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North Lone Pine Trail (#953)

Difficult
 3.0 (5)

The perfect ascent to compliment the Killpecker Trail (#956) descent.


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Map Key

4.6

Miles

7.5

KM

Singletrack

10,648' 3,245 m

High

9,363' 2,854 m

Low

1,405' 428 m

Up

120' 37 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

Need to Know

This trail is open to motorcycles, and Elkhorn Baldy Road at is southern end is very popular with jeep and OHV riders. The trail also passes through heavy beetle-kill, so even though local trail orgs have done great work keeping it open recently, don't be surprised if you have to portage a tree or two.

Description

North Lone Pine Trail is a substantial, rigorous climb with a great backcountry feel through lodgepole pine, spruce, fir, and aspen. There are views of Red Feather Lakes and South Bald Mountain as it passes between Deadman Road and Elkhorn Baldy Road/Forest Road 517.

North Lone Pine starts off wide and relatively level, offering numerous lines through a rocky and entertainingly rolling old roadbed. As the trail ascends along North Lone Pine Creek, it passes a Forest Service experimental station plot, crosses the stream twice over wooden bridges with moderately technical entries, and junctions with two old logging roads near some clear cuts.

After the second forest road crossing, the trail gets steeper and narrower, with an uneven surface of granite chunks closely packed with smooth dirt. The grade remains rideable, but between the irregular surface and the elevation, it's equal parts technical and fitness challenge.

Around 2.6mi from the trailhead, you'll hit a high point and start a tightrope descent on narrow, rocky singletrack. Speeds and cost of failure are low, but you'll need to stay fluid and keep off the brakes to avoid hiking. The trail wavers up and down, in and out of drainages for the next mile or so, all without losing its wild, rocky character.

While the tread and and surrounding trees keep things narrow, each intermediate high point offers space to rest and take in views through the trees. On the whole, it's more rideable than not, but you'll need to some serious skills to clean all of it, and opportunity for sessioning abounds.

Things begin to flatten out and get less technically challenging again around mile 4, but the trail soon passes through a local low point that can get pretty swampy, even later in the season. The final climb out of this section changes in character, becoming gravelly and dry in spaces, before a final pine-covered tree tunnel out to Elkhorn Baldy Road/Forest Road 517.

A great loop option is to head less than one half mile west on road 517 to the south end of Killpecker Trail (#956).

Contacts

Shared By:

Tom Robson with improvements by Cosmo Catalano

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 5 votes

#18417

Overall
  3.0 from 5 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
40%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
20%
Trail Rankings

#1,809

in Colorado

#18,417

Overall
9 Views Last Month
1,341 Since Oct 25, 2015
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Photos

North Lone Pine Trail.
Oct 26, 2015 near Red Fea…, CO

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Check-Ins

Jul 24, 2020
Michael Shobe
Had to hike a lot of the upper half. summit of middle bald mtn worth it. mixed descent on Killpecker and road 300 back to TH also worth it! 4.6mi — 2h 00m
Aug 22, 2019
Cosmo Catalano
Only one tree down! 12mi
Sep 29, 2018
Todd Hoven