Sunken Bridge and Zoom trail guide
Often times the hardest thing to do for my ride is to decide where to go. There are just so many options. I’m lucky that my house is next to a trail head. In less than a minute I can be on singletrack. Ironically this doesn’t make the trail of the day choice any easier. Earlier this week my trail choice was made easy as a couple of friends where riding the Epic Singletrack Course for July 30. This is one of the harder cross country race courses (the beginners do a shorter course) and at the same time it offers a great variety of trails. Long climbs, fast descents, amazing views and a variety of terrain make it one that I really enjoy. I didn’t ride whole course and you don’t have to in order to have a great ride.
We met in downtown Winter Park at Beavers Sports Shop. As with almost all of the rides here there is no reason to drive to begin the ride. Our warm up was down the bike path to Fraser. A left turn at the light by Safeway had us rolling up the Elk Creek Road. We rolled up the Elk Creek Road until we turned on our first trail Sunken Bridge.
Sunken Bridge starts out as a easy forest road. It’s a comfortable pedal to a beautiful meadow and wetland that is a favorite hang out for moose. To the east you have an amazing view of the Continental Divide. You cross over a bridge that spans some beaver ponds (the old bridge was under water hence the trail’s name.) The climb steepens as the road becomes a bit rougher. Soon you top out and take a left on USFS 159. This smooth gravel road will take you to your main climb of the day, Upper Elk Creek aka the “Hump” which is your next right. Don’t let the easy grade at the bottom fool you. This climb continues to get harder as you go up. . As you start to increase grade look for the Upper Elk Creek trail sign on your right. Turn right and climb, then climb some more. The climb will “T” into an old logging road. Turn right and you roll slightly downhill then up. This is now the Hump. Your hard work is now rewarded. You will descend for as long as you have been climbing. Sweet singletrack, switchbacks and swooping turns will have you smiling as well as paying attention. Soon the trail turns into a forest road. Pay attention as this seemingly easy road can take you out with the loose rock. Your next intersection is USFS 159 and directly across the top of Sunken Bridge. Turn Left on the gravel road, ride to the top and look for Zoom on your right.
Zoom is appropriately named. It’s a bit technical due to erosion but still fun and moderately fast (proposed trail changes replace this trail with a fun singletrack). Roots abound as you travel through the pines and aspens. Watch for ruts from water throughout the trail. Zoom will merge with Chainsaw, continue straight ahead and down.
At this point you are back onto the Elk Creek Road which is the road you rode in on from Fraser. This is a great jumping out point as the downhill cruise will take you back to where you began. You can continue if the legs are up to it. I would suggest looking up rest of the route on the http://www.epicsingletrack.com website as they will have a turn by turn description complete with the route profile.
As many are aware you often come across trees that have fallen across the trail. Due the huge trail system here, it is nearly impossible to keep them all clear. If you do come across a downed tree email Headwaters Trails Alliance at email@example.com.
Beavers Sports Shop does a weekly group mountain bike ride every Friday at 6 p.m. from Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western Hotel in downtown Winter Park. The ride is open to anyone of intermediate ability and above. The pace and type of trails are determined by the group. Come join us! Call 970-726-5988 for more info.
Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber! Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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ESPN’s Winter X Games is back in Aspen this week for the 20th straight year, although it’ll lack most of the usual flair. Out of precaution to safeguard against further spread of COVID-19, there won’t be any fans, any music and, well, really anything outside of the main competitions.