“Ride the Uncompahgre Plateau from top to bottom, 3700 feet of descending bliss.”
— Garry Baker
Moab has the Whole Enchilada, and Montrose has the Whole Uncolada. Its a huge descent off the Uncompahgre Plateau. Get it? If you're into big and fast descents, do this ride! By the numbers, its about half the elevation drop, distance and ride time of the Whole Enchilada, and can be done in less than 2 hours by a fast rider. Most mortals will take 3 or more hours. Rippin' descending, sometimes on sketchy loose rock, miles of amazing fast singletrack, a few anaerobic climbs, a short hike for variety, and then MORE fast flowy singletrack on Buzzard Gulch. This is a must do and worth a visit. After this ride whets your appetite, check out the many other fun singletrack rides: Aspen Trail and Buck Trail are just a few. The RAT trails are just down the road in Ridgway. If you hit a cool spell (below 80F), Sidewinder and its 20 miles of rolling technical singletrack awaits.
Need to Know
The Spring Creek water crossing can be a couple feet deep early in the season (June to early July). There is also the hike out of Spring Creek Canyon. The descending is really fast, so be mindful of other trail users and ride within your abilities. All trails other than those within Buzzard Gulch Trail
System are motorized. While this ride is rated intermediate, it is not suitable for beginners. Make sure your bike is in good working order--the hike out is long and there are only 2 bail-out options on the entire route. Black bear and elk may be on the trail. Keep a safe distance from wildlife.
This is usually a shuttled ride. Inquire at the local bike shops to see if a group shuttled ride is available. The recommended start is at the Forest Fence Trail
trailhead on Divide Rd.
Park the lower shuttle vehicle at Spring Creek Canyon Trailhead at Buzzard Gulch. With your upper shuttle vehicle, park at the Spring Creek Rim Rd., 1/4 mile north of the Divide Rd./Dave Wood Rd. intersection. Forest Fence Trail
is 200 yards north of here. The drive takes about 30 minutes, maybe a bit less. Follow Forest Fence Trail
's singletrack through the aspen forest. At about 1.5 miles, take a right on Sawdust Pile Rd. (unmarked). Ride the road 1/4 mile, look sharp for a singletrack on the left. At 4.3 miles, take a right onto Dented Door Rd., then another quick right onto Spring Creek Trail
(2-track). This is an ATV trail, and can be loose, but it is fast and fun!
After the steep downhill to Spring Creek, cross the creek and continue on rolling doubletrack. After a few miles the trail leads to a singletrack gate at the beginning of the Lower Spring Creek Trail
(LSC) singletrack. At this spot there is also your first bail-out option: a steep doubletrack that goes to the canyon rim. It's 2 miles to Dave Wood Rd. Back to the ride: LSC is 7 miles of descending bliss! Towards the end of LSC, the terrain becomes rolling. At the very end, the trail turns sharply upward on steep switchbacks ridden only in our dreams.
At the top of the canyon a short singletrack leads to Dave Wood Rd. Follow the pavement left (northeast) about 1/4 mile, and look sharply for an old doubletrack on the left marked with a BLM sign. This is the Dakota Rim
Trail, which marks the top of the Buzzard Gulch Trail
Follow Dakota Rim
down through rough stuff, then take a sharp left (on the Broken Antler
Trail). After 1/2 mile, take a sharp left onto Buzzard Gulch Trail
, ride 1/2 mile on fast singletrack, then another left on P.J. Way
. This is a fast descent with blind curves, so be watchful for other trail users.
finishes on a steep hill, then joins with Buzzard Gulch Trail
. Take this trail down the wash to the Spring Creek Canyon Trailhead parking lot. You've done it!
History & Background
This ride started becoming popular with locals in 2014 or so. The amazing 3,700 foot descent and relatively moderate skill level needed to complete the ride makes it a must-do!