Nestled in Canon City, Colorado, the Hogbacks Area has recently been transformed from a jumble of old social trails into a labyrinth of well-designed, bench-cut singletracks. Covering a distance of about 5 miles and rated as difficult, this trail system offers something for everyone—from beginners to expert-level riders. The city has pitched in with new parking lots, and more trailhead facilities are under construction, signaling greater things to come.
The trail system is accessible from the west side of Canon City. Do not attempt to drive over Skyline Drive to reach the trailhead. Instead, loop around the prison and then head north on 5th Street.
The trail that serves as the backbone of this system is the Lower Bench Cut—a well-crafted, rolling trail that connects end-to-end across the area. Numerous other trails spur off from it, catering to a range of skill levels.
For the more adventurous, the partially completed Upper Bench Cut trail is accessible via a steep doubletrack that cuts through the Lower Bench Cut. Boasting technical rock gardens and features, the descent on Upper Bench Cut is short but incredibly sweet.
A word of caution: Dakota Ridge is a black diamond trail teeming with rocky, chunky terrain. The trail features steep exposures, rocks, and cacti, making for an exciting yet risky experience. A hike-a-bike section adds an adventurous element to the route.
The Hogbacks Area may not yet be expansive, but what it lacks in mileage, it makes up for in quality. The recent influx of well-designed, techy trails indicates that this local's favorite has broader potential. Whether you're looking to practice your technical skills or take a quick, challenging loop near town, Hogbacks Area won't disappoint. Future developments promise to make this spot even more appealing, perhaps even worthy of a full-day adventure.