CULTURE BLOG

ADVENTURE BY BIKE®

Canyon Country

With my days in Colorado numbered, I’ve been taking advantage of recent weekends to get out and check off some curious destinations that have been on my list of places to visit for a few years now. Last weekend, Caroline and I headed out to canyon country to see what all the hype was about.



Okay, so this isn’t you’re typical canyon country. This is in southeastern Colorado, near the town of La Junta. Most people aren’t aware that there are any particularly interesting landscape features to visit in this area, but I can now say that those people are missing out. There’s also one other neat aspect to one of these canyons…



We unfortunately didn’t have as much time to explore the huge network of canyons, but we did get in one ride. The trail, not surprisingly was littered with some unfriendly pointy things: Goatheads.



Dozens found their way into our tires. Thank goodness for ample sealant.



The dinosaur tracks were spectacular in their own right. Approximately 150 million years old, these were left behind by a family group of Apatosaurs walking along the shallows of a limey lake. Their deep tracks were preserved as the muck lithified into limestone. Nearby, smaller tracks of predatory Allosaurs record a threat following behind.



On Sunday, we ventured a bit farther west to Pueblo Reservoir, just outside Pueblo. I had ridden here a couple years ago and was delighted with the trail system in this state park.



The multiuse trails include 20-plus miles of winding, moderately technical singletrack that continuously bumps up and down the little canyons. But to appease riders looking for a more gravity-fueled challenge, steep, rocky, challenging trails were built in each of the dozen or so canyons that cut into one cliff line. Big travel bikes are right at home here, and my Horsethief was a blast to ride and had no trouble handling the chunkiest lines and biggest drops the place had to offer. In my opinion, the approach to trail building taken by this park should receive far more praise than it has.



So if you’re ever passing through southeastern Colorado, take a day or two to explore what it has to offer. It might not be Moab or Sedona, but it sure is dang fun and far less crowded.

This post filed under topics: Horsethief Kurt Refsnider Mountain Biking

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kurt Refsnider

After growing up in Minnesota, I’ve been lured away by the rugged charm of the mountainous West. Now a professor at Prescott College, I teach students about the geologic wonders that surround us. I relish every opportunity I find to spend a day (or days) on the bike, linking together unknown trails and forgotten routes through deserted country and enjoying the simplicity and unpredictability. And when driven to race, I am growing ever fonder of pushing the limits of endurance and sanity, quietly spinning the cranks, staring out over the handlebars, and watching the scenery evolve while wondering where I’ll next be able to fill up on water. Kurt's Going Nuts: http://www.krefs.blogspot.com

COMMENTS (4)

cmherron | November 30th, 2011

Thanks for the heads up about La Junta, I never thought about riding down there!  The dinosaur tracks would be pretty cool to check out.  Lake Pueblo State Park is a great place to ride.  I rode in the Voodoo Fire race this past April, a 70 mile endurance deal that attracts serious racers in the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, and had a blast!  The trails were fun and the people were nice.  Although on a side note, I’m not a big fan of people throwing trash all over the trails and the lead pack of racers had no problem throwing bottles and gel packs anywhere they pleased.  I certainly enjoy adventures by bike more than littering by bike!

cmherron | November 30th, 2011

You may want to check out a local semi-underground ride on Dec 17th if you can.  It’s called the pennock pedlin pow wow.  It’s about a 100 mile ride from Fort Collins.  It’ll head west and up into the mountains then back down through the Poudre Canyon.  I don’t know how much time you’ve spent riding up here in northern colorado but it should be a fun relaxed adventure!  Perfect for ANY Salsa person!
Cheers

Jason W | December 2nd, 2011

I grew up in La Junta and know those canyons.  Unfortunately, growing up I wasn’t into mtn biking and only went out there a few times to rock climb.  What a missed opportunity.  Oh well, gives me an excuse to go back and visit my old stomping grounds.  Great post and I loved the pics!

Jeff | December 4th, 2011

Never wood a thought

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