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North Catamount Reservoir Loop

 11 votes

Length

11.9 Miles 19.2 Kilometers


85%

Singletrack

Elevation

1,280' 390 m

Ascent

-1,271' -387 m

Descent

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

9,713' 2,961 m

High

9,236' 2,815 m

Low

Conditions


Unknown

Getting forecast...

A mostly singletrack loop around north and south Catamount Reservoirs.

Allen Tanner

Overview

Closed from October 1 until May 1.
The North Catamount Reservoir Loop is a 12 mile ride along both north and south reservoirs with scenic vistas of Pike's Peak and the surrounding pine and aspen forest of the North Slope Recreation Area. The loop is comprised of multiple trails as mapped out, and is part of the much larger Ring-the-Peak loop.
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

  • This ride is in the North Slope Recreation Area and is accessed from the the northwest edge via Edlowe Road off of Highway 24 just past Woodland Park. It may also be accessed from the Pikes Peak Highway (for a fee).
  • The trail is all over 9,200 feet in elevation and winds along North and South Catamount Reservoirs. Both are abundant with fish: Mackinaw, Brook, Brown, Cutbow, Cutthroat, Lake and Rainbow trout. On the north reservoir only flies and lures are allowed.
  • It's possible to complete this this loop in reverse or even shorten it by swapping in the Limber Pine Trail.

Description

The trail begins at Catamount Recreation Area parking lot, and the mostly singletrack, 12-mile loop uses multiple trails in the area for a tour of both North and South Catamount Reservoirs.

From the trailhead, the trail climbs gently along a part of the Limber Pine Trail, then briefly travels on the Catamount Trail, only to descend the Mule Deer Trail towards the reservoir. These first two miles are quick, non-technical, and descend towards the reservoir.

Climb back up the Blue River Trail (the intersecting Mackinaw Trail looks inviting, but it's classified as hiking-only) and follow the Catamount Trail to the reservoir. This ride is easy dirt road. Please note the Mackinaw Trail is hiking only. Dismounting the bike and walking a little ways will give a good view of Pikes Peak over the reservoir. Views are also nice over the south reservoir on the South Catamount Creek Trail.

Cross the North Catamount Reservoir dam and off to the right a small parking lot marks the beginning of the South Catamount Creek Trail. This trail is singletrack for the first mile, and winds along the shore of the south reservoir. It is a little more steep and a little more technica, but nothing too challenging. Again the views over the water towards the pine forest and Pike's Peak are astonishing. The remaining .6 miles of trail is dirt road which joins towards the Limber Pine Trail.

Continuing on the Limber Pine Trail, the loop climbs for a few tenths of a mile with a steep and steady grade. This is the only really challenging part of the ride but does not continue on for long. Those that can't ride it can easily walk up with little time lost.

The trail runs along the ridge then descends towards North Catamount Creek via several switchbacks. While the trail has several metal bridges that traverse the stream, the western edge of the reservoir can be quite wet depending on the time of year and the snow pack.

After crossing the marsh, the trail again joins the Catamount Trail for about a mile, along a gently climbing slope. The loop then follows the Vayhinger Trail northward, a winding, mild climb through pine and aspen groves.

The top of Vayhinger Trail meets the Elder-Fehn Trail which is nontechnical, and ascends and descends along the terrain near the reservoir, with a few short, steep parts, but nothing too challenging or technical.

The trail loops back to the Catamount Recreation Area parking lot, completing about a 12 mile loop. For extra riding, try the loop off of the eastern portion of the Catamount Trail at the base of Raspberry Mountain or the loop off of the Elder-Fehn Trail.

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Check-Ins

Oct 9, 2017
Doug Fisher
Sep 5, 2017
Charlie Gage
Dry everywhere except for towards the end (clockwise). I had to hop off the bike and jump over a small stream. Other than that, it was awesome. 11.9mi — 1h 00m
Aug 27, 2017
Mike Wright
Aug 19, 2017
Allen Tanner
Jul 21, 2017
Dano Monticelli
Jun 25, 2017
Derek Jacob
10mi
May 5, 2017
SM SM
Sep 18, 2016
brian milnick

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 11 votes

#1428

Overall
  4.0 from 11 votes
5 Star
9%
4 Star
82%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#195

in Colorado

#1,428

Overall
139 Views Last Month
5,261 Since Jul 27, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

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This trail is a hidden gem! Take Rampart Reservoir and mix it with portions of the CT, producing a great summer ride. With amazing views of Pikes Peak and shaded climbs, I will surely be doing this trail again! Here are a few directions that might help if you don't have the map handy. Park at the Catamount Ranch Open Space lot and ride up the obvious trail. Take a left at the top through the wire portal. Take a left after the portal heading back towards the road. Follow this to the Ring The Peak trail which will eventually deposit you on a service road. Climb the road for a little while before taking a right on Mule Deer Trail. A fun downhill deposits you on the north shore of North Catamount Reservoir. Contour along the reservoir until you can cross the dam. After the dam, take a left down towards the dam for South Catamount Reservoir. Turn right to pick up the trail that rides along the north shore of South Catamaount Reservoir. Alternatively you could continue to ride up the Ridge Line Trail service road if you want to cut out mileage or need to race bad weather. After leaving South Catamount Reservoir, ride up the service road until you intersect the Limber Pines Trail. A short but extremely steep section climbs up into the hills, leaving the reservoir behind. Follow the Limber Pines Trail until it descends back towards North Catamount Reservoir. Limber Pines crosses a service road and heads up a steep and long drainage system. You can take this if you are short on time, but it is somewhat loose. The better option is turn left on the service road and follow the Ring The Peak Trail for a little while. Keep your eyes open for a thin trail on the right with a regulations sign facing in the opposite direction. Follow this trail, Vayhinger Trail, past another portal gate and sign. This trail climbs back up towards the trailhead and is thankfully very shaded. Near the top, the trail turns into the Elder-Fehn Trail. An optional 2 mile loop can be added if you turn left at the top. This loop is decent if ridden clock-wise but be warned it is guarded by a steep, loose, but short hike-a-bike section. Follow the Elder-Fehn trail back to the initial main trail and turn left towards the trailhead. Jul 19, 2016
I really prefer this ride done counter-cockwise (oposite of description). Very nice views, lots of shade, never crowded. Aug 2, 2016

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