Colorado boasts a myriad of bike trails, each offering its own unique experience. Among these, nestled in the heart of Pine, is the Strawberry Jack Trail. Spanning 4 miles within the Buffalo Creek network, this intermediate-level trail provides a blend of fascinating terrains and views that will undoubtedly resonate with every avid cyclist.
Strawberry Jack starts its course by connecting Buck Gulch, offering a surface predominantly made of the crushed gravel that Buffalo Creek is known for. The initial stretch, encompassing three miles, elevates riders by about 1000 feet from Buck Gulch right up to the pivotal Skipper/Homestead intersection.This portion, resembling a doubletrack, traverses the Hi Meadow burn area. Cyclists will witness firsthand:
It's worth noting that this section's vast openness offers minimal shade due to the burned trees, making it advisable to be well-prepared for sun exposure.Many choose to ride this section downhill, enjoying its fast flow nature, long sight lines, and occasional switchbacks. Following this, riders are introduced to a narrower stretch, the rolling singletrack that meanders through the Ponderosa forest, leading them from Skipper/Homestead right up to Gashouse/Baldy.The top part, lying between Miller Gulch and Skipper/Homestead, is a cyclist's delight - flat, flowy, and rapid. This is the only section untouched by the fire, providing a contrasting experience. Post the Skipper/Homestead intersection, one can feel the intensity of the descent, with the old doubletrack appearing more like a singletrack. But, like most of Buffalo Creek, the small pebbles offer little assurance during turns.There are features, like a brief climb and a sudden decline on a solid rock, which demand attention. Yet, regardless of the direction chosen for the loop, the trail primarily provides a glimpse into the remnants of the Hi Meadows fire of 2000.
For those eager to embark on this journey, it seamlessly connects to the Buck Gulch trail near the Pine Valley Ranch trailhead for the Buffalo Creek network.
In summary, Strawberry Jack promises an immersive cycling experience, blending nature's raw beauty with the thrill of a well-crafted trail. So, gear up and embrace the journey!