Distance: 20 miLevel: IntermediateRoute Type: Out & BackCity: DeckersState: ColoradoFor mountain bikers yearning for a multi-layered experience, the Colorado Trail from South Platte to Little Scraggy Trailhead delivers in spades. With a varying landscape punctuated by burnt forest zones and lush greenery, this 20-mile out-and-back trail provides both a workout and a rewarding descent. Here's what to know before saddling up.
To reach the trailhead located in South Platte, navigate via Hwy 285 to Pine Junction, then take Hwy 126 to Buffalo Creek. Make a left down the gravel road and follow the river eastward for about 10 miles. The trailhead is well marked and features amenities like a pedestrian bridge and outhouse.
Once past the initial climb, the route divides into three discernible sections: the first burnt out from a recent forest fire, the second a normal forest, and the third back into the burn zone. Riders cross a fire road at one point; despite the absence of markers, continue on the singletrack.
Cyclists who've tackled this trail unanimously agree: the return ride is where the trail truly shines. After a series of fun ups and downs, the last third is almost entirely downhill—a rewarding payoff for the uphill grind. Cyclists advise those who want the best experience to start at Buffalo Creek, as the trail west of Hwy 126 isn't considered particularly noteworthy. Also, riding in the morning is cooler, making the initial climb more bearable.
The Colorado Trail from South Platte to Little Scraggy Trailhead offers an eclectic mix of uphill struggle and exhilarating downhill payoff. Well-marked and segmented into unique sections, this intermediate-level trail is as diverse as it is delightful. Prepare well, and enjoy a mountain biking adventure that is both challenging and visually stunning.