“A rough and tumble adventure through pristine Colorado high country.”
— Jared Crockett
Crosier Mountain is beautiful, but its trails are not for the weak at heart. They are steep, rugged, and unforgiving. But this ride approaches the protected summit from its most vulnerable side: Glen Haven, utilizing the H-G Ranch Trail
. You'll climb up root and rock steps, steep grades, and loose surfaces to eventually break out to a breathtaking view at the top of Crosier. Then, you get to turn around and enjoy the rowdy descent all the way back to your car. It will have all been worth it.
Need to Know
This is a backcountry mountain bike ride. These trails are rugged and not specifically created or maintained for mountain biking, though bikes are permitted.
On the west end of the town of Glen Haven is the Crosier Mountain Glen Haven Trailhead. It isn't well marked and used to be distinguished by a horse stable, but at the time of this writing, the horse stables are no longer present. You'll see a dirt cutout on the south side of Highway 43, park your vehicle there. The trail is a short ride up Crosier Mountain Road, a dirt road immediately to the west of the parking area. Watch for the trail leading off to the south, or the right side of the dirt road. There is a sign marked "< Trail" that points it out.
Once on the Crosier Mountain Glen Haven Trail (#931-2)
, you'll immediately be greeted by a series of rock step-ups. You'll get used to these over the course of the ride and become quite adept at maneuvering your bike up them. If not, you'll be walking. The trail offers no warm-up period with its immediately steep grade and tricky rock steps. There's no time to get started on this rowdy ride like the present!
After you've worked your way up the first ridge, and around a handful of tight switchbacks, the grade evens out a little and you'll see a sign pointing out a trail to the right. This is the H-G Ranch Trail
. Consider this as an optional add-on to your ride. It adds a little mileage and eventually takes you to the same spot you would otherwise get to, but with an easier grade and less technical trail. I recommend it as there will be no shortage of steep technical climbing still in front of you. Also, this trail takes you past the remains of the Anderson House cabin for a bit of an interesting historical diversion. There is one gate to pass through near the cabin with a sign asking you to close it behind you. The southern end of this trail does have a short stretch of fun descent before spitting you out into a vast open meadow with gorgeous views all around.
At the end of this meadow is the intersection with the Crosier Mountain Glen Haven Trail (#931-2)
. Continue your journey by following that trail to the right. A few more tight switchbacks and rocky obstacles will bring you to the intersection with the Crosier Mountain Rainbow Trail #981
to the left. This is another optional add-on to your ride.
The Rainbow Trail is steep and narrow in places with many root and rock steps. It winds through gorgeous forest and is a blast to ride down. You could consider riding this all the way down to its terminus at Highway 43 and then riding the road back to Glen Haven and your car. I've mapped this ride with where I consider to be a good stop and turnaround point. By that point you've had a really fun descent and the ride back up isn't too crazy difficult to manage. Beyond this point the trail steepens and climbing back up it would really be a chore.
Once you've managed to pull yourself back up to the intersection with Crosier Mountain Glen Haven Trail (#931-2)
take a left turn to continue climbing up the mountain. The next stretch of trail is steep and a bit on the loose side, but crosses through thick pine forest and is beautiful. As you approach the intersection with the Crosier Mountain Summit Trail (#931-1)
, the grade does lessen a bit.
The Crosier Mountain Summit Trail (#931-1)
is again another optional add-on. My thought is if you've come this far, you have to take your bike up to the summit! But be advised, this trail is the toughest you've seen on this ride. Steeper and looser than anything you've encountered thus far. If you can ride up all of this then I tip my helmet to you, good sir or madam. It's no cake walk in the downhill direction, either. But, do it - the views aren't to be missed.
Now it's time to head back down the mountain. This ride follows the Crosier Mountain Glen Haven Trail (#931-2)
all the way back to your car with no side trails. Just lower that seat and get ready for a rumblin' stumblin' ride all the way down the mountain. It'll be a full-body workout maintaining body position and managing all the switchbacks and drops, but it is a blast!