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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chama Headwaters Singletrack

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!

16 miles
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 End.

The general route:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Jemez Mountain Biking: Seven Springs to San Pedro Parks Loop

44 mile loop
5400ft gain/loss
Day ride, with lots of bike packing potential.

Map at the end.

This is another great ride that will be missed by Tour Divide riders, but that the Tour Divide route cuts through.  Awesome terrain, and, as usual in the Jemez, we were all alone the entire ride!!!

Cebolla Creek Trail is a mellow and scenic start to the loop.

We love Cebolla Creek trail.  It has become a Jemez favorite.  It starts at Seven Spring fish Hachery, which is conveniently located at the end of the pavement.  It goes deep into roadless areas.
Cebolla Creek trail

A good portion of Cebolla Creek is just a hard-to-follow cattle track.

The upper canyon is long, green, and reminiscent of a Hobbit land.

Then we got onto some single and double track near FR 314j

Once up and out of Cebolla creek, there are a few options, one of which is a single track connector between FR 527 and FR314j (both of which are hardly even atv tracks themselves).

Then it was up to the edge of the only wilderness in the Jemez Mountains, San Pedro Parks.  This is where our loop crosses the Tour Divide route on FR 301 and 103.  We took a two-track that becomes a single-track, and then an old logging road thats covered in strawberry plants.

This is Sarah just moments before a HUGE black bear eyeballed us from less than 100yards… but then ran away.

The track up near San Pedro Parks nearly disappears and is hard to follow, but had some use by atvs this year.  This is a lonely part of the Jemez.  Found here.

Rito Café (yes that's its real name), called that probably because of the brown, tannin filled water.

Strawberry covered logging road, looking out onto the ridge we went up on.

No Southwest Backcountry biking adventure would be complete without some bushwhacking of course.

Onto the 18 miles of gravel/dirt road to finish the loop.

Highway 126

Flowers greet us back at the fish hatchery and our truck.