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 Lenhardy Cutoff follows a dirt road from Trout Creek Pass to downtown Buena Vista and it’s almost all downhill! (except for the climb at the start…) Follow a non-technical road over the ridge and drop all the way to the Arkansas River on a route that passes through forests, features huge water bars, drops into fun sandy washes and looks over the whole Upper Arkansas River Valley near Buena Vista. This ride is technical enough to challenge beginners a little, with downhill fast enough for any skill level.
Trailhead Access: This ride requires a shuttle – at the stop light on US 24 in downtown Buena Vista, turn east on Main Street and drive to the Buena Vista River Park. Pass the baseball field, keeping left, and park a car near the wooden building with bathrooms.
Drive the other car with bikes back to US 24, turn left (south) and go 2.5 miles to Johnson Village. Turn left (east) on US 24/285 up Trout Creek Pass. Drive 7.9 miles from Johnson Village and look for the road sign for CR 309. Park in the large pullout on the right side of US 24/285. Start riding.
Location: Trout Creek Pass to Buena Vista
Distance: 16.8 miles – one way
Riding Time: 1.5 to 3.5 hours
Riding Surface in Miles: Paved 1.4, Dirt Road 15.4
Aerobic Level: Moderate – only one significant uphill
Technical Difficulty: Novice/Intermediate
Elevation in Feet: Low Point 7,936; High Point 9,761; Climbs 1,106; Descends 2,172
Land Status: USFS, City/County, Private Land
Maps: Castle Rock Gulch, Antero Reservoir, Marmot Peak, Buena Vista East
Options: Create an awesome loop by riding the Midland Bicycle Trail from downtown Buena Vista to the Shield’s Gulch Trailhead. At the Shield’s Gulch Trailhead turn right on CR 315 to Trout Creek Pass (US 24/285). Turn left and ride 2.3 miles to CR 309. The loop gives you singletrack, more exercise and eliminates the shuttle.
0.0 Cross busy US 24/285 to CR 309. Look for a sign to Chubb Park.
1.8 Turn left on FSR 376, this is Lenhardy’s Cutoff. Look for a sign pointing to Buena Vista and a small Midland Bicycle Trail sign.
2.4 Pass through a fence into State Trust Land.
2.6 The road splits. Stay to the right, more-traveled road.
2.7 The road splits. Take the left road.
2.8 Summit a ridge with a nice view west. The downhill now flows and rolls.
4.9 Intersection with FSR 305. Stay on FSR 376, following the sign to Buena Vista.
5.0 The road splits. Stay left on FSR 376.
6.0 Intersection with FSR 315 from Shield’s Gulch. Stay on FSR 376, toward Buena Vista.
6.2 Stay on FSR 376. This area is riddled with small roads heading to camping spots. Stay on the biggest road, FSR 376.
6.6 The road splits. Stay on the right hand road downhill.
7.8 The road passes through a open meadow full of flowers, sagebrush and views of the Collegiate Peaks to the west.
8.7 Drop into a sandy wash and stay on the main road. It’s like riding in melted butter so keep the speed up or sink.
10.2 The road splits. Take the left hand road around the end of a fence.
10.3 The road splits. Take the left Trail 6039 – a fun multi-use trail closed to cars.
10.7 The trail forks. Take the right hand Trail 6039.
11.1 Intersection with an unmarked road, turn left downhill. About 20 yards farther, intersect a bigger sandy road. Turn left downhill.
11.2 The road splits. Take the left road down the wash.
11.4 As you enter an open area with obvious ATV use, look 45˚ to your right (northwest) for a road passing through a creek and heading uphill. This is Four Mile Creek and it’s usually shallow. In spring runoff or heavy rains, it may be too deep to ride – wade through or walk upstream to find rocks to cross.
11.8 to 11.9 Stay on the main road.
12.3 Intersection with a dirt road, CR 375. Turn left downhill. There is no sign.
12.6 Stay on the main road.
14.3 The road forks. Stay left on the main road.
14.4 T-intersection with the river road, CR 371. Turn left, downstream.
15.4 Cross the Arkansas River. CR 371 changes to North Colorado.
16.2 Turn left on Main St.
16.6 Ride past the baseball field and bear left as you enter the Buena Vista River Park. Look for the small wooden building with bathrooms.
16.8 End of the ride!
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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