Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
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. The problem for bikepackers is that the Colorado Trail wasn’t originally built with bike travel in mind.
Sure, plenty of sections are absolutely incredible on a mountain bike… but others, especially on a fully-loaded bikepacking rig, are notoriously brutal.
The Miner’s Creek/Wheeler section of the trail is one such ultra-brutal section. However, if you’re on an enduro bike and are looking for a high country day ride with a raucous descent back down the mountain, Miner’s Creek is a tantalizing prospect.
Consequently, the route mapped here is routed in the opposite direction of other Colorado Trail Segments (Durango->Denver instead of Denver->Durango) as it works much better for a day ride in this direction.
But of course, bikepackers do complete the Colorado Trail in both directions. If you do brave this segment either during a thru-ride or on a day ride, the climb from Copper up to the top of the Ten Mile Range is ultra-steep, climbing straight up the mountainside through a series of switchbacks.
The trail tops out above treeline with absolutely unreal views in all directions.
But when it’s time to go back down, hang on for dear life! The descent down Miner’s Creek is chunky and gnarly the entire way.
While there are a few large obstacles, most of the technicality of this trail arrises from the unrelenting character of the gnar.
There’s no time to catch your breath—it’s chunk all the time.
Rocks upon rocks while riding high above treeline transition into a combination of rocks and muddy root webs once back into the trees.
While brutally demanding on a hardtail bikepacking rig, on an enduro bike this route is to die for!