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Traverse the entire Arkansas Hills Trail System across the Backbone trails.


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Map Key

13.3

Miles

21.4

KM

70%

Singletrack

7,705' 2,348 m

High

7,014' 2,138 m

Low

1,296' 395 m

Up

1,296' 395 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Overview

The Trans-Backbone is a traverse of the entire Arkansas Hills Trail System via the Backbone trails. This isn't a rowdy enduro ride or a smooth flow trail—instead it's a rough, technical cross country ride. While yes, it does have some great downhill near the end, this is a rugged pedal-forward ride that provides a great way to tour the trail system.

Description

Depart the F-Street Trailhead by following the social trails along the banks of the Arkansas River to the north. You can then pick up more singletrack along the western side of the railroad tracks or simply switch over to the dirt road to pedal out to CR 175 (Ute Trail).

Turn right on CR 175 and pedal up to the North Backbone trailhead, turning right on North Backbone.

North Backbone is one of the oldest trails in the Arkansas Hills trail system, and its rugged, rocky, up-and-down nature doesn't seem to appeal to most modern mountain bikers. But for those with the legs and the handling skills to negotiate this trail, it's a true gem, with beautiful rock formations and views of the valley below.

At the junction with FS 173, pick up the Backbone trail across the road to continue across the mountainside. Pass all trail junctions until you get to the right turn onto the Sweet Dreams trail, following Sweet Dreams downhill.

At the junction with Dream On, you have two options: continue following Sweet Dreams or take Dream On instead. You'll end up at the same destination either way, but Sweet Dreams will retain more of the rough, rocky character, while Dream On is a bit smoother and flowier.

Finally, the singletrack finishes by flying down the fantastic, flowy Chicken Dinner Trail. Chicken Dinner deposits you on a dirt road—turn right to head back toward the F-Street Bridge, using some singletrack to make the return ride more entertaining.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 2 votes

#3863

Overall
  3.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#578

in Colorado

#3,863

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Photos

Sunset on North Backbone.
Nov 1, 2016 near Salida, CO
The sun begins to set on an evening snow ride on North Backbone in the Arkansas Hills Trail System, Salida, CO.
Jan 27, 2017 near Salida, CO
Finding some air on Chicken Dinner.
Dec 27, 2016 near Salida, CO
Get out and fat bike on North Backbone!
Jan 27, 2017 near Salida, CO
Plenty of pink granite around you and under the wheels on North Backbone.
Mar 31, 2014 near Salida, CO
Spring ride on North Backbone.
May 1, 2016 near Salida, CO

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Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 47 days ago
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