“XC ride on the Colorado Trail from Camp Hale via Tennessee Pass to Holy Cross Wilderness boundary.”
— Aaron White
No bikes allowed in the Holy Cross Wilderness area. This is the turn around point of the ride.
This is a high alpine excursion on a section of the Colorado Trail not commonly ridden. Since the bikeable portion of the trail ends at the Holy Cross Wilderness boundary, most people ride around the wilderness area and skip this section of trail.
It makes for a great out and back adventure as a standalone ride.
Start at the Colorado Trailhead off CR714. This is mostly all singletrack with a few short steep climbs. After 3.3 miles and about 1,200ft elevation gain you'll cross Highway 24. Cross the high and railroad tracks then continue on the Colorado Trail.
Continue riding through the meadows near Mitchell Creek with great views of Homesteak Peak (13,209ft) and Galena Mtn (12,893ft). The singletrack continues for 1.7 miles then you meet up with a fire road. Stay left and continue for another 2.1 miles to Tennessee Pass. This is a good place for restroom breaks. You could also start this ride from Tennessee Pass to shorten the distance.
The trail starts again near the right side of the parking lot. From here it is a very flowy non technical singletrack until crossing Wurts Ditch Rd at 3.3 miles. Then it becomes a little more technical for the next 3.9 miles to the Holy Cross Wilderness. It starts a gradual climb from 10,400ft and ending at 10,900ft with lots of up and downs. Most of this section of the trail follows a creek and can have water and loose rocks making it a little more challenging depending on the snow melt off. Bring mosquito repellent. They are everywhere from here to the turn around point.
Finally after about 13.5 miles, you'll end at the Holy Cross Wilderness. If the mosquitoes are not that bad take in the view and have lunch. Turn around and head all the way back. It's much faster on the way back. Plan for about 5hrs on the trail for intermediate riders. Less time if you're stronger and more time if you're not. This is a great ride. You'll probably not see many people out there at all.