Mountain Bike Trail of the Week – Grand County
August 27, 2008
Activity – Bike
Level of Difficulty -4 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)
Round-trip Mileage – 9.28 miles
Round-trip Biking Time – 2 _ hours
Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 8861′, 39°55’08″N, 105°49’59″W
Altitude, GPS Reading at High Point (Zoom/FDR 159 Intersection) – 9536′, 39°54’27″N, 105°51’06″W
Trail Fee Required – No
Dogs are permitted without leash
Trailhead Location – On US Hwy 40, in the town of Fraser at the Fraser Valley Shopping Center, turn south onto CR 72 for .3 miles. At the fork, CR 721 is to the right and CR 72 continues left. Stay left on CR 72 (which turns into FDR 158) for 2.0 miles to (P) Parking on the left.
Trail Description – Head south-west on FDR 158 and ascend on the steady moderately steep road. Pass the fork on the left for Elk Meadow trail and remain on FDR 158. Climb through a large aspen stand with views to the south-east (left) of the Winter Park Resort and Parry and James Peaks. At the fork and trail marker, Sunken Bridge trail (FDR 886.2) is on the right and FDR 158 continues straight. Turn right onto the double track trail through the woods. At the fork, bear left into the meadow where there is a large beaver pond on the left. Upstream of the beaver pond is a boardwalk. Cross the boardwalk over West Elk Creek and climb steeply through the forest to FDR 159 (Leland Creek Road/Aqueduct Road). Across FDR 159 are two trails, the one on the right is Upper Elk trail. Turn right onto FDR 159 and climb moderately along the road. At the top of the hill is a buck and rail fence on the right and Zoom trail. Continue straight on FDR 159 and descend the long hill. Pass both FDR 163 (King Creek Road) on the left and FDR 162 (Fool Creek Road), also on the left. After the aspen stands and marshes, pass a fork for Flume trail on the right. Remain straight and cross over St. Louis Creek to a fork and trail marker on the right. FDR 159 continues straight to FDR 160 and Creekside trail is on the right. Turn onto Creekside trail (single track) and descend gently through the woods. Parallel St. Louis Creek and the beaver ponds downstream. The trail surface is frequently scattered with river rock which makes the ride challenging. Descend through several short steep dips to a small sage meadow. In the meadow is a bridge and fork. Left leads to FDR 160 and right continues on Creekside trail. Bear right and cross several small bridges that lead back into the woods. Cross over a small ditch and parallel the creek and willows. At the fork, both left and right lead to St. Louis Creek Campground and left continues on the main Creekside trail. Bear right on the lower Creekside trail that continues to run beside the creek. Pass the campground and continue to follow the creek downstream. Several side trails fork to the left, but follow the trail to Chainsaw trail. Cross the bridge over St. Louis Creek and climb the very steep hill to the fork and trail marker. Flume trail is on the right and Chainsaw trail continues straight. Ascend on Chainsaw trail for a short distance and then descend to a pond, which is on the right. Circle the pond and climb to another pond, which sits in the middle of an aspen stand. Climb steeply to the turnpike and descend to the fork and trail marker. At the fork, Zoom trail is on the right and Chainsaw trail continues straight. Follow Chainsaw trail and descend back to the parking area.
More trails and information are available in “Hiking Grand County, Colorado” and “Winter Park and Fraser, Colorado Mountain Bike Map”. The book and map are available locally in many retail outlets, gift shops, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops or visit our website at http://backcountrybound.home.mindspring.com/. This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance (www.headwaterstrails.com) and Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, who work to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.