Buck Gulch -> Strawberry Jack Loop

Buffalo Creek

Access the Buffalo Creek trail system from an underutilized trailhead.

Mountain Biking Moderate

Distance
12 km
Ascent
398 m
Descent
398 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2.1 km
High Point
2.4 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Buck Gulch -> Strawberry Jack Loop Map

Description

While most riders access the Buffalo Creek Trail System from the trailhead parking lot on S Buffalo Creek Road, you can also park at Pine Valley Ranch and access the network from an entirely different drainage. Choosing this less-utilized trailhead means you’ll likely leave most of the crowds behind and have a much quieter trailhead experience.

You’ll have to pay for that solitude, though! The climb up Buck Gulch from Pine Valley is a grunt that climbs straight up the mountainside. While the singletrack is classic Buffalo Creek kitty litter, meaning smooth and non-technical, the grade of the ascent makes this trail a real chore. Once higher up on the side of the ridge, the grade mellows out for more agreeable pedaling.

Once at the top of Buck Gulch, turn left onto Skipper Trail and follow that singletrack until you reach a junction with Strawberry Jack and Homestead. The loop mapped here descends Strawberry Jack back to the place you started. This descent is old school singletrack, with sections of steep, loose kitty litter singletrack punctuated by roots and rock gardens, and the occasional stream bed crossing.

On the other hand, if you want more pedaling, from the junction of Skipper Trail and Strawberry Jack you can access the rest of the Buffalo Creek Trail System. At this junction, you can go straight and then left to access the double black diamond test piece known as Blackjack. If you follow Homestead straight, that will bring you to the iconic Sandy Wash descent. Finally, turning right on Strawberry Jack will take you deeper into the network and higher up the mountainside, allowing you to access a veritable smorgasbord of singletrack.

Whatever route you choose from this junction, know that if you opt to head deeper into the network you’ll end up dropping down a mountainside. Then, you will be forced to pedal back up and over the ridge you’re on top of presently, in order to drop down Strawberry Jack and back to Pine Valley Ranch. It’s completely doable but just plan for one big climb before your final descent.

Difficulty

Moderate

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability, with unavoidable obstacles 8in/20cm tall or less. Other obstacles such as rock gullies and steep sections may exist. Ideal for lower intermediate riders.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Flow
  • Singletrack
  • Roots
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area