Many people consider this the finest singletrack ride in the Abajos: it has a bit of everything from deep, dark pine forests, aspen glades, meadows, rock gardens, and views of the entire area, including distant mountain ranges and desert canyons nearly 8,000 feet below.
From the huge parking lot with amazing views, head east on the road just a couple hundred yards to Road 5113/0172
. Start a steep climb and grind up until you reach the Spring Creek Trail (159)
intersection on the right.
This trail is quite easy and pleasant for the first half mile as it winds through aspen and pine forest. It breaks out into semi-desert territory and begins to climb for quite a while, and some folks will have to hike-a-bike, though the only excuse is lung capacity! Enjoy some nice high views before heading back into forest for a technical, rocky section. Though the trail doesn't climb or descend much here, it will take some time to navigate the rocks. You'll eventually hit the Robertson Pasture Trail
, where you take a right.
Robertson Pasture Trail
has got to be one of the finest trails anywhere in North America. You'll start by climbing a mile (1.6 km). For most cyclists, parts will be hike-a-bike. The first 0.7 miles (1.1 km) are the hardest. Top out at 10,522 feet (3207m) and begin an exhilarating cross-country descent.
You start out on switchbacks that comprise what amounts to a superb natural flow trail. You zip in and out of alpine meadows and very dark forest areas, going from the landscapes of Crested Butte to British Columbia to California's Lost Coast and back again in just a couple of miles (3 km). When not in the forested parts, you have views of and beyond Canyonlands National Park that probably extend more than 100 miles (160 km) to the north and west.
There are moderately technical rocky parts and moderately steep parts, but an intermediate rider should be OK with a bit of walking. Then, around 9500 feet elevation (2895m), you traverse Robertson Pasture, a first-class alpine meadow, on pleasant, mellow singletrack. Still descending, you reach aspen stands around 9000 feet (2745m) and you feel like you're in Park City, Utah or the Gunnison/Crested Butte area again.
Below that, you reach what feels like the best of Southern California, with rocky desert trails and some stiff power climbs (hike-a-bike for some, but short) and beautiful views into a typical mid-elevation Utah valley.
Once you hit the bottom, follow a short stretch of road back to the parking area.