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Wild's Loop

Very Difficult


38.1 mile 61.2 kilometer loop
50% Singletrack
Very Difficult


Ascent: 7,400' 2,255 m
Descent: -7,426' -2,264 m
High: 13,205' 4,025 m
Low: 8,581' 2,615 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 40% (22°)


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Trail shared by Nolan van Harte

An extremely challenging, yet rewarding, primitive backcountry adventure.

Nolan van Harte

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features Views

Year-round cornice at the top of Jones Pass. Only attempt mid to late summer depending on the previous winter.


This loop is extremely challenging and very exposed, with lots of hike-a-bike; plan on a minimum of 7 hours to complete, and only attempt if the weather is nice as you'll be above treeline for hours. The only bail-out point is at Herman Gulch, about halfway through the ride. Do not expect help if things go wrong and plan on being self-sufficient; bring food, water, tools, and first aid. Both the CDT and Bard Creek Trail are usually shuttled, and this loops together both.

Need to Know

Vault Toilet at Herman Gulch TH


This ride is dedicated to those who have lost their lives doing what they love in the Colorado backcountry. Wild Is Real.

Begin your ride in the early morning, starting in the town of Empire.There is usually sufficient parking at Theobold Park near the Police Station. Head up US40 towards Jones Pass. Expect car traffic up until you take a left on 202 Henderson Mine Road. The road is paved up to the Henderson Mine. Merge right onto Jones Pass Road and continue up the dirt road all the way to the CDT. This road is in pretty good condition and never gets too steep. There is a cornice almost year-round at the top of the pass, so you may have to get creative.

Once you reach the Continental Divide Trail, this is where the real fun begins. Check out the CDT - Jones Pass to Herman Gulch Trail for a more descriptive summary of this portion of the ride. A few miles past the cornice you'll reach the high point at about 13,200' making for an excellent spot to take in the views and eat some lunch. Continue down into Herman Gulch, which eventually connects with the Herman Gulch Trail. Otherwise, take a left and continue down the drainage. This trail is usually busy with hikers and dogs, and features blown out singletrack with some nice smooth sections as well as some rooty, technical sections. Near the bottom you'll come to an intersection with Watrous Gulch Trail #95, take this left. THIS IS YOUR ONLY BAIL-OUT POINT. You need to decide if the weather will hold out for another few hours, and if you have enough water, food, and energy. The most difficult and slow-going portion of the ride starts here.

Watrous Gulch Trail is a challenging technical climb with a few steeper hike-a-bike sections. As you near treeline, this trail crosses the stream and intersects with the beginning of Bard Creek Trail #83. Take this right.

Bard Creek Trail is primitive to say the least, and will quickly turn into steep hike-a-bike with 11 miles of extreme exposure to weather and steep hillsides. Due to minimal traffic, the trail will disappear here and there; look for cairns and use the MTB Project mobile app to stay on track. After descending into Bard Creek, the trail will eventually turn into a rowdy Forest Service Road 777, and then County Road 252 (South Empire Pass Road). Follow this back into town.

Grab some much needed food at one of the few local spots to support the small town of Empire.

Biked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed, History & Background


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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes


  4.5 from 2 votes
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Ride Rankings


in Colorado


52 Views Last Month
665 Since Aug 31, 2019
Very Difficult



Some rocky tech found along the divide
Sep 17, 2018 near Winter…, CO
Brown Pow at 13,000 feet!
Sep 17, 2018 near Georgetown, CO
Six different false summit grunts before you top out on Hassell Peak
Sep 16, 2018 near Georgetown, CO
Sucking air along the continental divide with Pettingell Peak looming above in the background
Sep 16, 2018 near Georgetown, CO
Every push up the trail, led to a rippin' decent of some sort.
Aug 28, 2015 near Georgetown, CO
Rippin' the first sustained decent of the ride!
Aug 28, 2015 near Georgetown, CO


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