There are literally dozens of trail combinations in the buffalo creek area, my favorite is proceeding up buck gulch from Pine Valley Ranch, it is a climb of around a thousand feet over a distance of aprox. 2 1/2 miles. Once the trail flattens out you will reach an intersection, go left or east. This is skipper trail. A very pleasant series of ups and downs. This section is another aprox. 1 1/2 miles. Next you will reach a four way intersection. Generally most people go left or back north to form a loop on strawberry jack, which is another 2 1/2 mile singletrack downhill all the way back to Pine Valley Ranch. If you choose to go straight at the intersection it will take you down a 2 mile downhill thru partially burned forest called sandy wash trail. This trail will end at a closed forest service road that will take you back uphill to either the baldy trail (which connects to charlie''s cutoff), or all the way back to the intersection with buck gulch and skipper trails. If you choose to go right at the intersection of strawberry jack and sandy wash you will be on charlie''s cutoff which connects the skipper trail to the baldy trail. There are many possible loops in this area, and it is easy to cover 30 or 40 miles in an afternoon on your bike here. However it can become confusing because some of the trails tend to look alike, so please take a map your first couple of times here.
From Denver head south-west on highway 285, to the intersection with highway 126 at pine junction going south. Follow the signage at the town of Pine to go west on a paved side street to the parking lot at the Pine Valley Ranch. From there follow the trail over the wooden bridge to where in curves south and heads up buck gulch. From Colorado Springs go west on highway 24 to Woodland Park, turn north on highway 67 and follow to Deckers. At Deckers to over the bridge and continue north on highway 126 to the town of Pine. The area is also accesible from the south buffalo creek rd. off 126 just south of the community of Buffalo Creek. This road is also well marked.
Summary: Having been here a few times, the trails are impeccably smooth and fun, and each time I come back, I'm reminded how awesome it is to ride Buffalo Creek. Apparently, you can't park at the gate anymore on FS 543. You can, but you risk getting a ticket or tow. The Buffalo Creek fire dept opened a pk lot about a 10th of a mile on your left on FS 543. You'll see a Buffalo Creek fire dept sign and a cleared out area with a Buffalo Creek trail map system sign. Park there. Gotta respect the locals if y'all want to keep this place epic. Anyway, you can really put in a lot of miles w/o really feeling it here. The trails are just that nice and fast. The past two times, I started out riding up FS 543 to Shinglemill or Morrison Creek. The ride up the road is a nice warm up. Once at the Shinglemill trailhead, I ride a bit further to Morrison Creek as it's a bit longer than Shinglemill and I try to maximize my riding. Then, Shinglemill to the CO trail all the way to Redskin Creek and up to Gashouse. Then, Gashouse to Charlie's Cutoff by way of Miller's Gulch. Once on Charlie's Cutoff, it's all downhill via Charlie's Cutoff -> Homestead -> Sandy Wash... about 5 miles of epic CO downhill to your car. 25 miles in 4 hours with a few breaks.
Recommended Route: Since I live ~1 hour from Buffalo Creek, I need 4+ hours to make it worth my while. Otherwise, I'll just ride Centennial Cone or Lair o the Bear. Anyway, whatever your loop, I think adding the CO trail segment of Buffalo Creek adds a bit of challenge with a few roots and rocks to negotiate. Also, half of BC is in a burned out forest. The CO trail was not affected by the fires and you're riding in a dense conifer forest. I love the mixed terrain riding.
So, here it is... 25 miles.. 4 hours.. FS 543 --> Shinglemill --> Colorado Trail --> Redskin Creek --> Gashouse --> Miller's Gulch --> Charlie's Cutoff --> Homestead --> Sandy Wash --> FS 543
Other recommended trails in the same area: I'm a front ranger, and not a big fan of frequent and difficult technical features (i.e. big rock steps, drops, etc. every few hundred yards.) Centennial Cone, Lair o the Bear, and Mt Falcon are my local rides. Green Mountain is my backyard, but considering CO has some of the best singletrack in the world, it's hard to classify Green Mtn as a mtn bike destination.
Review Date July 15, 2012
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Scrob
Summary: Great area. Here's a good flowy route that maximizes some good downhills
Recommended Route: Here's a 24 mile, super fun route:
Turn off Road 126 onto County Road 543 and park your car at the gate. Ride up Road 543 to the 725-Shinglemill Trail on your left. Climb Shinglemill through the burned out forest to the top. Stay on Shinglemill all the way to Road 550. Cross the road and turn right onto the 1776-Colorado Trail. This section of the CT is really flowy without many climbs and 1 nice downhill. Stay on Colorado until you reach the Redskin Creek trail on your right. Climb Redskin up to 726-Gashouse Trail. Take Gashouse down to 730-Miller Gulch Trail and turn right. Super fast double track with water bars here! Merge right onto 730-Sandy Wash Trail and descend through more burned out forest back to your car on Road 543.
24 miles that took us about 4 hours as we weren't in any hurry. A great network of trails that presents all kinds of different rides. Bring a MAP! We ran into more than one group without a map and everyone was lost.
Summary: I have heard a lot about this trail network and was eager to check it out over the summer. Since my regular xc bike was out of commission I took my singlespeed out for the ride. I started out at Pine Grove, climbed up on Buck Gulch, over to Charlie's cutoff, down sandy wash, up Millers gulch and as I recall we rode the Gashouse trail on the way to Strawberry Jack back to the car.
I think that the network of trails here is very good in that you can do any number of different loops with very minimal backtracking, but I really did not like the actual trails. It had not been super dry before we went on this ride, but the trails were like riding in a sandbox which is not fun in my opinion. This might stem from growing up riding on the soft east coast dirt, but I did not enjoy the riding here at all. The Buck Gulch climb was ridiculously sandy and Strawberry Jack was even worse coming back down at the end. It was nearly impossible to hold nice lines and speed because of the looseness on the vast majority of the trails we rode. I didn't find anything remotely technical not including sand covered steep climbs.
Maybe I was just riding the wrong trails, but I have seen the same names in a lot of reviews. It could have been out of the ordinary conditions and if that's the case I'll have to go back and give the place another shot. I really don't have any interest in going back though considering how many other trails are in the area and closer to Denver. My suggestion would be go after it has rained to avoid dry times, don't ride a 32-16 singlespeed and be in good shape for a long ride. Sorry to all the Buffalo Creek lovers.
Recommended Route: ??? You tell me.
Other recommended trails in the same area: walker ranch, Apex, Hall Ranch, Lair of the Bear, Dinosaur Ridge
Summary: Found this track as highly rated on Singeltracks.com so thought i would give it a try. We rode the Gashouse option to the top and back to the bottom on the Sandy Wash downhill. Was a total of 16 miles. I see why it rated so highly, great trail conditions, lots of options, beautiful scenery. Well worth the 1.5 hour drive from my home. Will definitely ride as often as opportunity presents.
Recommended Route: Lots of unexplored options, cant recommend yet.
Summary: The Buffalo Creek Trail system, has the best single track on the front range. If you want to go out for a 2-3 hour ride "and never dismount"
see my recommended route.
Recommended Route: Park at the Pine Valley parking lot. "Free Parking"
Go up the double track to the bridge, turn left onto the bridge.
go straight up the trail until the fork, stay left and take the strawberry jack trail. Take strawberry jack to charlies cutoff.
Turn left on charlies cut off and take to homestead,turn right.
Homestead turns into sandy wash, "hold on" sandy wash is a killer
downhill. At the bottom of sandy wash turn right onto fire road.
Take fire road to shinglemill,turn left onto shinglemill and climb
to the top. At the top turn right on to morrison trail. Go down morrison to the fire road. Turn left on fire road and take to baldy trail.Turn right onto baldy "and start climbing at fork stay right onto baldy."don't take gashouse" continue up baldy trail to miller gulch. Turn right onto miller gulch and take to strawberry jack. Strawberry is approx 1.5 - 2 miles is the first hard left you will see. Take strawberry jack all the way back to the bridge. This ride is approx 30 miles. It's the one of the funnest on the front range."bring snacks and alot of water" Enjoy.......................................