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A superb out-and-back route providing narrow, rolling singletrack, whispering aspens, and spectacular views.


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Map Key

12.5

Miles

20.1

KM

85%

Singletrack

10,027' 3,056 m

High

8,954' 2,729 m

Low

1,611' 491 m

Up

1,613' 492 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Views

Overview

The Mount Princeton section of the Colorado Trail is home to absolutely sublime singletrack riding! For a fantastic day ride that doesn't require a shuttle, this out-and-back route is an absolute must-do. On this route, you'll pedal along loamy dark dirt, negotiate some tricky rock gardens, and pop out into clearings providing stupendous views of the Arkansas Valley below. This is a high-value out-and-back ride that honestly sees very little bike traffic—you might have the place all to yourself.

Need to Know

You may encounter backpackers on this trail—be sure to yield the trail.

Description

Begin the ride from the Mount Princeton parking lot near the entrance to Frontier Ranch. You'll start by grinding up a steep dirt road to reach the singletrack—perhaps this is why this trail gets so little traffic. Despite the climb being a bit of a grunt, it's all quite rideable.

Look for the signed Colorado Trail beginning on your right, heading off the corner of a switchback. Note: there is no car parking available at this switchback, so don't attempt to park here—park at the trailhead at Frontier Ranch.

From here on out, you'll simply follow the Colorado Trail for 5 miles to a turnaround point. Along the way, you'll enjoy some beautiful loamy singletrack, technical rock gardens, whispering aspen groves, and spectacular views through clearings. There are a few modest climbs and descents, but mostly, you're following a bench along the mountainside.

The noted turnaround point is at the top of a downhill that drops toward Cottonwood Creek. This descent is fast and fun, but if you drop down it, you'll be faced with a steep hike-a-bike to get back up and return to your car. However, if you use two vehicles to set up a point-to-point shuttle, then that downhill would be a fantastic way to end! But if you don't have a shuttle, I suggest turning around at the top and heading back the way you came.

On the way back, you'll enjoy a fun final downhill on the singletrack before it hits the road and then a fast descent down the dirt road back to the car.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Buena Vista

#1586

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Buena Vista

#270

in Colorado

#1,586

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Photos

A clearing along the trail
Apr 19, 2024 near Alpine , CO
Aspens along the trail.
Apr 19, 2024 near Alpine , CO
A bit early for this section of the Colorado Trail
Jun 4, 2018 near Alpine , CO
Looking up at Mount Princeton.
Jun 21, 2017 near Alpine , CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Bad / Closed 5 days ago
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