Strava File (updated September 2016):
GPX File, updated September 2016 (click ‘save as):
OR CHECK OUT THE ROUTE ON MTB.PROJECT!
NEW FOR 2017 – RE-ROUTE of Bear Creek descent/alternate to Pipeline – Check it out on Google Maps HERE!
NEW FOR 2018 – Instead of descending High Drive all the way back down as in previous years, get ready to turn it back uphill shortly after finishing 666! We will take Palmer Trail back over to Manitou Springs in order to finish this one out.
Start Time: 7:00am at Soda Springs Park, Maintou Springs, CO
(parking can be tricky, so it’s good to park a bit farther from town where you can find a legal spot and ride over)
Elevation gain – 10,000 feet (give or take)
Max gradient – 49.4%
Distance – 63(ish)miles
Max Elevation – 11,287 feet above sea level
Water filtering locations are all around. There are a lot of streams and depending on how much moisture we get, you could have a lot of options or just a few. The best locations are:
1. Crags Campground (there is almost always a stream running through here unless it freezes)
2. Horsetheif Park (small stream here)
3. Spring on the side of Hwy 67 just before reaching the turn for Hwy 81
4. KOA Campground on Hwy 81
5. Gold Camp Road has multiple streams and bodies of water (watch for private property)
6. The rest of the route has streams and does provide for ample filtering opportunities.
The route is very well marked. Maps are still highly recommended, as is the GPS route. The basic idea is if you are on a trail after following a sign, you probably won’t see a ton of signage on that trail. However, junctions are well marked, just make sure you are looking for the signs (see photo below). Follow the GREEN signs, NOT the brown signs.
Start: Manitou Springs
- Section 1 will start in Old Colorado City – ride to Manitou Springs.
- Climb up Ruxton Ave and stay right at the initial fork to reach the Ute Indian/Pass Trail (UPT). Near the top of Ruxton you will see some condos right after the road forks and becomes 1 way to traffic. Right where the road forks again (left loops back downhill, right continues up to the cog railway), take the immediate right that goes up a steeper paved hill. This is the way to the Ute Pass Trail. It will wind behind the condos and turn to dirt. Follow this up the pass. Upon reaching the top, descend down (right/north) to Highway 24. Cross over the gate and CAREFULLY cross to the other side of Highway 24. There is a very small shoulder, so you are encouraged to wear some reflective clothing and/or use some high-intensity lights on the rear of your bike since there are some blind turns. When you reach Cascade (first traffic light, about 1.5 miles or so up the pass from the UPT), turn left and continue up the main road to reach the Mount Esther Trail. See Google file for exact roads. You will look for Picabo Road and take a left on that. It climbs steeply up and just as it flattens out, look for a dirt road off to your left. Take this unnamed road and immediately on the right you will see a sign for the Mount Esther Trail.
- Climb up to the trail head for the Mount Esther Trail and take this to the top of Cascade Ridge. This is approximately a 30 minute hike-a-bike (mandatory, foot travel only), but once you attain the ridge, it’s nice riding to the reservoir with some additional singletrack climbing. Continue to Catamount Reservoir and ride around the Northwest slope of Pikes Peak…
PLEASE make sure you remain on only Ring the Peak marked routes while riding around Catamount Reservoir. This is Colorado Springs’ drinking water and is on private property managed by CU. DO NOT filter water at the reservoir. You will follow the trail to the northwest slopes of Pikes Peak and eventually pop out on a dirt road near the Crags Trailhead and Campground
- Continue left up the hill to the Crags Campground. From the campground, continue straight until the road ends and take the trail toward Horsetheif Park (trail on your right). At Horsetheif Park, do not continue to Pancake Rocks; go right and downhill after crossing the stream so you reach Highway 67. Make a left onto the highway.
- Follow Highway 67 just past Gillette – there is a spring on the right side of the road as you approach the old town. This is a good place to filter water. Look for a large, round tub on the right side of the road just before reaching the junction of Hwy 67 and 81.
- Take Hwy 81 and you will see a KOA Campground on your left. This is usually open, but don’t count on it. Leaving the KOA, turn left and continue on Hwy 81 to the left turn for Gold Camp Road (left onto dirt).
- Gold Camp and Old Seven Steps Road will take you up a long climb to the backside of Almagre Mountain/Mount Baldy (12,500 feet) where you will descend down the fire road to Frosty Park. FS 376 is your first left turn – this climbs very steeply and is a very difficult climb. Upon reaching the top you will see an open area and an awesome hike-a-bike to your right. Take that. Have fun.
- From the top of the hike-a-bike follow the RTP signs through more rolling terrain and eventually you will descend to Frosty Park and take Trail 701.
- After reaching Frosty Park, take a left to start down Trail 701 for a short time. You will see a right turn that takes you to Trail 668. Continue on 668 downhill and follow it to the junction of Seven Bridges Trail (Trail 662). Stay left and continue on 668 to Jones Park. Follow 667 downstream to the junction with Trail 666. Follow Trail 666 downhill to High Drive. Be careful on 666 – this trail is steep in sections and has some real exposure. It gets more and more washed out every year, so burying a wheel is a real possibility if you get too grabby with the front brake. Surf that shiz! Eventually pop out at High Drive (large dirt road) and take a left to continue downhill.
- Descend High Drive until you reach the paved intersection. At this intersection take a left to reach lower Gold Camp and then a 4 way intersection. Take a left and descend 26th Street to Hwy 24.
- Cross Hwy 24 and head into Old Colorado City for the finish!
- Join us at Front Range BBQ for food and drinks after your achievement!