Sunshine Kitty - Rock Drops Loop
ElevationAscent: 860' 262 m
Descent: -865' -264 m
High: 8,546' 2,605 m
Low: 7,912' 2,412 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)
Current trail conditions
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“A short loop option with fun climbing and descending that hits some of Penitente's highlights.”— Brian Smith
From the main entrance, drive Penitente Canyon Road through the campground to the main trailhead. You can access this loop from a number of points, but this access point is recommended.
There's a developed, self-pay campground right at the main trailhead. More info.
This is a great shoulder season ride (spring and fall). Summer can be brutally hot. Be alert at all times for rattlesnakes.
Descend the road and look for the first right onto another doubletrack that's steep and cobble-covered. At the bottom, turn right onto the connector that leads to a gate at the canyon mouth. Once through the gate, enjoy the scenery inside the canyon along Sunshine Kitty trail. At the first junction make a hard left (note the hazard symbol on the map) to stay on Sunshine Kitty.
This trail was extremely well built and many thanks are owed to Brink, of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and the youth trail corps that made it happen. A nice climbing grade paired with creative routing that utilizes the area's amazing topography, make this a trail that is a blast to climb. It's so good you won't even realize how much vert you're gaining.
At the top (around mile 3.5), a signpost marks the junction with Rock Drops, which splits off hard to the right. Continuing straight (west) at this sign post would put you on a non-system trail. Rock Drops starts with a short, mellow climb followed by an almost continuous descent.
As you start downhill, you'll quickly find out where the trail's name came from. Advanced riders will love launching off drop after drop and beginner/intermediates should feel pretty comfortable rolling everything. The trail will leave you wanting more laps after your first as you're unlikely to see/hit every optional line the first time around.
At the next junction, stay left to ride the northern portion of Blue Sky Loop and get ready for more of the same. At about mile 5.7, stay left again to follow Iglesia de San Juan into the gulley. A quick, fun descent here leads to a mellow climb on Los Hermanos. Finish with a cruising descent on an open sage hillside and bang a right on the road to follow it back to the lot or your campsite.