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Colorado Riding in Taylor Park, CO

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I am planning a trip in August with a few mates - Cabin/ride in Taylor Park.

We are all around 50yo. Riding CRF230's and CRF250's. I'm an intermediate rider, but the guys I'm hosting are Harley road-riders and this is their first off road adventure.

I'd like to make sure my buddies are safe - I hear Taylor Park has lots of ATV trails so will be good for beginner. 

Anyone been and any experiences to share..?

Looking for some ideas on trails where to go, what to avoid etc, especially for my buddies. I hear trails can be easy and also nasty..

I also hear this is a spectacular part of the country... 

Any advice will be really appreciated.

Thanks

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Star (#411),Waterfall (#555)  and the back half of Doctor Park (Trail #424) all have some pretty tech sections to them but I have only been riding a dirt bike since last October and did them riding solo the past couple of weekends. So it probably depends on how much they are willing to try things not in their comfort zone.  Timberline (#414) is also supposed to have some tech to it particularly West to East but I haven't tried it yet as it still had snow last weekend.

 

Reno/Deadmans area has easier trails but they are still single track and have some narrow sidehills (but they are smooth). Double track like Italian Creek up to American Flag is spectacular and should be fun times. From Taylor Res you can get back nicely by taking FR748 to Spring Creek Res and then taking #744 ti #759,1E to #642 and loop back to Taylor Res via 759. You can see the loops with the latest MVUM. (http://staythetrail.org/index.php?option=com_dropfiles&task=frontfile.download&&id=79&catid=55). Side trip up 758.2E to the summit of American Flag.

 

Maybe start with the double track taking in American Flag and then depending on how people are feeling try the single track around Deadmans/Bear Creek/Reno Ridge. Start either from the Spring Creek is probably the easiest. (#744.2C to either #428(rosebud), 553, 607, 759.1E, 422, 415 back out 744.2C or something along those lines.

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Star (#411),Waterfall (#555)  and the back half of Doctor Park (Trail #424) all have some pretty tech sections to them but I have only been riding a dirt bike since last October and did them riding solo the past couple of weekends. So it probably depends on how much they are willing to try things not in their comfort zone.  Timberline (#414) is also supposed to have some tech to it particularly West to East but I haven't tried it yet as it still had snow last weekend.

 

Reno/Deadmans area has easier trails but they are still single track and have some narrow sidehills (but they are smooth). Double track like Italian Creek up to American Flag is spectacular and should be fun times. From Taylor Res you can get back nicely by taking FR748 to Spring Creek Res and then taking #744 ti #759,1E to #642 and loop back to Taylor Res via 759. You can see the loops with the latest MVUM. (http://staythetrail.org/index.php?option=com_dropfiles&task=frontfile.download&&id=79&catid=55). Side trip up 758.2E to the summit of American Flag.

 

Maybe start with the double track taking in American Flag and then depending on how people are feeling try the single track around Deadmans/Bear Creek/Reno Ridge. Start either from the Spring Creek is probably the easiest. (#744.2C to either #428(rosebud), 553, 607, 759.1E, 422, 415 back out 744.2C or something along those lines.

Thanks Sean - this is awesome information..!

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I am 53 and have been out riding there since 1998 and have taken new riders there several times.  I have ridden every trail in the place numerous times.  I don't know how old ZZSEAN is but he is from Colorado and probably is somewhat acclimated to the altitude.  Taylor reservoir is at 9500 feet so they already will probably be a little short on breath.  And you will be riding UP from there.  If they make it through the first year, then you can up the degree of difficulty for next year.

 

For 50 yr old beginners, stay off all the singletrack.    It is really easy to ride down into an area, get in WAY over your head, and then not be able to get back out.  Many of the singletrack trails are long and you need to make good time on them to get through them.  I know some intermediate riders who spent the night out on star trail last year because they were in the middle when the sun went down.

 

There are plenty of Jeep roads all around there that will be challenging enough for them.  A 50yr old harley rider on his first dirt bike ride will have a tough time with Tincup pass at 12,000 feet.

 

Ride the forest service roads and enjoy the scenery.  Try a couple of the jeep roads over passes for a challenge.

 

For starters, you need to tell them to be riding STANDING UP.  For street riders, that is really going to be a change.  Many will not ever really be able to do that especially not for very long at this altitude.

 

Here are some places you can ride and all make it back in one piece.  Get a Latitude 40 map and maybe some NatGeo Trails Illustrated maps so you can see where all these are at.

  • Up "above" the Trading Post, there are dirt roads and snowmobile trails that go everywhere.  Easy and fun to ride, helps them get a little acclimated.
  • Ride over Cumberland Pass stopping in Tincup along the way, and then down into Pitkin and have lunch.  From there, you can ride over Black Sage Pass down into Sargents. Or you can ride up to the Alpine Tunnel (old train tunnel).
  • Ride up Texas Creek to the end where the singletrack starts.
  • Ride up Telarium Creek (this one is going to be tougher with loose rocks).
  • Ride up Italian Creeek to Americal Flag Mountain (this one will be tough near the top with loose rocks)
  • Ride up towards Tincup Pass, take the ATV trail to the left near the end of the dirt road.  That 2-track should be pretty easy for them.  About half way over towrards Cottenwood Pass the 2-track willturn into singletrack.  If you go that far, turn back.  Shortly before you get to that singletrack, there will be a 2-track trail going "west" down towards Taylor.  Take that, it will be a nice long fun easy downhill.
  • Ride over Tincup Pass down into St Elmo, stop there and check out the Ghost Town.  Depending on time, from there you can ride up to Hancock town-site.  Then maybe up over Hancock Pass, down past the Alpine Tunnel and then down into Pitkin.
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Yeah I am 49 and having been riding mountain bikes in the colorado mountains for the past 10 years so I am pretty used to the altitude here.

 

American Flagg is probably the high point they were get to at around 12,700". Most of the trails you end up riding are between 9.5K and 11K so altitude is definitely a consideration if you are not used to it.

 

 

I am 53 and have been out riding there since 1998 and have taken new riders there several times.  I have ridden every trail in the place numerous times.  I don't know how old ZZSEAN is but he is from Colorado and probably is somewhat acclimated to the altitude.  Taylor reservoir is at 9500 feet so they already will probably be a little short on breath.  And you will be riding UP from there.  If they make it through the first year, then you can up the degree of difficulty for next year.

 

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Here are some places you can ride and all make it back in one piece.

HI Scott - thank you VERY much for this valuable feedback - really appreciate it !

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Don't take beginners down "Star"... Unless you plan on being there all dam day with a bunch of frustrated guys.

Everything Scott said...but agin don't take them down or up Star trail. Timberline isn't bad but it is Rocky and will beat you up, if you into that cool. I like Scott's advise for you.

Edited by obgod3
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Star (#411),Waterfall (#555)  and the back half of Doctor Park (Trail #424) all have some pretty tech sections to them but I have only been riding a dirt bike since last October and did them riding solo the past couple of weekends. So it probably depends on how much they are willing to try things not in their comfort zone.  Timberline (#414) is also supposed to have some tech to it particularly West to East but I haven't tried it yet as it still had snow last weekend.

 

 

Timberline from Pie Plant to Texas Creek is NOT for beginners, that would kill them. I'm with ob in Star, they'd be dead by the time they got through. 

 

Scott's advice is excellent.

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uh...avoid Timberline, Star and Waterfall...Flag, Reno, Deadmans, Bear Creek are single track  they may be able to handle. Buy a map.

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 If people are liking the single track and everybody is riding good Lily Pond might be fun. It is short, close and challenging but not super hard. If not, scenic jeep roads are everywhere!!! Get the Latitude 40 map-The aspen/crested butte and Taylor park both cover the area. They have them at the Taylor Park trading post. We had rain or snow ~25 days in May so bring bug spray if you plan on taking many breaks.

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When those riders twist the throttle, they are going to feel the strange sensation of acceleration. They probably aren't used to that on Harleys. Also, the brakes are going to feel very responsive, and the bikes will run all day without leaking oil or breaking down. 

Sorry, those stereotypes aren't as true these days as they used to be. I still crack myself up.

 

I would be tempted to meet you guys there and ride.

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They probably aren't used to that on Harleys.

 

But if you trailer the bikes out there, they will be used to seeing motorcycles on trailers so they will feel right at home....

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I can reiterate don't take them on Star Trail (but if you think you must ride it take it downhill from Italian Creek Pass) or any of the single track.  Scott has great advice and I will add that on the ATV link he provided that Taylor Pass can be damn difficult through the river section.  I first rode that bitch in 1976 at the age of 14 on a '74 DT175.  All the guys we rode with thought it was the hardest thing ever...until we tried to ride the north side of Pearl Pass  (think a massive 4" of twin shock suspension, license plate and blinkers on those DT Yamahas...and a metal tank that would dent if you even thought about dropping it on rocky terrain).  The top of Taylor used to have a steep, rocky straight up the side ascent where if you made it that far, then you had to cross the cornice that remained until late August usually while you and a whole team of guys would drag your bike uphill through the slush.   Now when I hit Taylor, the top feels like a giant WalMart parking lot with an easy around the cirque sort of approach to the top from the Taylor Park side.

 

To the original poster, you may already know this, but if you are not plated, you don't have the free run of Taylor Park anymore.  From where the Cottonwood Pass road joins to the road coming up from Taylor Canyon around Taylor Reservoir and south does not allow OHV's...which means any motorcycle not plated can be ticketed for riding these roads with only an OHV sticker.  I can remember riding from St Elmo, over Tincup and all the way across Taylor Park to Taylor Pass and into Ashcroft/Aspen and seeing not one house at the reservoir and Tincup was really a ghost town.  Certainly no BS enforcement of this portion of the forest service road is county maintained and off limits...But with the internet and the huge rise in the popularity of Taylor, I guess it was bound to happen.

 

P.S.....and you kids get off my damn lawn!

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The police have been pretty good about riding into Aspen for gas. We'll have a plated bike running sweep and a responsible rider leading so nobody does anything to get undue attention.

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We took a first time rider female down most of the atv trails last year on a xr200. She had literally just learned to ride a clutch. Granted she's 30 but she made it up Napoleon, American flag, short section of timberline from pie plant to I believe lily pond rd? Can't remember fire road numbers. Slaughterhouse gulch to the tincup cemetery would be good for starters then maybe fire road to pitkin. This will be my first year on a bike out there as well. Should be interesting. We will be there the first week in August so maybe see you there?

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Also I think you can single track it the whole way but I don't know the difficulty as I've always trailered quads to it but I didn't think Devils punch bowl was overly difficult. 1 nasty section that if you take your time shouldn't be to bad right next to the falls. I'd prob advise trailering from Taylor park over there since the punch bowl alone can be a pretty full days ride. We ride it all the way to the lake at the bottom. Again not super familiar with the roads and what not I just go off of landmarks and trails I remember lol.

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We will be there the first week in August so maybe see you there?

we are there 16th to 18th August

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To the original poster, you may already know this, but if you are not plated, you don't have the free run of Taylor Park anymore.  From where the Cottonwood Pass road joins to the road coming up from Taylor Canyon around Taylor Reservoir and south does not allow OHV's...which means any motorcycle not plated can be ticketed for riding these roads with only an OHV sticker.  I can remember riding from St Elmo, over Tincup and all the way across Taylor Park to Taylor Pass and into Ashcroft/Aspen and seeing not one house at the reservoir and Tincup was really a ghost town.  Certainly no BS enforcement of this portion of the forest service road is county maintained and off limits...But with the internet and the huge rise in the popularity of Taylor, I guess it was bound to happen.

oh sh*t. I didnt know that. My bike is not plated and the rented bikes are not plated either. The purpose of going to TP (besides the beauty of it) was I heard you didnt need plates. I didnt want to keep loading the bikes up each morning and ride to the trail head. We are staying at the TP Cabins and they said we could ride from the cabin. How will I know which roads allow OHV's..? Are there signs for this? This really messes things up for us.

BTW - thanks for the heads up anyway...

 

EDIT - I called the folks at the TP cabins. They say bikes don't need plates as long as you stick to dirt and avoid the paved roads. 

Edit - I also looked at Google Maps and see there is a paved road "742" around the reservoir, but there is also a trail alongside that.

Edited by TukTuk

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That advise on plates is not entirely true. Cotton wood pass requires plates and is dirt. You can ride from the trading post to trails, you just have to stay off the road. There is an atv trail for that purpose.

Slaughter gulch to tin cup is a good place to start. The pass above tin cup is a challenge for being a road. Also realize that it's 15 miles from the trading post to Lilly pond and longer to get to bear, flag and dead man. Those are the easiest single track and are usually ridden by mtn bikes from cb. There is lots of stuff that will hurt you if your not careful. We had a broken wrist on Italian creek road. While a road it's quite rocky.

We may have a group up there the 15-16, but not sure if we will ride tp or somewhere else.

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