Big thanks to our BIKEmagic members Kim and Craig who sent in these reviews of the trails they’ve been riding while over in Colorado Springs, in the Good ‘Ol US of A. These reviews cover part of the Rampart Range Road and the Rampart Reservoir Road – possibly Jonathan Woss’s worst pronounciation nightmare, but damn good rides by the sound of it.
Over to Kim and Craig;
This review covers only part of the Rampart Range Road. Further reviews will detail the entire length of the road. This review covers approximately the first third.
Rampart Range Road: part 1
Length: 25 miles one way (7/8 miles up and 7/8 miles down)
Duration: 3/4 hrs
Surface: all rough dirt road, some rocky sections and some muddy sections.
Attitude: 1in8 windy switchbacks curve up through the trees, suitable for a low gear long haul. Nothing too strenuous, just long. The stretch I did is doable without stopping. Road is easy to follow. Going downhill can be fast and furious, some longer stretches will have you doing 30mph+. No berms and rocky drop offs mean you need to be careful on the switchback corners. The rockier sections will try to throw you off your bike and sometimes a smooth line is impossible to find. Set your front forks soft to soak up trail chatter, there are few big hits to absorb.
Difficulty: average, the elevation starts at about 6500ft and goes up to 8000-8500ft. Acclimatization is necessary for this trip; breathlessness and fatigue can make for an unhappy climb. The downhill will test the skills of most riders, as the rocky sections are very bumpy. Skimming and a light grip on the bars are essential for comfort. Worth while doing it in stages to keep your arms and shoulders from fatiguing too much.
Keep an eye out for the 4*4s that frequent this road.
Access: from Garden Of The Gods take the Juniper Loop to the first junction, then go right and follow signs. Go up I-24 to Woodland Park and head for Rampart Reservoir.
Route: Starts on Garden Of The Gods road, the turn off is signposted.
Follow main road all the way up, any side-turns are to be avoided.
Map: Colorado Springs and Monument Valley Street Map.
Tough ride, the ascent is long and steady but not too gruelling on this first section. Switchbacked road winds up through some wonderful scenery. Pikes Peak looms ever closer the higher you ride. Great views out to Colorado Springs and the Black Forest. The downhill is rough and bumpy, a challenge to riders of all skill levels. Great fun though. In wet weather the trail can get muddy. In snow the trail is easier as the bumps are less noticeable. Snow makes the descent tricky as you can hit ice and skid.
Overall this trail is not too steep as to put off beginners. Whatever your skill level the workout is immense. Even in sunny weather take extra layers for the downhill, it can get chilly.
Kim’n’Craig rate this trail: 7/10
And for something a little less strenuous?
Rampart Reservoir Trail
Length: 14 mile loop
Duration: 2/3 hrs
Surface: Mostly singletrack, rough gravel with some rockier sections
Attitude: Laid back hills nothing to high or steep, generally fairly level, all within 100ft. More difficult tracks can be taken off the main route. The main trail winds through the forest alongside the reservoir.
Difficulty: Average, the 9000ft elevation means it can be tough but the terrain is not difficult to traverse. Some climbs and downhill but nothing too rough. Each major inlet does have a stream to cross.
Access: from Woodland Park or up Rampart Range Road from Colorado Springs
Route: Starts at Rainbow Gulch Trailhead on Rampart Range Road. Follow track through gate and keep left. Take a left onto Rampart Reservoir Trail 700 and cross the bridge.
Left at next fork. Keep to track reservoir is on left at all times. After second major inlet pass Promontory Campground. Onto roads and then left onto singletrack back to the reservoir shore. Another major inlet left on the road and you will come to the southern edge of the dam. Cross dam and then fork left onto singletrack to the reservoir shore. Six major inlets mean this section of the trail is longer than it seems. Follow track again and then turn right at Rainbow Gulch. Back to trailhead.
Map: Pike National Forest, USG Cascade
Wonderful ride, the singletrack is twisty and full of hairpin bends and tougher rocky sections. Although the reservoir looks small the deep inlets mean a winding course is taken. Views across the reservoir are splendid but the views from the dam, down to Colorado Springs or over to Pike’s Peak are magnificent. In snowy conditions the north facing slopes can be sticky and slow going so this trail is best done after the snows melt. Overall this trail is not too difficult, beginners would enjoy the challenge, and more experienced riders would enjoy the workout,
Kim’n’Craig rate this trail: 8/10