Penitente Canyon - TRAIL

Penitente Canyon - Trail, La Garita, Colorado

Penitente Canyon is well known for its incredible rock climbing. There is also though about 7 miles of great mountain biking along the western rims of several canyons in that vicinity. The trail varies from double track to exciting single track with Moab like options for rock riding. Most of the rock sections have obvious approaches right along the trail. If it is your first time investigate the exits before riding up onto the rocks.

User Reviews (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5  
JohnnyCO   Cross Country Rider [Oct 10, 2013]

This system has greatly improved in the last year and is one of the best riding areas in the SLV. Great camping onsite and fun rock climbing.
You can link up a lot of the trails and make for a fun 15-20 mile day BUT you'll need to know how to navigate the system. Not many signs and the ones that are posted are a bit confusing. So be ready to be explorative or find someone who knows the system. Everytime I ride here, I get questions from other users, "Where are we?", "Where does this trail go?", "Is this a loop?"," I ended up on some county road..."
On a positive note, fun sticky rock features and great views. Bring the dog but not much water.

Customer Service

I like to start from the"Iglesias TH" off county road 41G.

Similar Products Used: Colorado Trail from North Cochetope pass.
Starvation and Rainbow trail from Poncha Pass
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
onyerite   Cross Country Rider [Dec 01, 2012]

a good area for xc and rockhopper types , and still improving. 8000 ft elev at the base , 8900 ft at the top of '' lunch gut '' on the blm intro map. maps are available at blm / fs offices in saguache , del norte and monte vista. the info contact / web site maintainer is jacquie smith at monte vista fs office . 719 852 5941. jfsmith@fs.fed.us. there is a digital version of this trail map which has not been posted as of this date. ??????

Customer Service

best route to throw the widest loop and hit the '' rock drops'' on the down hill: park either at the junction of cr 38a and '' sidewinder canyon rd'' [map board here] or at the fishermans parking just north of la garita creek on 38a [ good start / finish if you are with dog]. assuming youve seen the blm map use whatever combination of trails will get you to one of 3 approved routes to higher elevations,jicarilla, wild horse loop, or the line between the 2 which is the second half of wild horse . jicarilla has a short tech section, wild horse has more tech and the line between the 2 is easiest. the 3 routes combine at the point on the map where they leave blm and enter fs land. continue up staying with the most '' burned in '' trail . at some point youll hit a high point [8950']. after youve cleared the rock drops. turn left onto '' blue sky loop '' , left to '' iglesia de san juan'' [ only a cairn here , left] or finish blue sky. return on the cty rd or use some of the low elev options to get back south.

Similar Products Used: for short time / non technical / lower elev: sidewinder canyon rd to pinon to prospect to la garita to lookout to ute loop to sidewinder cyn rd to jicarilla to south half of wild horse to side winder cyn rd to dollhand ravine to pinon to swcr and cr 38a
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OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
abegold   Cross Country Rider [Nov 25, 2012]

This network has been greatly expanded and there's close to 30 miles of trails now. It's at 8800' so expect it to be almost cool year round. Many humped rocks around the trail that are tech riding play grounds, every one! Some of the new trails are off limits to bikes but there's plenty in the area to ride, trails into nearby mountains to the west. You're almost always climbing or descending here, too tough for beginners to enjoy but I loved it 59 years. Kind of almost a Gooseberry feel at times as there's lots of tech surprises as the trals snake along.
Some side trails dead end but are fun out and back rides. Fun network.
Pay camping near and above the trail heads.

Customer Service

Take A Trail counter clockwise all the way to the 1/6 of the trail thats doubletrack. You can also ride it clockwise as a warmup but it's the least interesting part of the trail, better as an out and back tied with the side trails.

Similar Products Used: Hope to explore into the La Garita Mountains some day, to the west.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
southforkmtbkr   Weekend Warrior [Mar 21, 2011]

A sweet singletrack around a high desert canyon featuring many boulders and slickrock. Many new trails are in place and have received permission from the forest service. A great place to camp and ride!

Customer Service

To get to Penitente Canyon from South Fork travel 14 miles east to Del Norte, at the stoplight turn north on HWY 112, travel approx 3 miles to the sign for Penitente Canyon. Take a left, and travel several miles on the dirt road, looking for the next sign indicating a left turn to Penitente. The parking area is about a mile up this road, and the A loop starts just before the parking area on the road you came in on.

Similar Products Used: Deep Creek trail, Treasure Mountain trail, Middle Frisco, Pallisade, Limekiln
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
Gryffin   Weekend Warrior [Apr 09, 2006]

This is one of the better organized trails in the San Luis Valley. Great riding with a mixture of double and single track. Plenty of jumps and rock possibilities to keep all skill levels entertained.

Customer Service

Park at the kiosk beyond the turn for Penitiente Canyon. From there ride the outside of the loops. Bring a piece of paper to rough sketch your route that way you don't miss out on the best parts. The trail isn't that long overall so take the time to ride everything around. There are definitely better loops than some, but generally if you are in good shape you can ride everything twice.

Similar Products Used: Limekiln, Greenie Mountain, and Cat Creek all with reports coming soon!
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-5 of 5  

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