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"Oldfart from Wayback"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been biding my time waiting for the weather to dry up, and then the higher temps to cool down since the Grand Opening to get up there and check out the trails. Today looked like the pick day of the week....until last nights ~ 1" of rain in Ft. Collins. :madman:

I was a glad to see blue skies at dawn, and checking Ft. Collins flood stations, showed that the brunt of the storm hit my house, but the N side got almost nothing so I threw everything in the truck and headed N.

The roads had been pretty dry .... until I got a few miles from the TH and then there was lots of standing water on the sides of the road.

Entrance Sign.



I parked at the South lot, and got my stuff out. I walked a short section of trail to see how muddy it was, and finding it very tacky vs flat a$$ muddy, I decided to give it a try.

I had been planning a loop up the W Pronghorn trails, Sandy Wash, to Canyon, then a quick loop on Mahogany, back to Canyon, all the way up to Cheyenne Rim and then back to the lower lot. If you have the map or the LINK to the trail map, I was planning from the TH to go W- U- X- Y-T-Q-V-T-M-H-K and all the way back to the TH.

Right away I was deafened by all of the bird calls in the underbrush along the trail. Horned Larks, Lark Buntings, Towhees, Meadow Larks were calling everywhere. Pronghorn is ST but wide in places. It also has seen very little use as it fades in and out occasionally as it rolls across the prairie... "Where the Deer and Antelope Play"







The trail conditions varied from very tacky to almost dry but I was still getting a pretty heavy build up on my tires as I rolled along. I hit a nice fun downhill for a ways then got to my first junction. Those familiar with Blue Sky and HTMP will recognize the junction markers. I stopped to pull out my map to see where I was...."U" junction.





Nice switchback



Pressing on up Pronghorn was more of the same ST, then I got to Sandy Wash :madman: :madmax:

Avoid it. Not even Dbl Track, just a nasty gravelly road climb that seemed twice as long as the mileage on the map.

I finally got to Canyon after forever, and crossed through another gate. Canyon started out as standard issue dbl track as it starts the long climb up the canyon. Just as I got to the Mahogany turn off, I had a mechanical with my front derailleur . It took awhile, but it was just from all the built up mud and gravel jambing it up. I decided to bag Mahogany, after the delay and the forecast for severe storms in the afternoon and kept climbing up Canyon. The further up you ride, the fainter it gets, and just when you think you're going to have to do a service road steep climb up a nasty gravel road, a nice ST trail shows up. Unmarked, unsigned...the only signage is for something that is NOT a Trail, so I headed up. It was a beautiful moderate climb up a side valley, through Mahogany and a carpet of flowers at first, before breaking out near the crest of the Cheyenne Ridge.





The ST rejoins the now much faded dbl track for several more miles across the high prairie. Don't get caught up here in the wind !! It would be brutal !!!

It finally meets the Cheyenne Rim Trail in Red Mtn Natural Area. Through 2 gates and you're riding 1000' above The Big Hole and looking down towards Red Mountain.

What's all those white spots in the meadow ?



SHEEP



A screaming long downhill followed by an equally long climb back up, out of Red Mountain, gets you to a nice section of trail that might get a bit techy over the years with great views as it rolls along a nice cliff.





Then it's back to almost 6 miles of fast downhill fun, mostly ST as it contours around small canyons and a few brief dbl track sections. The trail is very well built, nice bermed corners, some water bars to catch a little air, and as much as I hate to use the term, just some really great flow

This is where I was getting slightly spooked though, since here is so signage at all back there. There are several faint dbl tracks that cross your path, a few have the tiny ground level sign saying Not a Trail but every time the next long section of ST branches off the short bits of dbl track, you're lucky to find a 3 rock cairn marking the turn off. Keep your eye's open !

You're out in the middle of no where, and there is no water available, even at the TH's, so be sure you carry enough.







After the long downhill, you finally hit the short section of dbl track that takes you back to the parking lot swooping through several cool arroyos.

Final tally after 4 hrs riding, with several photo stops.

No other humans seen, I quit counting the Antalope after the first 2-3 miles, probably 20-30, not even another bike track until 1 mi from my return to the TH. Ahhhhh.... :thumbsup:

Who these trails will appeal to: Long distance xc riders. You can easily put together 30-40 mi loops without retracing a trail, decent climbing, fun sweeping downhills.

Who won't lke this area: Anyone that has to have a technical challenge, there is none at this time.
 

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drinks from the fountain
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Nice Post DAve!
Front Range Migz and I rode everything last Sat. Good stuff.Non tech is refreshing once in a while. The Ruby canyon and the descent to it were my fave! The scenery is out of this world.
 

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"Oldfart from Wayback"
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks !

tmosebar said:
Nice Post DAve!
Front Range Migz and I rode everything last Sat. Good stuff.Non tech is refreshing once in a while. The Ruby canyon and the descent to it were my fave! The scenery is out of this world.
I barely made it out before "God's Anvils" started smiting me on the drive home. I'll hit up Ruby next time :thumbsup:
 

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pain intolerant
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Thanks for the report OBD. Good to know what to expect. The prior report of the folks that did Soapstone on a TANDEM was a good indication of the lack of tech, but the scenery makes it look well worth the trip.
 

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"Oldfart from Wayback"
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are some pretty good climbs..... at a reasonable slope.

I don't have a GPS to calculate the TOTAL climbing, but it's a pure 1,100' difference from the lower lot to the high point, with LOT'S of up and down in between and back out.

I'd guess at least 2,500' of climbing or more depending on your loop.
 

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Nice i drove out to check it out yesterday. I didn't take a bike but i had a hell of a good time on the dirt roads with the Subaru.
 

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"Oldfart from Wayback"
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Trying to follow your route... so you did Pronghorn to Sandy Wash to Canyon Trail to Cheyenne Rim back to the TH?
Yes, but I'd never ride Sandy Wash again !

I'd take the fork to Mahogany to get to Canyon next time.
 

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Im looking at the map. From the lower lot i want to try chyeyenne rim trail to canyon to plover to pronghorn should be about 22 miles.
 

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pulser said:
Im looking at the map. From the lower lot i want to try chyeyenne rim trail to canyon to plover to pronghorn should be about 22 miles.
Great post and pics OBD. Glad you enjoyed the place. Pulser, just a heads up - the Plover Trail is closed April 1 - July 15 for ground nesting birds.
 

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Great pix and write up. I would have posted pix, but the camera died, so to punish it I left it on the top of the car as I drove off at the end of the day.

I went up a few weeks ago. Parked at the upper TH, rode all of pronghorn, then Sandy Wash (which should be avoided), Canyon to Mahogany, did the entire Mahogany Loop (gentle climbing, a couple tight corners and 2 minor rock obstacles), back down to Canyon and the upper TH.

Very non-technical. Great place to take someone new to mtn biking, or just to go play. I want to go back up and check out the Red Mtn side. Thanks for the write up on those trails.

Bring lots of water, it's pretty desolate up there.
 
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