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West Bench Trail #501

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.0 (7)

A fun, low-traffic, very scenic route at the top of Powderhorn Resort's lifts.


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Map Key

5.5

Miles

8.8

KM

Singletrack

9,918' 3,023 m

High

9,734' 2,967 m

Low

425' 130 m

Up

360' 110 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Still muddy mid-July, it's probably snow covered until June most years. Hunting season would also be questionable.

Description

With a parking lot right off of Hwy 65 and restrooms, this is a very accessible trail. I was surprised by how little bike traffic I saw. Signage could be improved, but if you just refer to the MTB Project mobile app, you should be fine.

In the winter, this is a common trail for skiers to telemark because they can park for free, ski to the lift areas and then head down Powderhorn's runs from there. With the resort currently working on a new lift that will accommodate mountain bikes, I suspect this trail will be used more often for the same reason in the summer for bikers.

For anyone from the south side of Grand Mesa (Cedaredge to Delta, Montrose, Hotchkiss and Paonia), this would be a fun way to warm up by riding to the lift, bomb down the mountain, take the lift up, and then ride back to your vehicle when you've had enough. It's a great way to dodge crowds.

The trail is much more fun than anticipated. There were fewer rocks than expected but more flow than expected. There is enough downhill to keep it fun, enough technicality to keep it interesting, and when it's easy and slow the scenery is beautiful. Lots of wildflowers, aspen groves, water crossings, open meadows, and wildlife. There was just enough mud to have a couple hike a bike sections.

We came across fresh bear tracks and scat on the trail but never did see the bear. Moose, elk, mountain lion, and others call this area home as well.

I didn't know until seeing the gps file overlay on the map that there was a switchback trail heading down the mountain from Lift #1. I imagine between now and when the new lift is operational this would make a great shuttle run. Leave one vehicle at Powderhorn, park the other at the West Bench Trailhead (marked START on the map). The result would be about a 4 mile warm up run with a huge downhill reward at the end. I'll have to try it out and report.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zack Loucks

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 7 votes

#7665

Overall
  4.0 from 7 votes
5 Star
43%
4 Star
29%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
14%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#749

in Colorado

#7,665

Overall
103 Views Last Month
2,282 Since Jul 17, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
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Photos

Merging in the sky
Jul 20, 2015 near Palisade, CO
Aspen grove to open meadow and wild flowers, back to another aspen grove.
Jul 18, 2015 near Palisade, CO
Around the corner from here is a fun rocky section to come down.  Big enough to be scary, but small enough to be rideable.  Probably my favorite section of the trail.
Jul 18, 2015 near Palisade, CO
Another water crossing
Jul 18, 2015 near Palisade, CO
501 wastes no time in putting a smile on your face.  Fast down section right near the beginning.  Which of course becomes an annoying climb on the way back.
Jul 18, 2015 near Palisade, CO
The trail has many of these tunnels of trees.  Much prettier in person than the photo.
Jul 18, 2015 near Palisade, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 2 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jun 28, 2020
Trent R
Fun ride. Generally flat. Some punchy uphills and good challenge rocky sections. No views. I liked ride
Oct 14, 2019
Jacob Humble
Sep 27, 2019
larry kelly
Sep 1, 2019
Toby Taube
11mi
Aug 29, 2019
Lee Blazek
Nice cool weather 8.2mi — 1h 43m
Jul 15, 2019
Nina Hanson
Rode 7/15/19. One small snowbank near trailhead. Rode just beyond chair first chaiift to a large mud bog and turned back. Fun trail, little elevation 6.2mi
Sep 30, 2018
Rian Campbell
4.6mi
Sep 22, 2018
Daylene York
10mi