Just outside of the South San Juan Wilderness resides the headwaters of the Chama. It is a sportsmans paradise that sees very few mountain bikers. Its tucked into an isolated valley accessed via Chama, NM -- even though the ride is in Colorado. All that said, this ride quickly rose into our top favorite rides just for the scenery alone, let alone the sweet, LONELY single track. If you're ever in the Chama, NM area, this is one to try out. Fall would be best just because the aspens would be going off, and the stream crossings would be low.
PS: First FROST of the year…. WINTER IS COMING!
2000 ft. gain/loss
10,100 ft. high point
Map at the end.
Other nearby rides:
Chama Redneck Epic
Continental Divide Trail
|Some trail register humor.|
|The trailhead was packed with bow and muzzle-loader hunters|
|Start with a river crossing|
Then the amazing scenery starts and doesn't stop the whole time. Start with a ride along the river valley. This is also the way we came back.
Popping up onto a bench after a heinous hike-a-bike section. the meadows and aspen grooves give non-stop beauty.
Then the amazing cliffs and waterfalls come into view. Its insane.
At this point in the ride, you begin to see the way back down on the other side of the valley
|Did I mention its insanely gorgeous with all the waterfalls?|
Then we headed up the West Fork on a single track that joins an atv track that takes you up into the upper meadows surrounded by a cirque of cliffs and waterfalls.
|A huge landslide.|
The high point is a high meadow surrounded by cliffs.
We randomly ran into another biker from Albuquerque, Brian. He's ridden here a few times before, and pointed us to the way back down to create the loop. Otherwise it would've been an out-n-back for us. Thanks Brian!
You have to head up to and around the huge landslide that took old the old trail.
|Debris and pond created by the landslide.|
|bike carrying up onto the landslide.|
Then its back onto intermittent single track/cattle paths.
Then the established trail finally arrives, and it is smooth sailing all the way back down to the river valley you come up.
Some vandalism humor.
Continue down the Chama river trail passed an old burnt out cabin.
Finally you cross back over the river to rejoin the way you come in on.
The general route:
From the north looking toward out toward the trailhead.