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Dakota Ridge / Red Rocks loop from Zorro trail

 84 votes

Length

7.9 Miles 12.7 Kilometers


95%

Singletrack

Elevation

1,624' 495 m

Ascent

-1,624' -495 m

Descent

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

6,649' 2,026 m

High

5,994' 1,827 m

Low

Conditions


Minor Issues 14 days ago
Some Mud, Icy - Some ice at the water bars. Trail is mostly dry and rideable! History

Getting forecast...

A great winter or after work ride. Fast, technical and exciting.

Matt Thoele

Overview

The limestone gets really soapy when it's wet.
A typical rider should be able to do this loop in under 2 hours. It makes for a great after work ride if you want something more technical.

Drawbacks: It can get really hot, there are often rattlesnakes, and a lot of features will take a very skilled rider to clean - expect to walk some of the trail.

Note: There are several ways to do this ride. Another popular option is to park at the Stegosaurus Parking near I-70, which puts you at the bottom of Dakota Ridge trail, and skips Zorro.
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

Watch for hikers on the Red Rocks side. The climb on the North side of Dakota Ridge is all bentonite clay, if it has rained or snowed it will need time to dry or you'll have a mess on your hands.

Description

Start in the Alameda parking lot for the Zorro trail or Green Mountain. Warm up on the Zorro trail climb, try the stairs at the top, they are a prelude to the waterbars up ahead.

Head South (Left) at the intersection of Zorro and Dakota Ridge trail.

Get ready for a difficult, steep, technical climb with off-camber rocks, big moves over water bars, all with your heart jumping out of your chest. Then as the trail heads downhill, you'll be negotiating 2 foot drops while you try to take in the sharp drop off on both sides of the view. When you hit the road, keep heading south (right)(uphill) the trail picks up again on the left just before the top. After a short climb, be ready for a fast descent.

Watch for traffic, cross the road to the right and head into Red Rocks. The trail picks up again on your right, about 1/4 mile up the road after you enter the park. The Red Rocks trail is much different from Dakota Ridge. You'll find yourself climbing steadily on smooth dirt. This trail is often full of hikers, so watch for them, but you won't be moving very quickly as the climb gets fairly steep in places.

As you near the top of the climb, you'll start seeing giant Red Rock formations the park is named for. The scenery is pretty epic as you climb, and it will help you forget about the hot, dry conditions as you work hard.

Eventually you'll top out with a choice to make. Take a right to follow this ride and slice through the middle of a rock formation, climbing steeply up a short section of rock. Otherwise, take a left for the Morrison Slide trail if you want a harder alternate way back.

Once you reach the top, there's a viewpoint on the rocks you can walk out to. Otherwise, head left to follow the trail back down. It's mostly downhill or flat from here and very fun. There are some small rocks along the way down that keep it interesting, so stay alert. There's also a fairly significant stream crossing (rideable).

When you reach a junction with the Village Walk trail, stay right. Left is a hiking-only trail, and right is a bike only trail. You can fly the rest of the way down the short singletrack section without worry of encountering hikers here.

Then you'll cross the road again and finish climbing up the part of the Dakota Ridge trail you didn't ride yet. Grab a little more technical on the very steep rocky climb, then take a left to head back down Zorro.

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Check-Ins

Jan 20, 2018
adventurefamilyinmotion butcher
Dakota Ridge is Very technical
Jan 14, 2018
Travis Parsons
10.9mi
Jan 6, 2018
Jason Newcomer
Too far on unfinished trail. Dakota is as technical as they say. 8.6mi
Dec 16, 2017
Chris Eddy
Dec 6, 2017
percious
cold at the start (35*) but warmed up quickly after attaining the ridge. Wonderful ride. I did the south extension but bailed on the lolly. 9.1mi — 1h 44m
Dec 3, 2017
Lyle Harte
Nov 30, 2017
Bryant P
Nov 24, 2017
Graeme Dunn

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Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 84 votes

#42

Overall
  3.9 from 84 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
11%
1 Star
1%
Rankings

#21

in Colorado

#42

Overall
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29,816 Since May 2, 2013
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Photos

Most technical parts are rideable, especially the downhill portions. Use morrison slide trail instead for more fun, although I had a difficult time on the climb as the rocks are big and the path narrow. Feb 15, 2017
Brandon Haggard
Breckenridge, CO
Brandon Haggard   Breckenridge, CO
So great! Really humbling in showing your tech skills. Mar 20, 2017
Wow, this thing kicked my butt! So much fun on the downhill parts. Super technical but a real learning experience. Will be doing this again asp! Jun 12, 2017

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