Gain some altitude fast and enjoy a big mountain ride close to town. It's in and out of drainages with rocks, roots, healthy climbs, and swooping fun bits.
It is not common to ride the entire trail between Highway 285 and Bear Creek (County Road 101) all at once. The more mountain bike friendly section is between County Road 108 and Bear Creek (County Road 101).
The most common way to approach this trail is by riding east from Salida on Highway 50 and turn right (south) onto County Road 101. This is referred to as Bear Creek. Put it in a low gear and spin up the steep 2 track road to the Bear Creek trailhead.
Head west on singletrack towards County Road 108 (Methodist Mountain Trailhead) and Highway 285. You'll pass the Columbine
trail that heads downhill and back to the parking lot by the cattle guard you passed on your climb up to the trailhead. Once you hit County Road 108, you can head down it back to town or to the Little Rainbow
for more riding.
Some riders will continue towards Highway 285 and down the Sand Gulch 2 track to Double Rainbow
. Very few sane riders would continue west until they hit Highway 285. West of County Road 108 there are many steep ups and downs that are often torn up by motorcycle use. The grades get steeper and you may find you do more hiking than biking.
It is possible to start at the Highway 285 trailhead and ride eastward. The climb up Poncha Mountain is brutal and filled with technical climbing. Make sure you bring plenty of food and water.