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Rainbow Trail #1336: Hayden Creek to Methodist Mountain

Difficult
 3.9 (8) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A point-to-point route with outstanding views of the Arkansas River Valley.


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Map Key

31.8

Miles

51.2

KM

100%

Singletrack

10,246' 3,123 m

High

7,612' 2,320 m

Low

6,636' 2,023 m

Up

5,729' 1,746 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

44%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

This ride is a point-to-point that travels the Rainbow Trail sections east of Hwy 285. It's rugged in nature with plenty of climbs and technical singletrack.

Description

Start on the Rainbow Trail near the Hayden Creek Campground and head west.

You'll be faced with a rugged climb right out of the gate. The trail is fairly narrow and rocky. After the initial ascent, you'll enjoy a long downhill section with a few short climbs mixed in. You'll also pass the tops of several drainages running down into the Arkansas River Valley. Every once in awhile, you can catch some nice views of the surrounding mountains.

The second climb is about midway through the route. It's short, steep, and hugs the lower slopes of the mountains to your left. Once you top out, there is a quick descent and then another short climb to a more rolling section of the Rainbow Trail.

The final ascent before you reach Bear Creek is similar to what you've already experienced. It's a steep uphill with rocks and roots. For the most part, you'll be in a mix of aspen and pine forest.

Enjoy the quick descent into the intersection Bear Creek. From here, continue on with the Rainbow Trail - Methodist section.

From the junction, head west on singletrack towards County Road 108 and Highway 285. The trail is up and down through more open sage meadows and pine forests. There's no significant climbs through here. After passing the intersection with Columbine trail, the grade starts to trend in an uphill direction and starts to bend more towards the northwest.

The final climb is tough as the route ascends out of the drainage below Poncha Mountain. The last bit switchbacks below the 10,000 ft plus mountain before reaching a saddle above Hwy 285. From here, the downhill to the road is steep as well with a few ridgeline sections. The trail is likely to have loose and rocky sections, so take care through here.

From the highway, you can coast back to Poncha Springs and Salida or continue across to jump on the Rainbow Trail section that heads up towards Silver Creek Trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 8 votes

#2385

Overall
  3.9 from 8 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
13%
Recommended Route Rankings

#351

in Colorado

#2,385

Overall
15 Views Last Month
7,585 Since Aug 25, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
14%
0%
71%
14%

Photos

Rainbow Trail on a fall evening.
Oct 23, 2016 near Salida, CO
Awesome turns through a snowy patch of the Rainbow Trail.
Dec 22, 2015 near Salida, CO
The Rainbow Trail isn't short on views...
Dec 22, 2015 near Salida, CO
Rainbow Trail near Columbine Trail
Sep 7, 2016 near Salida, CO
You got the Gutz?
Dec 18, 2020 near Salida, CO
Narrow Rainbow trail just before Sandy Wash
Jul 1, 2018 near Salida, CO

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Check-Ins

Jul 5, 2019
Nick McDougall
Brutal uphills followed by terrifying downhills — 9h 00m
Jul 17, 2017
Luke Stalker
No down trees and now mud or snow. Prime riding. 34.2mi