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Pole Creek Mountain Loop

Average Rating:    (5 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 2

This is one of the hardest rides I've done in years but also one of the best. It features 4100 feet of climbing, almost all of it between 10,000 and 12,471 feet, on singletrack that varies from smooth to hike-a-bike rough. The route tops out at the west entrance to the West Lost Creek Trail, which is a sublime descent through about 7 to 9 miles of high alpine meadows and fun technical rock gardens. It took 4:48 riding time for me to cover 27.1 miles.
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Latitude
37.769323873637774
Longitude
-107.35067367553711
Trail Length
27
Trail Level
Advanced
Trail Type
Singletrack & Fire Roads
City/County
Lake City
State/Territory/Province
CO
Country
US
Web Address
Information Added By
   


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

Review Date
August 22, 2010

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: ReichC ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
This is a big one that's hard as hell. Start early, bring as much of everything as you can. Find something else to do if the weather looks even remotely bad.

Recommended Route:
Extremely difficult, long and should not be attempted if there's even a chance or rain and/or lightning. From Lost Creek Campground...get to the CO trail near the Divide. Get on / stay on CO trail for a really long time. Follow the signs and cairns - you're going to feel lost because you are way out there. I've heard this referred to as 'Cataract Ridge.' Your map is probably going to be wrong, so listen up. Stay on the CO trail for a long time. Don't go down Minnie or Maggie. You can drop West Pole and probably Middle Pole. Your map will indicate that the CO trail goes down West Pole - it doesn't. The CO trail now follows the Divide trail towards Stoney Pass.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
The best riding in summer and fall is in Crested Butte, Colorado. Check out Hartman Rocks in the spring - I'd rather spend a weekend in Gunnison County than in Grand Junction, wouldn't you? Free camping in the middle of sick trails. But I'm biased.



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Review Date
August 13, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: imtnbke ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
The trailhead is at the end of the Rio Grande Reservoir south of Lake City, Colorado. The ride is very difficult but has spectacular views and fabulous riding. Just be ready for extreme conditions and hike-a-bike sections. I was dodging thunderstorms for most of the ride. There was steady but light rain for the hour or so I was above 12,000 feet, and the temperature dropped to 49 degrees (this in mid-July), but I was working so hard both climbing and descending that a light jacket kept me warm.

Recommended Route:
Drive on Highway 149 to the turnoff for the Rio Grande Reservoir, midway between Lake City and Creede. Drive about 20 miles to the Lost Trail campground and park there. Ride west about six or seven miles on Forest Service Road 520. When you get to a sign for (I think) Timber Hill, the road will deteriorate markedly and begin to climb steeply. I walked large parts of it, but the worst lasts only for a mile or two. Descend into a spectacular valley (losing most of the elevation you gained) and begin climbing the Pole Creek Trail singletrack, Nos. 820 and/or 787. I believe you're simultaneously on the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail when you're on 820/787. Several miles later, just below 12,500 feet, you'll find a junction with West Lost Creek Trail, No. 822. This is a magnificent and sometimes challenging descent with elements similar to Monarch Crest Trail, Doctor Park Trail (Gunnison), and Dyke Trail (Crested Butte). Advanced riders will eat it up and find it thrilling. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and you'll reach a junction with the uninspiring Lost Creek Trail, No. 821, which is muddy, sloppy, and ATV-accessible. Go south to your starting point.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Snow Mesa (the Colorado Trail east of Spring Creek Pass).



Comments
imtnbke (08/13/2009)
A followup to my own review . . . if you feel that riding Monarch Crest is becoming routine, try this loop and nearby Snow Mesa.
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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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