Golder High Loop

A challenging ride accessing the upper reaches of the Golder Ranch Trail System.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
21 km
Ascent
452 m
Descent
452 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
972 m
High Point
1.3 km
Gradient
Golder High Loop Map

Golder Ranch is a complex trail system with a plethora of trail and route options to choose from. Complicating the decision process is the unfortunate reality that none of the trails in this area are marked, and unless you're using a digital map like FATMAP, you won't have any idea of the name of the particular section of trail that you might be riding. So, if you head out to attempt the Golder High Loop, I highly recommend that you download this route for offline navigation.

Description

The "High Loop" shown here climbs up to the highest trails in the Golder Ranch Trail System. At least, it reaches the highest trails that are generally considered worth riding. Again, since none of the trails are signed, it's a bit fuzzy where this trail network actually ends, but the forest service road that forms the upper edge of this loop is as good a boundary as any.

To begin, you'll pedal out the 50-Year Trail like normal and follow the map to locate the Around the Mountain Trail, where most of the climbing takes place. But before you get to Cowboy Slickrock, you'll take a left onto yet another unmarked trail known as "Hernia" to reach Forest Service Road #4496. Turn right onto the forest service road, and you'll climb until you reach the Cherry Tank and the singletrack descent by the same name. Finally, it's time to go downhill!

Cherry Tank rips downhill quickly on an eroded, little-ridden singletrack, dumping into the upper end of Around the Mountain and subsequently descending to Cowboy Slickrock. Cowboy Slickrock is arguably the premier trail in the entire network, featuring fantastic slickrock slabs, long-range views, and steep descents. It's a challenging romp that's not for the faint of heart, but it can stand against some of the best slickrock slab rides anywhere!

This loop wraps up on the Upper 50-Year trail with a return to the trailhead on Lower 50-Year. But if you haven't had enough yet, you can always extend this ride by tacking on the Middle Gate Trail.

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • Drops
  • Roots
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area