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.
Salida to Mount Princeton Hot Springs Lollipop starts in downtown Salida and heads north toward the Mountain Princeton Hot Springs before looping around to Nathrop and heading back to Salida. It’s a “lollipop”. Get it? Basically an out and back ride with a short loop on the end. The ride leads past fields and ranches beneath the big peaks of the Sawatch Range and very near the majestic Chalk Cliffs at the base of Mount Princeton. This is another good training loop from Salida – skinny on hills and fat on scenery.
Options: Take the hot springs detour at mile 18.9. Turn left and ride less than a mile to the Mount Princeton Hot Springs. Give up all pretense of riding more, climb into a hot pool of water in the creek and soak your worries away. Call someone to come get you because your legs will be like wet noodles. This is a good option.
Trailhead Access: Downtown Salida. Park at the AHRA headquarters at the corner of Sackett and G Streets or in 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.
Distance: 39.0 Miles – Lollipop
Riding Time: 3.5 Hours or More
Riding Surface: Good Pavement
Traffic: Medium, but Heavy on Holiday Weekends
Aerobic Level: Intermediate
Elevation in Feet: Low 7,031; High 8,220; Climbs/Descends 1,656
Notes: Ride early in the day to avoid the afternoon winds. Toilets and food can only be found at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort or the Centerville gas station.
0.0 Ride west on Sackett Street about 50 yards and turn left on I Street. Ride one block
0.1 Turn right on US 291/1st Street. Follow this road out of town, always staying on US 291.
7.8 T-intersection with US 285. Turn right (north).
12.2 Just past Centerville, turn left on CR 261 – look for the big sign that reads “Mesa Antero”.
12.6 Turn right on CR 261A/Shavano Drive.
13.3 Turn right on 261C/Sawmill.
13.7 Turn right on CR 261D/Deer Trail
14.1 Turn right on CR 271 – which changes name to CR 270, although at the time of writing, there was no sign to say where this changed. Stay on CR 270 headed north.
14.9 Stay straight on CR 270.
17.1 Stay straight on CR 270.
18.9 T-intersection with CR 162. Turn right (east) on CR 162 to continue the lollipop.
(Hot Springs: If you want to detour to the hot springs, turn left at this corner and ride less than a mile to the hot springs resort. It will be obvious when you’re there. Try out the pools in the creek.)
22.6 T-intersection with US 285. Turn right (south).
31.2 Turn left on US 291 toward Salida. Be careful in this intersection.
37.8 Cross bridge over Arkansas River on outskirts of Salida. Stay on US 291 as it changes name to 1st Street.
38.9 Turn left on I Street. Ride one block and turn right on Sackett Street.
39.0 Your journey is complete.
We want you to have a safe and enjoyable trip into Colorado’s backcountry. Be prepared it could be a long walk out. Be sure to read this list of equipment you should bring on your ride along with tips to make your biking trip more enjoyable.
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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