Published with permission from the guide book: The Local’s Adventure Guide to Singletrack & Tarmac – Mountain Bike Trails and Road Rides in the Upper Arkansas River Valley by Nathan Ward.
The Arkansas River Quickie offers a riding fix when you need it. The trail starts downtown and follows a doubletrack that winds along, but not next to, the Arkansas River. In summer you’ll see lots of wildflowers. It’s a great trail for the dog as well – there are spots where you can cut over and reach the river so the pooch can drink and swim.
Trailhead Access: Downtown Salida. Park at the AHRA headquarters at the corner of Sackett and G Streets or at the public lot immediately west of Safeway at the corner of 3rd and H Streets. The ride starts from the corner of Sackett and G Streets.
Location: Downtown Salida
Distance: 10.8 miles – out and back
Riding Time: 1 to1.5 hours
Riding Surface in Miles: Paved 2.6, Dirt Road 2.2, Doubletrack 6
Aerobic Level: Easy – brief steep climbs and gradual uphill.
Technical Difficulty: Novice – loose sharp rocks make some spots tricky.
Elevation in Feet: Low Point 7,043; High Point 7,927; Climbs/Descends 541
Land Status: BLM, Private Land
Maps: Salida East
Note: This trail remains snow-free most of the winter.
a. Ride the first half of this route and return to town via US 50 after crossing the Arkansas River.
b. Ride the first half of this route, turn left (east) on US 50 and connect with the Bear Creek to Methodist Mountain or Kerr Gulch sections of the Rainbow Trail.
0.0 Ride west down Sackett Street.
0.3 Turn left (south) on M Street and ride one block.
0.4 Turn right (west) on 1st Street/US 291.
0.9 Turn right (north) on CR 175 past Sands Lake.
1.1 Keep to the right on CR 175.
1.3 Turn right (east) onto a half-paved road when CR 175 turns left and heads north. Look for the Calco sign and follow the arrow east.
2.4 Turn left on a rough dirt road heading slightly uphill, before the big gray building.
4.0 Nice views of the beginning of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range to the south.
4.9 Follow the road right and cross beneath the railroad tracks. In spring this underpass is often full of tumbleweeds and requires bushwhacking. Just after the train tracks, the doubletrack T-junctions into another dirt road. Turn right (west) and continue. Part of this road goes through private property so stay on the road. If your dog needs a drink, ride directly ahead to the river.
5.4 Pass the non-stinky stockyard and stop on the bridge over the Arkansas River. Retrace the route back to town.
The Colorado backcountry is popular – bikers, hikers, motorcycle riders, hunters and equestrians use the trail system in the Arkansas Valley, and everyone wants a private piece of heaven. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s motives or methods of travel, please treat them in a courteous manner.
If you require search and rescue services, it can be costly. Buy a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card to protect yourself. Funds from the CORSAR program go into the Colorado Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund. If a CORSAR card holder becomes lost or injured in the backcountry, the Colorado SAR Fund pays eligible search and rescue expenses.
Bicycle riding is a physically strenuous activity with many risks and dangers. Hazards, natural or man made, whether noted in this book or not, can be encountered at any time under any situation. As a cyclist, we assume you know your personal abilities and limitations. This book represents nothing more than a guide to the trails and roads and is not meant to replace your common sense, your ability to navigate in the wilderness or in traffic, or your ability to ride a bicycle safely.
In addition, the mileages and routes listed in this text are only suggestions. There may be variances and you may get lost. We recommend everyone uses a GPS and topographical map to navigate. Most routes in this text are located on public land, but some trails pass through or adjacent to private land. Respect the land owner’s rights and obey all signs regarding trail use. The same goes for wilderness areas which prohibit mountain bike riding. Neither the author, nor the publisher, nor anyone else mentioned in this book are responsible or liable in any way for any accident, injury or any action brought against anyone traveling any route listed in this book. All cyclists and their companions assume responsibility for themselves. Ride at your own risk.
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