FATMAP difficulty grade
This 14-mile loop offers everything from secluded forest singletrack to very exposed sections, with amazing views from large rock outcroppings, and of course: a beautiful alpine lake. The best place to park and start the ride is at the end of state road 578 (NM 578), at the junction where Middle Fork Road (Forest Rd 58) continues on the right side of the creek.
Ride across the bridge and turn right onto Forest Road 58A, which then changes into Wheeler Peak Rd.
Stay on this road until you reach the East Fork Trailhead parking lot and continue straight ahead onto the singletrack.
The trail begins with a decent climb until you reach a large informational sign, which tells you all about the Big Ditch (built by the Moreno Valley Water and Mining Co, up to 41 miles of ditch to provide water to the Moreno Valley).
From here on the climb is a bit more mellow, with a great mixture of dark dirt, moss, roots and lots of tree cover; a really nice green zone. This setting changes when you arrive at the bridge, to cross the East Fork Red River, where way more rock welcomes you.
The climbing gets harder and more technical, with a few tricky sections to keep you honest. Soon after the trail turns north, things open up and you have arrived at the first of several exposed rock outcroppings, which provide views of the valley and the eastern slopes of Wheeler Peak. The trail gets harder yet, and crosses Horseshoe Creek, and ends at the junction with Lost Lake Trail (91).
Turn right (left goes into the Wheeler Peak Wilderness where bikes are not allowed), the trail continues to skirt the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary, through several rock fields and avalanche zones, separated by shorter sections with trees.
The views are stunning through here.
After 7 miles of uphill, you’ll arrive at Lost Lake, which offers plenty of opportunities to find a great spot for a long (lunch) break. After leaving Lost Lake the trail continues through a few rock fields, still with awesome views.
Enjoy them while they last, as the trail soon starts to pitch down, and you’ll find yourselves in deep forest again, on a wider trail (old roadbed).
This very fast section of trail includes a number of larger switchbacks, before the junction with Middle Fork/FR 58.
Turn right here, down FR 58 (which goes along the Middle Fork Red River).
This gets you back to your car at the end of this road. Caution notes: this is a high alpine-style ride.
The weather can change quickly here—thunder and lighting are common in this zone.
The typical riding season is June - October. Also, this is black bear and mountain lion country.