Colorado Mountain Biking Adventures - Part 10

Mueller State Park offers many other options. A shorter loop can be accessed at 4.2 miles by taking Trail 17 east. If the beautiful open meadow on the northwest end of the loop is appealing, descending on Trial 33 is another option that can lead to Trail 12. Other rides include the following:

Dome Rock: Just south of the described route, Dome Rock is an easier 6.6-mile out-and-back ride that crosses Four Mile Creek several times. Other than that, the ride is basically flat and is a good place for beginners to get their mountain bike legs. To get to the trailhead, drive past the entrance to Mueller State Park on Colorado 67 and take County Road 61 for about two miles before turning right into the parking lot. The Dome Rock Trail is to the right.

Cripple Creek/Victor: For a ride outside the park, continue driving south about 10 miles on Colorado 67 and discover many mining roads well suited for biking. Locals in Victor have closed some roads to motorized traffic, and the routes take riders past historic mining sites.

Falcon Loop: This scenic, 11-mile loop lies in the beautiful foothills encircling the Air Force Academy. From Denver, take Interstate 25 south to the second Academy Boulevard exit. Go right on Southgate Boulevard for 2.5 miles. Turn left on Pine Drive, go 2.2 miles and turn onto Pine Loop. Park near the softball fields. Ride back up Pine Drive past the fire station, turning left onto Monument Creek Trail. Look for the trail on the left marked with a white falcon sign 0.3-mile from the parking area.

Limekiln ride is a scenic treat. Most riders prefer a trail that rewards uphill grinding with long downhill pleasures. That's exactly what Limekiln has to offer. This route is part of a race course for the Colorado Off-Road Point Series, and you'd expect crowds. Surprisingly, not a single vehicle -- four-wheel or two -- was encountered on a recent sunny Saturday. This is one of the most picturesque rides reviewed this season. Long, rolling foothills undulate in and out with craggy, vertical crowns. Abundant rain has turned the dry soil a succulent green. As you climb, don't forget views east to the fertile valley floor and farther to the popular sand dunes.

Cat Creek: Check in at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa to see whether this trail is rideable. This is a longer, more advanced loop trail that climbs steadily on a dirt road for 6.4 miles. It begins easily but transitions progressively harder to a high, aspen-lined meadow. Look for a hard left that may be marked with a sign for the 703 trail or a tall stick in a pile of white rocks. The dark, wide, cattle-trod single track rolls up and down through several sloppy bogs. Pass a gate and an open field at 8.2 miles to descend left at a four-way intersection onto 704 at 8.8 miles. The drier, more technical descent is littered with small field rocks and slippery roots challenging all but the expert rider to end at 13.5 miles. To get there, take Colorado 15 south from Monte Vista for 12 miles. At a large real estate sign, go west on FS 250 for seven miles and bear right at the signed intersection. Park at a roadside pull-out at 11.4 miles.

Continued In: Colorado Mountain Biking Adventures - Part 11

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