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. 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.