Ute Valley is truly an awesome venue with a little bit for everyone. I enjoy creating hard routes with technical as a must. This version of the D-Loop includes a few of the new trails as well as some you wouldn't think to ride. Bring your legs and a sense of direction!
First, you need to know Ute Valley Park well. Consider this a locals lap, if you're from out of town... good luck! You can always download the GPX file to help!
Some tips are the ridge on the west side of the park runs north-south, and you can typically see this from anywhere in the park.
You can start this from several places! I happen to live near the west entrance but you could complete this from the freeway, Safeway, Intel or Rockrimmon.
Great breweries nearby are Red Leg and Trinity. There's also a Josh and John's off the corner of Vindicator and Centennial (NW side of park).
You can start from any trailhead to complete this loop. The following description will be from the west entrance near Pinion Valley Park.
The beginning of this route is a heart pound to the first four-way intersection with a trail sign and wooden fence. Take a left (north) and the fence should be on both sides of you. At the top of this short, technical climb (mile 0.25), you'll be in an open space and this is the second four-way intersection. Take a left onto Rattlesnake Ridge Trail
This is probably one of the most aggravating parts of the day. Rattlesnake Ridge Trail
contains a lot of social trails and a couple* impassable features. Keep a look out for descending switchbacks on your right at mile 0.75 to stay on track. Follow the traverse to the north and resist any steep descents that drop down a drainage. You'll eventually end on the NW side of the park at the intersection of Centennial and Vindicator at mile 1.5. Turn right, or east, to stay in Ute.
Ride towards Vindicator TH along Eagle Trail
with the intent of climbing High Arches Trail
. Descend High Arches Trail
with speed in mind as this stretch can rut out very easily. Continue straight on East Downhill Run
towards Sunnyside Trail
. Mile 3.0 has a newer reroute with two options to descend. The left option is quite fun and very rollable.
Once you hit pavement, look straight across to continue on Sunnyside Trail
until you descend into a creek bed with a left turn at mile 3.2 that is armored (rocks in ground). This climb will bring you to Black and Blue Loop (North)
heading east towards the freeway.
Strap in as this a non-stop, technical trail with some exposure until mile 4.3. A lot of rewarding alternate lines and difficult climbs. It's a good day when you can clean this without dabbing or walking.
When you hit the freeway, continue your right turn to Black and Blue Loop (South)
to head back into Ute. Keep in mind, this section holds snow and ice for a long time as it's north-facing and in the shade.
Ignore the left trail intersection at mile 5.3 and ignore the right trail at mile 5.4 by staying straight. Look for Red Rover
on your left at mile 5.6 to climb up the one-way trail to the top of the new DH trails. At mile 5.9, cross the rock and go through the fence and continue up to your right.
Drop down Almond Butter
(new) through an amazing, technical masterpiece. You can easily have a different experience with each descent. This will spit you out at Red Rover
to continue downhill to your left. At mile 6.3, stay left to contour up Connector
At mile 6.9, continue uphill to your left, past the concrete pad, through another four-way intersection to Scrub Oak Path on your right at mile 7.0. Remember this up trail as you'll repeat this.
You'll top out at the first four-way stop mentioned, go back right towards the second four-way intersection at mile 7.5 to take a right onto Nachos
. Stay in control as you rocket down one of the better DH trails in Ute. Continue straight through the four-way onto Ute South Ridge Doubletrack
heading east. You'll pass the DH trails from earlier on your left but continue down Almond Butter
(old) back towards Black and Blue Loop (South)
and take it to the freeway.
Head to Black and Blue Loop (North)
once you hit this TH and ponder how much juice your legs have remaining. At mile 10.8, cross over the armored creek crossing back up to Accessible Connector Trail
(Valley of Death) toward Scrub Oak Path then to the second four-way intersection of the day.
Take no turns and descend Triple Treat
(Play Children) that ends with two bridge crossings. Great, easy rock garden with lots of play. Hang a right onto Beaver Trail
after the second bridge and slight uphill (mile 12.9). At mile 13.4, cross over a runoff to Brats 'n Beers
along the cliffside. At mile 13.8, look for a descent at the three-way to your right, take it back to Accessible Connector Trail
Continue back up Scrub Oak Path to finish the ride!