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The highest-quality Rainbow Trail loop from downtown Salida.


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Map Key

27.3

Miles

44.0

KM

75%

Singletrack

9,013' 2,747 m

High

6,964' 2,123 m

Low

3,322' 1,013 m

Up

3,314' 1,010 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

33%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

Seasonal Closure from December 1st to April 15th on the section of the trail running from Highway 285 to FS 108 and on Pot-o-Gold.

Overview

The fabled Rainbow Trail provides an inspiring objective for an epic loop ride on Methodist Mountain from downtown Salida. As you climb high up the mountain on Bear Creek Road (CR101/CR49) to reach the elevated bench of the Rainbow Trail, you'll quickly leave behind the traffic of the town trails in exchange for a middle-of-nowhere feeling that you pedaled to under your own strength. Thanks to the recent construction of Pot-O-Gold , this epic loop now ends with a fantastic 100% singletrack descent instead of the historic Sand Gulch dirt road. For big miles, big views, and big descents, look no further than this epic Rainbow Trail loop!

Description

With 3,800 feet of climbing (and descending) in this 27-mile loop, you'd better come prepared for a big day in the saddle. Once you've verified that you're well-supplied, depart the Burmac trailhead via the narrow singletrack paralleling the wash. Take a right before you reach the highway, and pedal the ditch singletrack until you're forced to join the pavement.

If pedaling from downtown, you can pedal out via CR 105 and then turn left on the highway to pick up the route.

After pedaling a short way down the highway, take a right onto Bear Creek Road, climbing the dirt road all the way to the end. This road contains the bulk of the climbing for this route—and you'll grind uphill for 6 miles, gaining over 2,000 vertical feet.

Once at the top, take a right onto the Bear Creek section of the Rainbow Trail—it's all singletrack from here! The Rainbow Trail rolls up and down along a bench at roughly 9,000 feet, providing flowy singletrack and gorgeous views. Note that the upper Rainbow Trail is open to motorized traffic, so expect to encounter dirt bikes.

After about 7.5 miles, look for the right turn onto Pot-o-Gold. This relatively new addition to the trail system provides a fantastic singletrack downhill through steep pitches, tight turns, and aesthetic ridgelines.

Take a right on the Double Rainbow trail and roll up and down to the Little Rainbow trailhead, taking a right on Little Rainbow after the short trailhead connector singletrack. Little Rainbow is a critical conduit at this elevation. You'll find yourself alternating between climbing and descending as you work your way back east.

For one of the best descents on Methodist Mountain, take a left on Lost Trail for a flowy, high-speed finish to this epic day in the mountains!

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes

#1326

Overall
  5.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#260

in Colorado

#1,326

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Photos

Soak up the good views on Double Rainbow.
Apr 2, 2017 near Salida, CO
Swoopy singletrack snakes through a snowy Little Rainbow.
Apr 2, 2017 near Salida, CO
Awesome turns through a snowy patch of the Rainbow Trail.
Dec 22, 2015 near Salida, CO
The Rainbow Trail isn't short on views...
Dec 22, 2015 near Salida, CO
Rainbow Trail near Columbine Trail
Sep 7, 2016 near Salida, CO
Little Rainbow on an early winter day
Oct 10, 2017 near Salida, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 26 days ago
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