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CT - Segment 13 - Cottonwood Pass Rd to Chalk Creek

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

16.0 mile 25.8 kilometer point to point
Singletrack
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,706' 520 m
Descent: -2,672' -814 m
High: 10,024' 3,055 m
Low: 8,198' 2,499 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)

Dogs

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Map Key

Trail shared by Marcel S

Alpine singletrack with a mixture of easier flow and steep technical trail.

Marcel S

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Section Of

Need to Know

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort, can you say 'relax'?

Description

This trail is mapped from north to south direction, in alignment with the rest of the Colorado Trail segments, the main description is per that same direction, although going the opposite direction (from south to north) is easier from a climbing point of view.

Start at the paved parking area at Harris Gulch, on the north side of CR306, just west of Rainbow Lake. Head south out of the parking lot, cross CR306 and the bridge over Middle Fork Creek. This first section of trail is fairly mellow, slowly downhill along the creek and Rainbow Lake, before it pitches up, after crossing CR344, going to CR343.

Cross CR343, approximately three miles in, and get your technical climbing game on. This is one of those older, worn-out sections that will require some walking in a good number of spots, then has some easier sections, then more steep (barely rideable). Luckily, this section is less than two miles long. The last climbing turn provides a great view back of where you started, and of Mt. Yale. Almost at the top.

Enjoy the next 5.5 or so miles of great singletrack as you pedal along, up and down, across a few creeks, with a few short steep sections (typical CT stuff, going in and out of creek drainages), one or two that might require a short hike-a-bike. Generally, this section of trail is good fun though, with some great views of the Arkansas Valley, while going through a few aspen along the way.

Approximately 10 miles in, this trail joins a jeep road, CR322. The road goes (partially) up Mt. Princeton. Stay left, go DOWN the road. Careful with the loose over hardpack surface and the ruts in this road. Pass the ranch and continue rolling down CR322, which is now paved. Take a sharp right onto CR321. At the bottom, turn right again onto County Road 162 (Chalk Creek Dr.), all paved. The Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort can be found at this intersection. Be aware of the traffic on this road. Again, turn right/west.

Look for CR291 or Bunny Lane on your Left. Continue straight until you run into the Chalk Creek TH, the finish of 16 miles of CT Segment 13.

This section of the CT is also good in the opposite direction, as an out-and-back from the ranch at the bottom of the jeep road CR322, turn back at 6.5 miles in (at the climbing turn). Or as a shuttle ride, riding the same northbound direction.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Sep 2, 2019
Paul Nebel
Went half way from N to S. Felt like dying 19mi — 5h 30m
Oct 29, 2018
Erika Reilley
Sep 1, 2018
Ethan Fitzrandolph
13.4mi
Jul 27, 2018
Jeremy Hart
Jul 15, 2017
Luke Morris
Sep 25, 2016
Noah Rabinowitz
Aug 27, 2016
Andrea Tupy
Jul 16, 2016
Alex Key
Out-and-back from Cottonwood Pass 10mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 8 votes

#5151

Overall
  4.3 from 8 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
75%
3 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#456

in Colorado

#5,151

Overall
164 Views Last Month
4,892 Since Jan 14, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Aspen along the CT
Jun 4, 2018 near Alpine , CO
A bit early for this section of the Colorado Trail
Jun 4, 2018 near Alpine , CO
Cross the bridge over Chalk Creek to start.
Aug 15, 2019 near Alpine , CO
Looking up at Mount Princeton.
Jun 21, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Start of Segment 14.
Aug 15, 2019 near Alpine , CO

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