Oil Well Flats

Salida

Flowy bike-optimized singletrack trails filled with chunky, technical rock sections lead to an incredible overlook on top of Island in the Sky.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
22 km
Ascent
452 m
Descent
452 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
2 km
Gradient
Oil Well Flats Map

The Oil Well Flats Trail system lies in the desert mountains above the town of Canon City, and while it can get quite hot during mid-summer and it does occasionally get snow in mid-winter, generally speaking, the trails here are rideable 12 months per year. With flowy, bike-optimized singletrack filled with chunky technical features ranging from small rock gardens all the way up to some legit drops, it's no wonder that this new trail system is getting more and more popular with riders across Colorado, and visitors from around the world!

Description

Oil Well Flats is the culmination of new school trail building techniques, excellent trail design, and a key collaboration between local riders and the local land managers. This network didn't exist even a decade ago, and the work that's been invested to build trails at sustainable grades that also make for a good pedal is evident. The swoop and flow, both uphill and downhill, makes for a kinesthetically pleasing experience. Even the more technical sections are surprisingly flow-able, but prepare to be challenged by some very technical features.

The Island in the Sky is a highlight of this area, and once riders have pedaled all the way up and gained the rim, the view of the entire region, as well as the Sangre De Cristo mountains off in the distance, is drop-dead-gorgeous. The Island in the Sky is the perfect spot for lunch and a drink, before preparing for the ripping descent down the mountain! Be forewarned: this section of singletrack is extremely rocky and while there aren't any huge drops, the constant barrage of rocks and boulders will take its toll.

If you're a beginner-level rider, it's possible to do an out-and-back ride (or create some other route combination with the dirt roads) on the flowy, green-rated Fracture trail.

According to most sources, the rest of the trails in the network are rated as intermediate trails, but I'd label these as blue/black trails, with the Island in the Sky and the descent from the Island as black diamond. While confident intermediate riders should be able to handle most of the singletrack out here, the rocks will undoubtedly turn the ride into a stretching experience. But if you're ok with venturing a little out of your comfort zone, Oil Well Flats will reward you!

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

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

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Drops
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area