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Rainbow Trail #1336: Bear Creek to Mears Junction (Methodist Mountain Section)

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.4 (5)

A classic Salida trail for those with strong legs and big lungs.


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Map Key

15.5

Miles

24.9

KM

Singletrack

10,247' 3,123 m

High

8,517' 2,596 m

Low

2,300' 701 m

Up

2,773' 845 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

24%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

Section Of

Description

Gain some altitude fast and enjoy a big mountain ride close to town. It's in and out of drainages with rocks, roots, healthy climbs, and swooping fun bits.

It is not common to ride the entire trail between Highway 285 and Bear Creek (County Road 101) all at once. The more mountain bike friendly section is between County Road 108 and Bear Creek (County Road 101).

The most common way to approach this trail is by riding east from Salida on Highway 50 and turn right (south) onto County Road 101. This is referred to as Bear Creek. Put it in a low gear and spin up the steep 2 track road to the Bear Creek trailhead.

Head west on singletrack towards County Road 108 (Methodist Mountain Trailhead) and Highway 285. You'll pass the Columbine trail that heads downhill and back to the parking lot by the cattle guard you passed on your climb up to the trailhead. Once you hit County Road 108, you can head down it back to town or to the Little Rainbow for more riding.

Some riders will continue towards Highway 285 and down the Sand Gulch 2 track to Double Rainbow. Very few sane riders would continue west until they hit Highway 285. West of County Road 108 there are many steep ups and downs that are often torn up by motorcycle use. The grades get steeper and you may find you do more hiking than biking.

It is possible to start at the Highway 285 trailhead and ride eastward. The climb up Poncha Mountain is brutal and filled with technical climbing. Make sure you bring plenty of food and water.

Contacts

Shared By:

Josh Jones with improvements by Marcel S

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 5 votes

#5457

Overall
  4.4 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#514

in Colorado

#5,457

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9,086 Since Aug 31, 2014
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Photos

Awesome turns through a snowy patch of the Rainbow Trail.
Dec 22, 2015 near Salida, CO
The Rainbow Trail isn't short on views...
Dec 22, 2015 near Salida, CO
Rainbow Trail near Columbine Trail
Sep 7, 2016 near Salida, CO
Narrow Rainbow trail just before Sandy Wash
Jul 1, 2018 near Salida, CO
Miles of this on Rainbow Trail
Aug 31, 2014 near Salida, CO
Ascending the upper portion of the Rainbow Trail
Jun 5, 2018 near Salida, CO

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Bad / Closed 16 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

May 17, 2018
Preston Dennis
Sep 30, 2016
Cdilis Melis
Sep 5, 2016
Steven Mattics
Jun 26, 2015
sean mccon
Fun classic 17mi
Jun 22, 2015
Aaron D
parked at cattle guard, looped with Columbine
Sep 22, 2008
lubes 17319