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A nice desert loop with great vistas.


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Map Key

5.3

Miles

8.5

KM

Singletrack

5,931' 1,808 m

High

5,447' 1,660 m

Low

528' 161 m

Up

520' 158 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Description

To reach the McElmo Canyon trailhead, head south of Cortez on Highway 491. Turn right (west) on County Road G at the signs for the airport and/or Hovenweep National Monument. Go 12 miles on this paved road. Trailhead parking is an unimproved slickrock surface on the north (right) side of the road. No water, or other services are available.

The trail is well marked with maps at every major intersection. Start up the Sand Canyon Trail and in about 1/4-mile watch for the Blue Bike Trail - No equestrian use allowed - that branches to the left. This connector is clearly marked.

Follow it to the junction with East Rock Creek then take a right. From there simply follow the loop counterclockwise back to this point and then retrace your steps on the first two trails to get back to the parking lot.

If you want a longer ride add the Sand Canyon Trail to the east and/or the Rock Creek Trail that loops west. The Rock Creek Trail (not East Rock Creek) is more technical. Sand Canyon is easier. These trails are rideable almost year round, but get hot in the summer.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kevin Christopherson

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 5 votes

#11588

Overall
  4.0 from 5 votes
5 Star
20%
4 Star
60%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1,192

in Colorado

#11,588

Overall
13 Views Last Month
1,408 Since Jun 11, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Trail benefits from some moisture, but will become muddy quickly. Keep an eye on conditions.
Mar 20, 2024 near Cortez, CO
Fun Stuff
Jun 6, 2015 near Cortez, CO
A rocky step that shows some of the technical aspects that can be expected.
Apr 17, 2017 near Cortez, CO
Typical section of the trail.
Jun 5, 2015 near Cortez, CO
Connector trail to East Rock Canyon.
Jun 5, 2015 near Cortez, CO
Headed back towards the parking lot about a mile before the fork to West Rock Creek. Take the fork right to extend the ride four more miles.
Apr 17, 2017 near Cortez, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 22 days ago
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Feb 29, 2020
Patrick Jackson
dry 8.2mi — 1h 25m
Apr 16, 2017
Jason Cross
11mi — 2h 30m
Apr 4, 2016
Ol' Elk Dickens
Hard for grade. Lots of hike a bike.
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