A high-forest ride with lots of singletrack that will challenge even the seasoned athlete. With a ton of steep climbs and some sweet descents, this trail is an all-time Angel Fire epic!
From the Valley Market in the village center in Angel Fire, head west and follow Valle Grande Trail (road) until it turns into Via Del Rey. Take the next left onto Chino Terrace, and then the next two rights on Buena Vista Drive, and Bravos Drive. The next two miles alternate between steady climbing and mellow pedaling. Not too long after you've passed the north end of Via Maria Road, watch for a short steep road grade that is marked Utility Easement. You'll notice some rather large Water Tanks to the right of you (north). Here you'll see a gate to the National Forest.
Locate the "Trail 1" carsonite sign (Elliot Barker
trail). Note that turning to the right would follow the Sage to Elliot Barker Loop
. But for this ride, turn to the left and get ready for some tight and twisty technical singletrack. At the bottom of this short descent, you'll cross over FR70A and continue on the other side marked by another Trail 1 sign.
Up next, you'll be tested by some serious climbing, sometimes steep, but don't worry, the descent is totally worth the effort. Look for the rock cairns (stacked up rocks) along the ride for indications on where to go. GPS works well on this ride as you'll have cell phone service until you get to FR76. You'll climb for quite some time, getting momentary breaks and amazing views of Taos and the Pueblo while poking out of the forest intermittently, exposing New Mexico's gentle rolling mountains.
Where the grade begins to mellow, the trail exits the trees onto another portion of FR70, follow this fainter road-trace left along the treeline for about a third-of-a-mile, then turn right and head through the scattered trees to a choke in a fence. From the fence, look to the left for a rock cairn about 100 yards ahead. Keep working toward the cairn to connect back with Trail 1. The trail heads back into the trees and pops out the other side pretty quickly. Follow this road to the left and then another right through the Meadow at Osha Pass. Look for the next Trail 1 sign on the right.
From here, you'll follow the road until you see another carsonite sign marking Trail 1. The next section is a mix of singletrack and doubletrack. Keep following the rock cairns and stay generally left. You'll finally get to a point on the trail where you'll once again come out onto FR70, stay right for just a bit. The trail is doubletrack for about 0.5 miles until you reach a nearby trail sign that says "Borregos Crossing and TR 153".
At this point, take a left onto the South Boundary Trail #164 and proceed down the doubletrack for approximately 0.5 miles. At the rock cairn, turn right to enjoy a nice section of singletrack that leads down to FR76. For now, that's the end of the singletrack, but there are plans to open an additional section in the future. Turn left on the road and follow it down for a fast descent to the highway far below. At the pavement, turn left and complete a short gradual climb before a final two-mile cruise back into town.