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Canyon Creek Megacalorie

Difficult

Trail

25.7 mile 41.4 kilometer point to point
40% Singletrack
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 4,203' 1,281 m
Descent: -4,344' -1,324 m
High: 12,555' 3,827 m
Low: 9,249' 2,819 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Map Key

Trail shared by Matt Giaraffa

If the normal Canyon Creek Trail loop isn't hard enough, this point-to-point option is for you.

Matt Giaraffa

Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

Overview

You get the same epic singletrack descent of going down all 3000' feet of the Canyon Creek Trail, but this route option is a point-to-point starting in Alpine, CO going over several ~12,000' passes with epic views along the way.

The Canyon Creek Trail descent features 3000' of singletrack descending, all in one big shot. While the typical route is a loop starting from the Snowblind campground, this route features climbing Tomichi Pass (CO 888) up to the Canyon Creek Trail singletrack hike-a-bike.

This ride is a way to increase your suffering as a point-to-point from the small town of Alpine, CO up to the ghost mining town of St. Elmo, up to another ghost mining town, Hancock, over Hancock Pass, over Tomichi Pass, and then linking up to the Canyon Creek Trail.

This ride is harder than the mileage and climbing suggest, since all of the steep climbs are over 11,000', so make sure you can do the normal Tomichi Pass (Co Rd 888) to Canyon Creek Loop first, and you'll feel like you can do even more high elevation climbing yet.

Need to Know

Bring many calories to consume, roughly 1 million of them. A water filter is recommended as there are many creeks to refill water bottles. Bring clothing options for high altitude storms; you're up at high elevation with little cover for hours.

Description

To access this ride, start at the parking area for the Baldwin Creek 4x4 Road (FS 277) adjacent to the sign for Alpine, CO and head west on County Road 162 (Chalk Creek Dr.) Turn left onto Forest Road #295 as it continues south out of St. Elmo.

From St. Elmo to Hancock, this railroad grade, dirt road climb is pretty mild, but when you start heading up Hancock Pass, the ride turn onto Forest Road #299, which is a steeper, rougher 4X4 road, and that's when you're done with anything easy.

Hancock Pass is pretty much a wind tunnel, so be prepared for cold wind blasts. From the top of the pass, descend the other side on Forest Road #839 and make sure to turn left at the bottom onto Tomichi Pass Road ( Forest Road #888).

That's another 4x4 road with epic views, passing some old mines. Once at the top of Tomichi, descend towards the Canyon Creek Trail and look out for the singletrack on the right not far down. Take the singletrack and prepare for the pain. My GPS device was claiming a 58% grade hike-a-bike at around 12,000' going up Granite Mountain.

Once at the top, look back towards the two passes you just crossed, and brace for some epic descending. After dropping 3000', there's one more kick to the pants with a 300' climb at the very end just in case you had any energy left. The ride ends at the Snowblind campground.

History & Background

Back in the late 1800's, when Alpine, St. Elmo, and Hancock were booming mining towns, a railroad came up CR 162, and up through the Alpine Tunnel. Look for relics of old railroad tracks, and enjoy the 3% grade climb while it lasts.

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#1

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#2357

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#1

in Alpine

#319

in Colorado

#2,357

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Photos

Colorado high country riding at its best on the Canyon Creek Trail.
May 31, 2016 near Salida, CO
The above-treeline descending on Canyon Creek is seriously grin-inducing.
Sep 6, 2016 near Whitepine, CO
Big views on Canyon Creek Trail.
Oct 7, 2016 near Whitepine, CO
Greg D. showing off his moto brake lever style on Canyon Creek while descending out of the alpine.
Oct 7, 2016 near Whitepine, CO
Greg D. finally done with the Canyon Creek hike-a-bike!
Oct 7, 2016 near Whitepine, CO
Moto whoops on lower Canyon Creek trail
Aug 16, 2016 near Salida, CO

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