Chaffee County Colorado Marshall Pass--Colorado/Silvercreek/Rainbow Trail Loop 

This ride is a great sampling of what the Marshall Pass area has to offer, with a long moderate climb followed by miles of singletrack descending, and should appeal to riders who like to 'earn their turns'!

Trip by Absolute Bikes.


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Author: Chaffee County Colorado
Date: 7 May 2007 6:43:38 PM
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: Colorado (CO)
Distance: 33.37 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 31254 ft
Total Loss: 31217 ft
Net Change: 37 ft
Difficulty: 7 / 10
Tags: Colorado, Villa Grove
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

The area to the east of Marshall Pass boasts a number of outstanding singletrack trails. The great riding here is often overshadowed by the fame of the Monarch Crest Trail, but one thing sets this area apart--Loops, without the need for a shuttle vehicle. This ride is a great sampling of what the Marshall Pass area has to offer, with a long moderate climb followed by miles of singletrack descending, and should appeal to riders who like to 'earn their turns'!

Here's a movie from the Rainbow Trail section of this ride.

Trip by .

TO TRAILHEAD: This ride starts at the intersection of Rainbow Trail and Hwy 285.  Take Hwy 285 south from Poncha Springs approximately 5.5 miles to Mears Junction (intersection of Hwy 285 and Marshall Pass Road) ; the Rainbow Trail crosses 285 about 1/4 mile farther along the highway.  There is a wide should on either side of the highway suitable for parking.

Position Format: Datum:
Tracks

Track 0

Distance: 33.37 mi Points: 727
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
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Track 1

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Track 3

Distance: 0.00 mi Points: 2
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Track 4

Distance: 0.00 mi Points: 2
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Track 6

Distance: 0.00 mi Points: 2
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Points of Interest

Intersection/Trailhead

Location: 38.365410, -106.174850

Ride Begins

Location: 38.444691, -106.105225
There is a wide gravel shoulder suitable for parking on either side of Hwy 285 where the Rainbow Trail crosses. Head downhill on the highway a short distance to CR 200--be careful of highway traffic!

Intersection

Location: 38.448200, -106.106781
Turn left onto CR 200, Marshall Pass Road.

Intersection--Interpretive Signage

Location: 38.421806, -106.128960
Stay left at this intersection. The town of Shirley was a railway loading station for ore carried on a seven mile tramway over the mountain from the town of Bonanza. It once had 5,000 inhabitants, about the same as present day Salida.

Intersection

Location: 38.419445, -106.129745
Turn right when you reach the Shirley Site Parking area. There is a restroom here.

Intersection

Location: 38.415672, -106.138092
Stay right after crossing the bridge.

Intersection

Location: 38.422737, -106.141304
Continue straight on CR 200.

Restroom

Location: 38.395077, -106.247452

Intersection

Location: 38.392410, -106.247192
Bear left onto the doubletrack. Marshall Pass Road (graded) veers right and tops out at its highest point in a few feet (with a pretty cool view, probably worth a short detour!).

Intersection

Location: 38.392746, -106.246933
Bear left onto the doubletrack. Marshall Pass Road (graded) veers right and tops out at its highest point in a few feet (with a pretty cool view, probably worth a short detour!).

Intersection

Location: 38.391609, -106.246307
This one is a bit confusing. Hard left is Poncha Creek Road. Hard right is a faint 4wd track that meets back up with Marshall Pass Road. Roughly straight ahead is a false 4wd track to a campsite. Slightly right of that is the road that leads to the Colorado Trail. Go that way!

Intersection

Location: 38.390701, -106.246544
Turn onto the Colorado Trail at this marker. Note: This section of trail is non-motorized.

Antora Peak

Location: 38.376026, -106.238136
Looking south from the Colorado Trail towards Porphyry Peak (11,584'), Sheep Mountain (12,574'), and Antora Peak (13,269').

Intersection

Location: 38.366325, -106.238068
The singletrack merges with a doubletrack and climbs sharply.

Intersection

Location: 38.352795, -106.242691
Silvercreek Trailhead. Turn left onto the singletrack. Do not continue on the Colorado Trail to Saguache! Note: This section of trail is non-motorized.

Intersection

Location: 38.352661, -106.241898
Silvercreek Trailhead. Turn left onto the singletrack. Do not continue on the Colorado Trail to Saguache! Note: This section of trail is non-motorized.

Singletrack and Aspens

Location: 38.360054, -106.218536

View

Location: 38.359459, -106.200974
The view back up the drainage.

View

Location: 38.361507, -106.192528
Another shot back up the drainage.

Sudden Drop

Location: 38.361900, -106.185005
Keep your eyes peeled for this sudden two-footer. Sometimes it has a cheater ramp on it, sometimes not. It marks the beginning of a more technical scree section.

Intersection

Location: 38.363503, -106.176788
After fording the creek, you arrive at the top of Silvercreek Road (FR 2012) and the bottom of Toll Gulch Road (FR 869). Proceed left and down Silvercreek Road.

Intersection

Location: 38.363720, -106.176926
After fording the creek, you arrive at the top of Silvercreek Road (FR 2012) and the bottom of Toll Gulch Road (FR 869). Proceed left and down Silvercreek Road.

Intersection/Trailhead

Location: 38.364925, -106.174797
Turn right onto the fun and strenuous Rainbow Trail--it's 10 miles and 1500 rolling feet of climbing to Hwy 285. If you're feeling worked, you might opt bail out on Silvercreek Road back to the Shirley Site.


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