Situated in Curt Gowdy State Park near Cheyenne, Wyoming, the Canyons Trail is a 6-mile masterpiece that captures the essence of the region's rugged beauty. It serves as the backbone of the trail network on the southeast side of CGSP. Offering sections ranging from intermediate to expert levels, this trail presents a complex tapestry of challenges and rewards.
The trailhead starts near a parking area close to the dam on the southeast side of the Crystal Springs Reservoir. Look for CGSP signs directing you to the Canyons Trail.
- Surface: A mix of granite gravel, rocks, and embedded mats
- Route Type: Network of interlinked sections
- Difficulty Level: Varies from intermediate to expert
- Signage: Marked as "advanced" and "expert" in places, ensuring you know what to expect
The Five Faces of Canyons Trail
Section One: Steep and Loose
- Begins at the parking area near the dam
- Features tight switchbacks that descend about 100 feet
- Loose granite gravel in the corners demands precision
- Marked as "advanced"
Section Two: An Intermediate Breather
- Links to both ends of Middle Kingdom and eventually Cliffhanger
- Characterized by narrow singletrack with minor rocky challenges
- Little elevation change makes this an easier ride
- Take time to admire the unique rock formations
Section Three: Reservoir Vistas
- Runs along the north side of Crystal Reservoir for 1.2 miles
- Offers scenic views and some technical but manageable obstacles
- Past washouts have been repaired but remain areas to be cautious of
Section Four: The Technical Beast
- Becomes more challenging as it moves away from the reservoir
- Features steep sections where gravel fails to stay, leading to hike-a-bike situations
- Marked as "expert", not for the faint-hearted
Section Five: The Unknown
- This far southeast section was not covered due to time constraints
- Marked as "intermediate" but reports suggest it could contain more hike-a-bike areas
Comments from the Trail
- "Canyons provides the most diversity at Curt Gowdy. The route is moderately technical with a fair amount of rocks."
- "The final section is a test for even the most skilled riders. Be prepared to walk your bike."
- "The section between Mahogany and Crystal Ridge offers smoother terrain and is a bit easier, acting as a breather between challenges."
The Canyons Trail is not your typical ride; it's a multi-faceted experience that tests different skill sets as you traverse its complex terrain. Whether it's the adrenaline-pumping steep sections or the quieter moments where you can admire nature's artwork, Canyons has something for everyone. Just remember, this trail can bite back, so come prepared and stay alert.