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Hi,
I'm planning a trip and wanted to know if anyone could comment on the Buena Vista to North Pass section of the Colorado trail. Is that section referred by another name? What's it like? I couldn't seem to find any mention of it online.
Thanks for your help.
 

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That's a pretty long bit of CT

Disco Stu said:
I'm planning a trip and wanted to know if anyone could comment on the Buena Vista to North Pass section of the Colorado trail. Is that section referred by another name? What's it like?
That's a long bit of trail. There are several different sections that can be characterized together more or less.

From BV, assuming that you go west up the Cottonwood Pass road and then start heading south along the CT, the first thing you'll encounter is a very rugged hike-a-bike. Plan to spend at least an hour. Once you get up the first silly-steep section, there's a nice bit of singletrack that traverses along the front of Mt Princeton, descending down to the young life camp near the chalk cliffs. Then it's down the paved road to Mt Princeton Hot Springs. Most people ride from the young life camp back north toward BV. The climb out of Cottonwood is just too heinous. Tough as a descent, but rideable.

After you cross Chalk Creek, get ready to hike again. There's a quite steep section, not as long as coming out of Cottonwood Creek, but certainly not rideable for 30-45 minutes. Then there's a brief mild section through Raspberry Gulch (maybe 7 miles) then it gets rugged. It's probably another 7 miles to Blanks Cabin. Lots of climbing, about half rideable. Strenuous and technical where you can ride. Again, south to north makes more sense.

From Blanks Cabin to Angel of Shavano Campground where you cross the N. Fork of the S. Arkansas River is mostly idyllic and rideable, though there is some techy. That's maybe 4-5 miles. From there to Highway 50 there is a pretty long climb, mostly rideable but difficult, and then a fun descent. The last part is steep, dry, and not so pretty, but rideable.

After you cross highway 50 the character of the CT changes. First you have half an hour or 45 minutes of doubletrack, then you start the S. Fooses Creek section. Really pretty, all climb, steadily steeper until you get to a hike-a-bike for the last mile or so. At the end of the hike-a-bike you intersect the continental divide national scenic trail (CDNST) on the famed Monarch Crest. Then you have about 8 miles of Crest Trail to Marshall Pass.

From Marshall Pass south, you enter a different character. It's a bit of Rockies known as the Cochetopa Hills. Highlands without any 14ers nearby. Very rugged and remote. I've only been about 4 miles south of Marshall. For about 3 miles south of Marshall you're on nice singletrack, very rideable. Then you get on doubletrack shared with 4-wheelers (ugh).

I just don't know much about what happens between there and North Pass. But it is one of the most remote sections of the CT. I know lots of moto people who ride out there, but only one or two mtbers who've done that section.

Hope that helps.
 
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