And off the rim you go! The first quarter-mile drops 400 feet as you plunge down narrow, steep, and chunky switchbacks.
At the creek you'll see signs for horse and hiker routes. The latter refers to a log bridge that is washed out as of July 2014. Just splash across the creek.
The other side of the creek is almost as steep and even narrower. This section, unfortunately, is mostly hike-a-bike. And then suddenly, it's over. You emerge on a gently rising plateau. Be sure to close the gate at 1.4 miles.
Threading along cow trails you'll pass the grandly-named Box Canyon Reservoir, a large and muddy stock tank. Right about four miles into the ride, you'll reach a four-way intersection. Turn left. If you were to stay straight or turn right here, you'd join the Mancos Box Canyon Spur
Cruising on through sparse aspens, you descend into the Deer Lick Creek drainage. Except for roots, this is less chunky and more gradual than the west end plunge. Deer Lick opens into a meadow that eventually deposits you beside the West Mancos River.
After splashing through two crossings, you emerge to find a very steep climb and then a river-bank ride to the old site of Golconda. Here you can pick up the West Mancos Trail
to continue the loop.
Given the steepness of the west end gorge crossing, riders might want to consider riding this trail in the opposite direction. They could take West Mancos Trail
downhill then climb gradually up Deer Lick. This would save the plunge down and the hike-a-bike up for the very end.
This is a remote area with no cell coverage. Riders should be well-prepared with repair and weather gear.