Loveland, Colorado, offers a cycling experience unlike any other: the Devil's Backbone trail. Sprawling across an 8-mile network of interconnected trails, it's a trail that promises challenge, beauty, and the raw thrill of mountain biking.
- Distance: 8 mi
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Network
- City: Loveland
- State: Colorado
Navigating the Trail
Devil's Backbone is more than just a single trail; it's a harmonious blend of three trails: the Backbone, the Wilds, and the Hunters. The trail's highlight is the iconic Devil's Backbone structure, but that's not all it has in store. With plans to connect to both Horsetooth and Lory State Park, cyclists can anticipate over 50 miles of continuous trail in the near future.
Commence from Taft and Eisenhower (Highway 43) and head west on Highway 34. The highway starts with two lanes in each direction but soon narrows down. Keep an eye out for The Black Cup, a coffee shop, on the right. Shortly after, an old water tower and a dirt road appear on the same side. A right turn here will lead to the welcoming sign of the Devil's Backbone trailhead.
- Take the left turn at the Wilds loop.
- On the Hunter's trail, the right route is recommended for cyclists.
- Look out for rattlesnakes.
- Shade is minimal; don't forget to bring water!
What Cyclists Are Saying
- A southeastern visitor mentioned the trail offers a mild climb initially but the Hunter's Loop can get steeper and rockier. Surprisingly, the return trip is mostly downhill, making it quite fun.
- Another enthusiast noted that the trail is exemplary in managing different trail users. The Laughing Horse Loop, for instance, is better when approached in the clockwise direction. However, the heavy traffic and frequent rattlesnake encounters did affect the overall rating.
- Many riders emphasized the trail's challenging rock sections, especially in the "more difficult" areas. The rocky terrains are a delight going down but can prove challenging going up.
- For beginners or those new to mountain biking, some sections may require walking the bike.
- Local cyclists acclaim the trail, often ranking it among the best in the Fort Collins area. Its varied sections and breathtaking vistas make it a must-try.
- However, there are opinions on both ends of the spectrum. Some riders felt the trail lacked flow due to its rocky sections, while others believe it's a quintessential Colorado trail experience.
Whether it's the magnificent views, the adrenaline rush from navigating through rocky terrains, or the sheer pleasure of being amidst nature, Devil's Backbone offers something for every mountain biker. Just a word of caution: with its growing popularity, expect to share the trail with hikers, runners, and equestrians. Always exercise respect and ride safely!