“A good early season ride with some elevation and great views.
— Tom Robson
Ride like a local - ride this loop! The Locals Loop takes riders from the Lawson Hill area, across the San Miguel River valley, and back to Lawson Hill. Though mainly doubletrack, this ride is still a ton of fun and has great views to boot.
Take the Galloping Goose Trail for about two miles down to Ilium Valley. Cross the dirt road to the bridge at the bottom of the singletrack and follow the trail until you hit Sunshine Mesa Road. Take a sharp, uphill left and continue 500 ft until you see a right turn. Follow the railroad grade and follow left into a steep, technical up and down section that will leave you at the junction of Bilk Creek and the San Miguel River.
Go right at the bottom of that section of singletrack onto a short section of dirt road, across the bridge take a sharp left to a trail that follows the river. Continue until it opens to a wide, rutted section. Continue through, and look for a trail on the right at the edge of the next section of cottonwoods. This is difficult to find - if you find yourself on a doubletrack through cottonwoods and see some campers and trailers you have missed it.
Follow a twisty, wooded singletrack that parallels the highway until it pops you out east of the DOT buildings. Cross the highway, 200 ft take a right onto Deep Creek Road, County Rd. 639. This is a pretty good climb, not too difficult grade for most of it, but it gets steeper near the top. The total elevation gain is about 1400 ft to the top of Last Dollar Rd. At the T-junction, make a right onto Last Dollar Road. Continue uphill, and near the top of the climb there are spectacular views of Wilson and Sunshine Peak, premium photo opportunities. As you go down from the apex of the climb to the airport, you can look back down into Ilium Valley. After a short downhill, you'll come to a T at the Telluride Airport Road. Take a left on the pavement and follow the road downhill to Hwy 145. To get back to the trailhead, cross 145, go left about 100 ft and there is access to the bike path, take a right on the bike path and follow it through the tunnel to the trailhead and the Conoco station.