Chaffee County Colorado Salida--Lookout Loop 

A popular ride-from-town Salida route, Lookout Loop takes you into the Arkansas Hills east of town.  As you return to town, a traversing section gives you killer views of the whole Upper Arkansas Valley, before the trail drops precipitously into a series of rock gardens and switchbacks.

Trip By Absolute Bikes


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Author: Chaffee County Colorado
Date: 26 Apr 2007 7:05:32 PM
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: Colorado (CO)
Distance: 17.31 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 2519 ft
Total Loss: 2519 ft
Net Change: 0 ft
Difficulty: 6 / 10
Tags: Colorado, loop, Salida
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

A popular ride-from-town Salida route, Lookout Loop takes you into the Arkansas Hills east of town. A solid climb up Ute Trail (well-groomed CR 175) puts you 2000 feet above downtown Salida. Return is via CR 173, an unmaintained fire road that effectively becomes singletrack as the road becomes rougher and the rideable line narrows. As you get closer to town, a traversing section gives you killer views of the whole Upper Arkansas Valley, before the trail drops precipitously into a series of rock gardens and switchbacks.

Trip By

TO TRAILHEAD: This trip begins at Absolute Bikes.

Position Format: Datum:
Tracks

Lookout Loop

Distance: 17.31 mi Points: 176
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest

Ride Begins

Location: 38.538082, -105.992493
Starting at Absolute Bikes, take "I" Street one block and turn right onto Hwy 291 (1st Street), heading North.

Intersection

Location: 38.542942, -106.006233
Turn right onto "Spiral Drive" and cross the river.

Intersection

Location: 38.542118, -106.007698
Turn right onto CR 175.

Intersection

Location: 38.545700, -106.005676
Bear right onto CR 175 (Ute Trail).

Intersection

Location: 38.545452, -106.007462
Turn right just after the bridge, staying on CR 175.

Intersection

Location: 38.545887, -106.001236
Stay on pavement and head uphill.

Intersection

Location: 38.562828, -105.987228
Stay on CR 175 (straight ahead) as it turns to dirt.

Bridge Crossing

Location: 38.581322, -105.973747
After you reach this bridge, you know the toughest part is behind you. Now the road melows out a bit for the rest of the climb.

Intersection

Location: 38.601093, -105.941071
Bear right onto CR 181.

Intersection

Location: 38.599838, -105.941536
Bear right onto CR 181.

Intersection

Location: 38.593430, -105.932053
Turn right onto CR 173. It's mostly downhill from here!

Intersection

Location: 38.582581, -105.940941
Stay left at this intersection. The right hand route is a private driveway.

Intersection

Location: 38.593769, -105.930588
Turn right onto CR 173.

Intersection

Location: 38.581596, -105.939690
Stay left at this intersection. The right hand route is a private driveway.

LookoutLoopPano

Location: 38.557415, -105.966896

Overlook

Location: 38.551918, -105.970009
There is a nice overview of Salida from this point. Also, you may notice an unsigned trail here and there--they are unofficial, but if you find youself on one of these, just keep in mind that if you are heading downhill, you should end up near town.

Mt. Ouray/Smelterstack

Location: 38.552822, -105.971596
This is the Northeast aspect of Mt. Ouray, aligned with the 365 foot tall Smokestack located in Smeltertown.

Tenderfoot Hill and Salida

Location: 38.547581, -105.981911
Tenderfoot Mountain, or "S" Mountain as it is more commonly called, overlooks downtown Salida.

Intersection

Location: 38.546059, -105.984871
There are a lot of braided 4wd tracks in this area; just keep heading downhill on doubletrack and you'll be fine. After some big tire ruts, CR 173 will spit you out onto Spiral Drive (graded dirt) next to a white gate and parking area. Bear right and downhill (away from the gate) on Spiral Drive.

Intersection

Location: 38.544346, -105.988380
Turn right here onto Spiral Drive Road

Tenderfoot Mountain Overview

Location: 38.542374, -105.990143
The Magic Hour. If you time it just right, you might finish your ride with a view similar to this.

Intersection

Location: 38.548340, -105.994232
Stay right at the water tank.

Intersection

Location: 38.548412, -106.001091
Turn left and retrace your route.

Intersection

Location: 38.549484, -105.999481
Take a left when you reach CR 175. You're now back on the route you started on, so just backtrack to your starting point.

Intersection

Location: 38.537941, -105.993942
Turn left onto "I" Street (at gas station) and return to the shop.

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