Shorter and easier than the Buffalo Creek Big Loop - IMBA Epic, this mini-tour still hits some of the best Buffalo Creek trails.
Park at the Buffalo Creek parking area. This lot is free and local residents stock a shaded picnic area with snacks and drinks. Donations are recommended.
This ride is intended to be ridden clockwise. Head west on Buffalo Creek Road 543 for 4 miles. The road climbs from the parking lot but is never very steep. Around 4 miles, the Gashouse/Baldy Connector
will be on your right. Get some speed into the turn, the cutoff is usually full of kitty litter.
After 0.1 miles, you'll come to the Gashouse
trail intersection. This ride takes the right turn to Baldy
but left to Gashouse
is a great ride too and will get you to the same spot.
is a decent climb, nearly 900 vertical feet in 3 miles. The trail sometimes has deep pea gravel sections and follows the fall line. You know you are getting close to the top when you climb up and around a big granite slab marked with rocks and tree limbs. There is an intersection at the end of Baldy
and either direction will get you to Charlie's Cutoff
, but this ride continues straight on the Gashouse Connector
Only 0.4 miles long, you'll soon come to another intersection with Miller Gulch
Road. Turn right (or northeast) on Miller Gulch
. Follow Miller Gulch
Road for about 3/4 of a mile until you come to an intersection on your left labeled Homestead Trail
. Turn left and go about 0.1 miles to the Charlie's Cutoff
trailhead on the right.
Now the fun is about to begin. Charlie's Cutoff
trail playfully meanders through the granite features. Everything is roll-able and there are no drops. Enjoy the 1.3 downhill miles to the next intersection with Homestead Trail
Make sure to stay right on Homestead Trail
. The downhill fun continues, but near the end of this trail there is a shallow creek crossing. Make sure you are in an easy gear, the climb out of the creek bed is steep and punchy. At the top of the hill, you'll find yourself at another intersection. To the left is the double black Blackjack
, stay right on Sandy Wash
.This will be the last singletrack downhill adventure of the ride, and it's a good one. Fast and flowy with the occasional granite feature, this trail is one of the best at Buffalo Creek.
About 2 miles in, there is a right turn that goes down to Buffalo Creek road, but there's no reason to cut out there so keep the course for the last 1/2 mile of Sandy Wash
goodness. And now you are back on Buffalo Creek Road 543 (make a left), about 1/2 mile from the parking lot.
Many Buffalo Creek trails go through a large burn area from a 1996 forest fire.