This is a great lollipop that showcases some of the better trails on both Prince Creek and The Crown. While this isn't technical at all, there are two significant climbs that will tax everyone's fitness.
The start of this ride begins at the Catherine's Store Road Parking/Trailhead along the Rio Grande Trail
, but it can also be accessed by starting from Hook Spur Lane Parking/TrailHead in Willits.
From which ever trailhead you decide to begin from, the ride starts with an easy pedal on the Rio Grande Trail
to the singletrack intersection with Buckhorn
. The climb starts moderately along the newer section completed in 2016. A gradual 1.5 miles of climbing brings the trail to northern end of the Buckhorn Traverse
. Bear right to stay on Buckhorn
The climb continues for about 2.0 miles and is steep and unrelenting at times. Eventually, you'll get to the intersection where you'll head right onto Outie
. This is a super fun rolling and traversing section with a few punchy climbs and quick descents. After about 1.2 miles, this will become North Porcupine
, which you'll stay on till you pick up Innie
on the left.
This is a long climb that gets gradually steeper as it continues. Keep an eye for Oz's Bench on your left near the top for some of the best view of the Crystal Rive Valley. When you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with majestic view of Sopris and Capital poking up from behind.
This is where the real fun begins. Take Outie
from the top of Innie
and enjoy a classic fall-line rut descent that ends with a steep hike-a-bike (for most) before returning to the intersection with Buckhorn
. From this point, retrace your steps down Buckhorn
all the way to the valley floor and enjoy more fall-line descending before taking lower Buckhorn
back to the valley floor. Consider tacking on Buckhorn Traverse
and the Glassier OS Trail
in either direction for a little more climbing, descending, and fun.