Colorado Trail: Tennessee Pass to Holy Cross Wilderness Out-and-Back

Leadville

Salida

A buff, flowy out-and-back on the Colorado Trail with a rocky finish.

Mountain Biking Moderate

Distance
21 km
Ascent
501 m
Descent
497 m
Low Point
3.2 km
High Point
3.3 km
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Colorado Trail: Tennessee Pass to Holy Cross Wilderness Out-and-Back 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.

From Tennessee Pass, the Colorado Trail runs for several miles before entering the Holy Cross Wilderness, where mountain bikes are currently banned. However, the section of trail between Tennessee Pass and the Wilderness is very worth as an out-and-back ride.

The singletrack roughly follows a ridge, climbing and descending brief rises on buffed-out singletrack. A few rocks punctuate the buff trail tread, keeping riders on their toes as the wind and dip through the pines.

Toward the far end of this section, riders will encounter some seriously eroded sections of singletrack traversing extended rock gardens filled with babyheads.

If riding this section as an out-and-back, turn around at the Wilderness boundary and return the way you came. If through-riding the COT, turn left upon reaching Wurts Ditch Road to bypass around the Wilderness.

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.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

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

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Flow
  • Roots
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area