Nestled amidst the unique landscapes of Canon City, Colorado, Oil Well Flats offers more than 15 miles of meticulously designed singletrack trails. Initially built around old 4x4 and doubletrack roads, this evolving trail system is a burgeoning paradise for cyclists of the intermediate level. While primarily angled towards cross-country riding, these trails don't skimp on technical challenges or natural beauty.
Oil Well Flats is accessible via County Road 9, which can be easily located using Google Maps. Once there, starting at the Tectonic Shift Trailhead (THD) provides a fulfilling cycling experience.
The trails are generally intermediate, with features like rock gardens and steep sections requiring some technical skill. If you happen to ride Island in the Sky in the reverse direction, be prepared for a rough climb, lacking flow but rewarding you with spectacular views. The entire trail network is cleverly designed to offer something for everyone—whether you're looking to develop your skills or just enjoy a ride in a scenic setting.The trail system is quite dry due to Canon City’s unique climate, making it an excellent riding option during the winter months. However, be warned, the trail can get dusty, affecting the riding experience. A minor suspension would be a good addition for tackling the rocky terrains.
While local residents in Canon City may find Oil Well Flats to be their daily riding sanctuary, those residing in the Front Range region of Colorado could use this as an alternative when the snow starts to pile up. For visitors driving from places like Denver, the trip may not offer the same value as the more renowned trails in Buffalo Creek or Fruita, primarily due to the absence of long, steep climbs and fast, flowing descents.
Oil Well Flats is unquestionably a flourishing hub for cyclists, with well-thought-out trails that serve both the adrenaline junkie and the nature lover. Kudos to the local trail builders and the Lower Arkansas Mountain Biking Association (LAMBA) for their superb work. While it might not be an epic cycling destination, it is definitely a locale with lots of potential and a perfect spot for after-work rides. So saddle up and head down to Oil Well Flats for a uniquely Colorado cycling experience.