I'm always on the lookout to ride the goods in a fun way. Ute has the advantage of being able to ride most trails either direction. So, put your big boy/girl pants on and saddle up. You're in for a fun tour of this local gem. I hope you enjoy this 10 miles of what Ute has to offer!
As with D-Loop #1
, you need to have a good understanding of Ute Valley. Most trails are not marked and there are plenty of social trails. Garnish it with sections of must-make moves and you have yourself an engaging tour.
There are many start points in Ute, and I chose the northwest corner. You could replicate this from the southwest entrance, Vindicator Trailhead, or the school entrance.
You get to start with a fast descent into Ute on Eagle Trail
heading south. At your first intersection, hang a left towards the Vindicator Trailhead to start your first climb up Yucca Path. Enjoy an awesome view of the park and Pikes Peak before you descend onto East Downhill Run
. Continue by veering left and continue until you hit pavement.
This next part is a little tricky as I wanted to add a wee bit more singletrack. Once you finish East Downhill Run
, hang a left on the pavement towards the gate. There is a small trail on the left side of the road or you could step over the chain. Turn right uphill and after you pass a culvert, look for Ute Valley East Loop (North) trail on your right side. A good marker is the manhole cover. Hop the curb and start some of the best technical riding for 1.3 hard miles.
Once you finish on the service road, take a break and ride Ute Valley East Loop (North) back the way you came. Yes, I know you just did it but it's way more fun than Ute Valley East Loop (South). You could take a stroller on that trail.
After completing this lap, head back towards East Downhill Run
and climb back towards the way you came. This trail is also rideable in either direction and I need miles.
When you get to the flat spot with some benches, around 4.5 miles from where Yucca Path dropped you in, look towards the left for a trail descending a cliff face. It is unnamed, but you'll know it when you see it.
Immediately at the bottom of the unnamed trail, look left for a sneaky trail that goes under the cliffs: Brats 'n Beers
. It's a nice, tight, and techy bit that's worth doing. The end can get a bit tricky. Eventually you'll ride out a wash (be mindful of ruts) onto Accessible Connector Trail
. Hang a right to ride up the valley and enjoy the rest while you can.
Eventually, a well-marked trail on your left, Bear Trail Connector
, will appear and you'll need it to start climbing. After pass a concrete pad, it'll level off! You'll ride through a four way intersection to a three way intersection 50 yards past. That right turn, Scrub Oak Path, is your route up.
Scrub Oak Path will end at a wooden fence with stone benches. This is the southwest entrance to the park and is just a steep dirt road into a residential area. Continue uphill to your right on Ute Valley Loop
At the top, look towards your right in this sandstone garden. There is a faint trail, Hummingbird Trail
, that is fast with some potential big moves if you're willing. Hummingbird Trail
will end at that four way stop you passed earlier, keep that momentum straight ahead. This will get easier very quickly. This "new" trail is Ute South Ridge Doubletrack
. Follow this all the way until you feel like it's going to dead-end in a backyard. The trail will bend left and descend quickly into an enjoyable sandstone free-for-all.
At the bottom of Ute South Ridge Doubletrack
, after some fast, open waterbar jumps, keep a lookout for a trail that breaks off to the left as your trail will try to keep you going down. This Connector
Trail is quite different from most of your day and a welcome break from the rocks.
Trail will spit you out on Bear Trail Connector
and you'll repeat your climb through Scrub Oak Path. This time, go past Hummingbird Trail
and continue down the sandstone, choose your own adventure on Ute Valley Loop
. Eventually you'll end up at Eagle Trail
with an easy option to end at the Vindicator TH or the school.
After riding, there is a Josh 'n Johns, local ice creamery, a block away on the NW corner of Centennial and Vindicator. Also, there are a couple of restaurants and bars east of the park off Vindicator and Rockrimmon. If you go to Wyatt's, get the Angry Bird Sandwich. The closest breweries are Red Leg (the Devil Dog is amazing) and Trinity (home of some funky saisons and sours).