Colorado Trail: Sargents Mesa

Gunnison

Salida

Widely regarded as the worst section of the Colorado Trail.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
56 km
Ascent
1.8 km
Descent
2.2 km
Low Point
3 km
High Point
3.6 km
Gradient
14˚
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Colorado Trail: Sargents Mesa Map

Description

The Colorado Trail (COT) is widely regarded as one of the very best long distance mountain bike trails in the world. Running for 535 miles between Denver and Durango, the trail crosses high alpine mountain passes and drops into beautiful valleys as it traverses the most beautiful portions of the state of Colorado. The COT forms one third of the Triple Crown of Bikepacking, along with the Arizona Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

While taken as a whole the Colorado Trail is truly epic and fantastic, the stretch along Sargents Mesa is generally considered to be the absolute worst section of that excellent trail. Being the worst part of an excellent trail generally means that reality falls somewhere in the middle. A few sections of the Sargents Mesa segment offer beautiful, flowy, benchcut singletrack at a moderate grade.

It’s all of the other segments that are the issue. A few sections of this trail run straight up and down mountainsides and steep-sided valleys, which isn’t so unusual for Colorado

What is quite unusual, at least for the Colorado Trail, is that this segment is shared use with motorized traffic. Due to some of the steep grades, the torque of motorcycle tires has created deep, eroded trenches in places. Loose babyhead rocks abound, making for difficult mountain biking… and mandatory hike-a-bike in many places.

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.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Technical
  • Hike a bike
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area