A long climb up a 4WD road through beautiful forest, wetlands, and meadow leads to a raucous descent down sublime creekside singletrack.
Need to Know
You'll need to watch for other trail users, including wildlife (moose are common), as this is a popular trail corridor.
Peaceful Valley. The starting point for this adventure has a fitting name. That is, until you hop on your bike and start pedaling up this ride. The peace you felt back in the campground melts away quickly as your heart nearly pounds through your chest and your lungs struggle to pull in needed oxygen. There is no warm-up period. Heading uphill on North Sourdough (#835)
and then the Beaver Reservoir Cutoff Trail
out of that valley is a tough way to start, but there is no better setting for a mountain bike ride. See if you can enjoy the beauty that surrounds you through the rivulets of sweat draining off your face.
After you've trudged up the initial singletrack climb, you'll intersect with Coney Flats Road
. Now and for the next several miles, you'll follow this jeep road in a westerly direction towards the high Indian Peaks Wilderness beyond. The road is very rocky but never overly steep, and the toughest obstacles may be the large puddles/ponds that often (or always?) cover the width of the road. You'll find ways around for most of these, sometimes through the trees that border the road.
Eventually, the road comes to a large camping area known as Coney Flats next to a pond/wetland/creek. A wooden bridge spanning the water provides access to continue your journey on the other side.
A little further and the road tilts downhill to where it joins the Middle Saint Vrain Road 114.1
4WD road. Though you're still on a road, this is actually a pretty rowdy descent! Not much further and you'll come to the Middle Saint Vrain trailhead where the 4WD road ends and there is a bridge that spans the Middle Saint Vrain creek to take you to the north side and the singletrack descent.
The Buchanan Pass Trail #910
travels for roughly 15 miles over the Continental Divide and through the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Fortunately for us pedal-pushers, the first five and a half miles of it are on USFS land prior to entering the wilderness area. This ride joins the trail about a half mile east of that Wilderness entry point. You can explore up to that boundary if you wish, but I recommend pointing your bars downhill at this point.
Similar to its singletrack brothers in the vicinity, Buchanan Pass Trail #910
is littered with rocks of all sizes. You'll also find, interspersed amongst the rocks, beautiful and sometimes loamy singletrack. Though the overall grade is pretty mellow, it's a techy descent, including a traverse across a scree field, that will keep you on your toes the entire way down.
There are multiple fine photo opportunities along the way, if you can peel your fingers off your grips long enough to snap one. Stay aware for stretches of trail where the tech level goes down a tad and the rocks are spaced just enough to allow for some real speed and launching off of those rocks and roots.
The trail eventually crosses another bridge back to the south side of the creek and then the Middle Saint Vrain Road 114.1
4WD road. Pick up the singletrack that will carry you back to the starting point on the other side of this road.