Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Foothills Trail to the "A" (MTB)

For my first blog post I thought I'd share one of my favorite short mtn bike rides. It ususally takes me about 45 min so it is a good ride to do during the week before work. I ususally feel awake, energized and ready for the day after this steep technical single track ride. This time estimate usually includes taking some pictures, enjoying the brisk early morning view overlooking the city or watching the occasional deer.

Trail GPS track

Trail stats
Round trip dist = 3.5mi
Total elevation gain = 734 feet
Ride time = 45 min
Trail type = rocky technical single track

Trail walkthrough
At the intersection of Prospect and Banyan there is a dirt road that is gated off. Ride up this road about a half mile and you'll reach the Maxwell natural area entrance. Continute about 1/4 mile until you reach the foothills trail and take a right. This begins the steep and rocky part of the ride. At a total distance of 1.4 miles there is a marked fork in the road with the option to continue straigh to the "A" or turn right to continue on the foothills trail. From this point its about 1/4 mile to the "A" and smooth singletrack except for a very steep rocky hill near the top. Once you reach the "A" there is a very nice view of the city to the east and a nice view of Horsetooth reservior and horsetooth rock to the west. I ususally will relax for a short while at the top and take a few pictures.

The trail

View from the top


Once you're ready for the fast technical downhill that is similar to the "easy" trails at Keystone just go back the way you came.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Monarch Lake

This is a nice hike around Monarch Lake which is south east of Lake Granby. This lake is located in the Arapahoe National Forest (entrance fee required, dogs allowed) and more information can be found here.

GPS Track

Trail stats
Total Dist = 4.5 mi
Total Elevation Gain = 880 ft
Hiking Time = 1.5 hours
Trail Type = Singletrack
Difficulty = Easy to Medium
Start Coordinates (copy and paste into google maps):  40.111452 N, -105.74738 W

From Granby turn north onto U.S. Highway 34, travel approximately six miles to County Road (CR) 6. Turn east onto CR 6 (Arapaho Bay Road/NFSR 125), and drive 10 miles to the parking area.

At the beginning of the trail there is a cabin with trail information that is staffed in the summer. From this cabin  we chose to go counter-clockwise around the lake. After going about 0.35 miles we ran into a trail closure due to tree removal. After speaking with someone we found out that we could in fact go clockwise around the lake. So we ended up going an extra 0.7 or so miles because we originally chose the wrong direction.

View from trail start

Before we set out on the hike we sat and watched the tree removal from a safe distance. It was very impressive to see and hear the trees fall. We also gave Gromit the chance to cool off in the lake before we started out.

Gromit enjoying the lake

This is a singletrack trail in good condition and I would say that is was of medium difficulty. I remember that there were many of rocks and roots on the trail, but nothing technical like steep rock gardens or drop-offs. And as you can see by the elevation profile, it is fairly flat with only small climbs and descents as the trail weaves around the lake.

View from about 1.7 miles into the hike

Towards the end of the trail there was an old machine called a steam donkey (sorry no photo) that was a steam powered winch used for logging here back in the early 20th century.