Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coyote Ridge, Fort Collins (Loveland), Colorado

Getting There
Courtesy of the Singletracks.com listing:
From Fort Collins, get onto Taft Hill Rd heading south towards Loveland, once you pass the land fill on your right go another 1.5/2 miles till you see the parking lot on the right hand side. From Loveland, get onto Taft Hill Rd heading North, if you pass the Fort Collins land fill you have gone to far, turn around and follow the directions above.
Hogback Singletrack
The Route
The "Coyote Ridge Trail" is technically about a 7 mile out-and-back (3.5ish each way). However, this trail connects to a massive trail system spanning all the way from the trailhead described in the "Getting There" section of the Devil's Backbone listing, all the way up past Coyote Ridge to the Horsetooth Reservoir and Lory State Park.  I estimate that there as about 40-50+ miles of trails out there, if only ridden in one direction. If you are a local and have more detailed information about lengths and the other trails in the area, please leave a comment below!

All About the Trail
Don't let the first couple miles of gravel doubletrack fool you! It is just the approach from the parking lot to base of the hogback.  And once you reach it, be prepared to grunt a little! The trail then climbs continuously to the top of the ridge for over a mile on what is now rockier, yet still pretty wide, singletrack.

View of the Plains
Upon reaching the top of the ridge, you are greeted both with the satisfaction of a climb well done (or the disappoint of being out of shape and having to push), and incredible views of the surrounding area! The Coyote Ridge Trail then narrows even more and travels along the ridge line, dishing up some deliciously technical singletrack!  I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the trail because of the gorgeous views of the mountains, and it almost cost me once or twice!

After running along the ridge, the trail drops steeply into the valley on the other side. And when I mean steep, I mean hike-a-bike steep!  Part of the hike-a-bike consists of rocky ledges, but the majority consists of man-made steps leading down the steep hillside. Following the hike-a-bike are several well-built switchbacks, and a short, swoopy descent into the bottom of the valley.

Beginning to climb
As I mentioned in the "The Route" section, this trail continues on to connect with the main trail system in the area.  But as I reached the bottom of the valley, rain clouds that I had been watching blow my way down from the mountains to the north finally reached me, so I decided to turn and head for home.

The return ride was even more fantastic than the one going out, as I now had the long initial climb set up as a descent.  Dang, I love Colorado!  In my book, the epitome of the mountain bike experience is railing downhill at high speeds.  And Coyote Ridge dishes up plenty of that!

Bottom Line
Despite a lame gravel spin approach, there are great views, technical singletrack, and a sweet downhill which combine to make yet another amazing Colorado trail to ride!


Coyote Ridge, Loveland, Colorado from Greg Heil on Vimeo.



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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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