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Easy directional loop in the lower meadow, dark timber forest on steep slopes, and big mountain views at the high point.

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7,363' 2,244 m


6,481' 1,975 m


882' 269 m


367' 112 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Allowed

Family Friendly The initial climb is very easy two-way trail and makes for nice easy loop with the downhill-only trail segment just to the south.

South Canyon: Upper and Lower Coal Camp trail seasonal closure for all users is Dec. 1 through May 1 (…).


Coal Camp Trail is accessed from South Canyon's upper trailhead parking area, complementing a climb up Tramway Trail, by offering more mileage before descending down Lightning Bug. The terrain just west of the parking area is a box canyon with steep rocky side walls to the north and west, and steep forested hillside to the south.

The first 0.4 miles is a very easy beginner climb that accesses the Lower Coal Camp Descent. Known as the Lower Coal Camp Loop, this provides just shy of a 1.0 mile loop from the upper trailhead parking area. The loop is easy enough, quick enough, fun enough to pull off a couple laps before descending Lightning Bug.

The trail continues to climb south of the Lower Loop on steep north facing slopes through an impressive dark timber forest. The trail is two-way at this point, downhill users yield to uphill traffic. You'll get a real workout on this trail as it offers some of the steepest grades anywhere in the system.

When you encounter the Upper Loop, take a right to start the counterclockwise journey. The climb continues, with occasional hints of the views to come when passing through scrub oak terrain. At the very top you'll find a flat area to relax while enjoying views of the upper South Canyon drainage, Horse Mountain, the Flattops, and even the Roan Plateau in the distance. You can technically descend the climb you came up, but please yield to the climbers.

Dropping into the downhill direction only part of the loop, you'll be distracted by the big views, and find plenty of optional drops, doubles, and other natural features. This is a very remote area, remember to pre-ride and re-ride before attempting any optional features.

While the upper descent is over too soon, descending the two-way middle part of the trail is still great fun. In fact the good times don't let up as you play your way down the Lower Coal Camp Descent, Lightning Bug, and the lowest stretch of Tramway Trail on your way back to the Colorado River.


Shared By:

Mike Pritchard with improvements by Frank Weil and 2 others

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 28 votes


  4.6 from 28 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Colorado


6 Views Last Month
2,449 Since Aug 31, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult



Cruising into the next berm on the Lower Coal Camp Descent.
Aug 31, 2018 near Glenwoo…, CO
Dropping in to berms #3 and #4 on Lighting Bug
May 23, 2018 near Glenwoo…, CO
Top of Tramway, beginning of Lightning Bug
May 18, 2018 near Glenwoo…, CO
The Upper Coal Camp trail weaves and flows through mature forest.
Jun 28, 2019 near Glenwoo…, CO


Current Trail Conditions

Bad / Closed 27 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Mar 15, 2022
Private User
Oct 22, 2021
adam wibby
awesome trail, holds moisture more than other local trails
Jun 4, 2021
Bruce Lewis
Sep 13, 2020
Mike Alexander
3 laps lower coal camp plus lightning bug and tramway to bottom — 1h 45m
Jun 17, 2020
Karl Schwartz
Jun 14, 2020
Eric Harrill
Tramway/Coal Camp/Lightning Bug Complete - around 10.5mi total. Sick riding! 3.1mi
May 20, 2020
Dave Manago
Started from bottom th, up tram to top. So gorgeous and the upper Forest is lush. Fast switchbacks fun! Fast ripper jumps and berms at lightning bug 10mi — 1h 30m
Jul 29, 2019
Cassidy Kodas
Difficult climb. Some super steep parts but CRUSHES going downhill! Worth the sweat. 3.1mi

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