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.
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