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“The bigger and badder tour of West Magnolia featuring the School Bus Trail descent.
— Jason Vogel
This ride takes in most of the newly rebuilt close-to-town "Zone 1" trails in the West Mag area and then spits you out into the more rugged "Zone 2" and "Zone 3" trails for more advanced riders. This is a more rugged and remote trail experience that requires an adventurous spirit, plenty of extra food and water, and a willingness to get lost and find yourself again. Much of this trail system will be updated, the intersections made more intuitive, and the eroded sections of trail rerouted or hardened due to the Boulder Ranger District's Magnolia Non-Motorized Trails Plan - so get out there to experience the "old school" Mag while it still exists. This trail also includes the best and longest continuous climb-descent in the West Magnolia area. The West Magnolia trails area has many short trails that are disjointed by brief segments of road which can be disorienting. Do not despair if you make a wrong turn. There are as many good ways to do this ride as there are opinions on the internet. The key features of this ride is the Lost Meadow Trail
/ Roots and Rocks Trail
/ School Bus link up and the rest can be improvised.
Need to Know
Park at the main parking area at the intersection of the Peak to Peak Highway and Magnolia Road.
This ride can be done from the RTD Park and Ride in Nederland, the parking at Nederland High School, or the parking at the West Magnolia Trailhead on the Peak-to-Peak Highway just south of Nederland. The route here starts from the Peak to Peak Highway, but you can modify these directions to work for the other parking areas.
From the trail kiosk at the Peak-to-Peak Highway and Magnolia Road parking lot, head up the newly rerouted Pungy Stick Trail #925
(thanks Boulder Mountainbike Alliance!). Climb this nice singletrack until it tops out and begin descending. There is one trail intersection where you'll want to bear right and stay on the new Aspen Alley Trail #342A
(thanks BMA!). This part of the trail is extremely fun - with rollers, jumps, and berms with a number of alternate lines with features. Continue on Aspen Alley and cross Sugar Magnolia #926
. Aspen Alley will spit you out at the far end of Haul Road - cross the road and begin to climb the newly rerouted the Lookout Trail #926
(thanks NATO!). Lookout currently dumps you out on an old road (reroutes are in the works). Keep on the most heavily used route until you come to a gate and then hang a right on the road
- a steep descent down to the main West Mag trailhead. Head right onto Aspen Alley then left briefly on West Magnolia Road before turning right onto the Observatory Trail #355 - a short twisty blast through the trees
. The trail becomes road-like just before the turn right onto 926F
. Turn left onto the Lookout Trail #926
which ends on a dirt road. Head left briefly on the road before turning right onto Hobbit 3 #927
Near the midpoint of Hobbit 3, head west on the Lost Meadow Trail
. After about a mile in the forest, the trail opens up into a meadow with nice views. At the western edge of the meadow, there is a 4x4 road the enters from the north. Continue up the Roots and Rocks Trail
to the southwest crossing a small stream and tackling many exposed roots and steep eroded tread. Along the way you'll pass a 4x4 road (now closed to motor vehicles) that heads up steeply to the south the 503
junction at the ruins of the Lone Star Mine.
After the climb levels out, turn right onto the 503
) and ride uphill for about 1/4 mile then turn left on the 109
to School Bus). Descend School Bus #929
and turn right at its bottom onto Hobbit 2 #927
. Finish with Hobbit 1 #927
and Re-Root and end up back where you started.