses a couple talus fields. This section of trail can contain a lot of snow as well earlier in the season.

Once below tree line, you'll come across a trail junction, choose to go left on the Bear Creek Trail #607. From here, you have about 6.5 miles of downhill riding, with the trail becoming mellower and easier as you descend the valley.

After riding down Bear Creek, there will be a bridge on the left that starts ascending up the Gold Run Trail #618. This trail is quite steep, and we ended up hiking most of it, around two miles or so. This was probably the most tiring section of the ride for me.

Eventually, you climb up out of the valley and are back on a dirt road. Turn left on the road, Aspen Loop Trail #631, and follow it back to Windy Gap. Once at Windy Gap, turn left and find the ATV trail to go back down to the trailhead.

History & Background

There are some abandoned mining remains at the beginning of the trail, with a historic trail with some plaques and signs detailing the history of the ruins.

Contacts

Shared By:

MTB Project Staff

Trail Ratings

  2.5 from 2 votes

#3425

Overall
  2.5 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#429

in Colorado

#3,425

Overall
63 Views Last Month
7,105 Since Oct 10, 2014
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Photos

Starting the descent down Sharkstooth Pass, with Sharkstooth Peak in the background.
Jun 16, 2014 near Rico, CO
Nearing the junction for Bear Creek.
Jun 16, 2014 near Rico, CO
The Bear creek drainage opening up into a nice meadow.
Jun 16, 2014 near Rico, CO
Sharkstooth Pass
Sep 18, 2014 near Rico, CO
Riders descending from Sharkstooth Pass toward Bear Creek Drainage.
Sep 18, 2014 near Rico, CO
Junction of Sharkstooth Trail and Bear Creek Trail.
Sep 18, 2014 near Rico, CO

Weather


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Check-Ins

Sep 23, 2015
Nate Cardozo
Awesome ride! I highly recommend parking at the top of the Gold Run Trailhead which would finish the final hike-a-bike section at your vehicle.