Touted as a trail that builds character more than anything else, Ute Pass Trail is a stern lecture on steepness and loose gravel. While it might not be the first choice for those seeking Colorado's iconic scenic vistas, this trail teaches invaluable lessons on grit and stamina.
To hit the trail, head to the base of the Manitou Incline at the west end of Manitou Springs. Once you reach the roundabout on Manitou Avenue, take a left turn onto Ruxton Avenue. Two parking options are available: the Incline Parking and the Barr Trail parking lot. If you opt for the latter, start by going down/east to the Incline start. The Ute Pass Trail veers to the right as the incline begins its ascent.
As you pedal on, you'll be greeted with a steep and gravel-laden ride that keeps even the experienced riders on their toes:
For those considering this adventure, some preparation and tips might be in order:
The consensus among riders is straightforward: Ute Pass Trail is not for the easy-goers. Reviews mention that the trail has "lots of loose gravel on a steep grade without much of a payoff." Still, those looking for a challenge deem it a good choice for "a long day of character-building" on the broader network of trails near Pikes Peak.
Is Ute Pass Trail a crowd-pleaser? Definitely not. Is it a trail that will test your mettle and leave you with a sense of accomplishment? Absolutely. While it may not offer the most picturesque moments Colorado Springs has to offer, the trail serves as a rite of passage for those looking to master steep, gritty terrains. It's a path that's better suited for riders who enjoy confronting and overcoming obstacles—both literal and metaphorical.