Elk Park Trail, although surprisingly underrepresented in popular biking platforms, is a treasure tucked away in the sprawling terrains of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs. This 11-mile point-to-point route offers an exhilarating downhill experience starting at nearly 12,000 ft elevation, winding down to 10,200 ft where it links up with the renowned Barr Trail. A formidable course for the adventure-hungry cyclist, it promises over 5,000 ft of descent filled with thrills, challenges, and views that will make you stop in awe.
Location: Just outside the Pikes Peak Toll Road gate, Colorado Springs, Colorado.Parking: Available right outside the gate.Transport: Shuttle services can carry you and your bike up the road for a $10 per person fee.Trailhead: Located 0.5 miles past Glen Cove, the only trailhead is easily accessible from a parking area on the left.
The trail is not for the faint of heart or for beginners. Even seasoned riders will find themselves engaging every muscle during the rocky and technical sections. The trail has been described as "doable on a hardtail," but a full-suspension bike is highly recommended for a more comfortable and controlled ride.
Starting above the tree line, riders will pass through a scenic route dominated by a variety of conifers, including spruce, limber pine, bristlecone pine, and aspen, as they lose elevation. The trail is generally free of dust and offers a grippy surface, especially during the spring.
Upon reaching the Barr Trail intersection, riders should be prepared for increased foot traffic. Despite this, the trail continues to offer fast single tracks, jumps, and drops, presenting a thrilling descent to the finish line.
For those in search of adrenaline-pumping challenges coupled with awe-inspiring scenery, Elk Park Trail awaits. Don't let this hidden gem slip off your radar; it's a ride that offers something for every avid mountain biker.