3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
The South Canon Trails have turned into an expansive trail system that's rideable from downtown Canon City.
With singletrack ranging from mild and flowy to rocky and steep, every rider can enjoy the mountain biking here at South Canon. Adding to South Canon's appeal is its very low (by Colorado standards) elevation.
While Canon City in general is known for great riding conditions mid-winter, South Canon is now the lowest-elevation trail etwork in the region, With plenty of sun to dry the trails, it's rideable almost all year round. The trail layout at South Canon is rather odd, but the odd array is largely dictated by the lay of the land that the builders had to work with.
The first singletrack you'll hop on after leaving the trailhead is the easiest and mellowest, meaning beginners can form a great loop with little effort. However, the next trail, named Hard Times, is the most technical in the trail system, with steep climbs, rocky challenges, and some exposed singletrack.
The rest of the trails—and the bulk of the trail system—above this trail are decidedly more intermediate.
This means that if you're an intermediate rider, you could definitely handle about 95% of the trail system...
but in order to access ~80% of the trail system, you'll have to pedal through the 5% that is very difficult.
That said, it's possible to detour around the black diamond connector trail using doubletrack and dirt roads if you so desire.
The upper trails in the South Canon network, above Hard Times and below Temple Canyon Road, are flowy, mostly machine-built, and very entertaining to ride! It's even possible to shuttle to the top of these various trails using Temple Canyon Road.
While you'll save yourself a couple thousand feet of climbing, the "shuttle run" is decidedly pedally. Above Temple Canyon Road lie the Section 13 trails, which are much older than the bulk of South Canon.
Nowadays, these classic intermediate singletrack trails are best ridden from the town of Canon City by way of the South Canon trails, but you can still park on Temple Canyon Road and just ride Section 13 if you so desire.
Combining all of these various portions and different singletrack flavors together creates an incredible mountain bike ride in a desert environment that can rival almost any intermediate-level desert ride! Canon City is quickly becoming a major player in the Colorado mountain biking scene.