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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Sopris Ranger District

Quick Facts

Basalt Mountain Road

Beginning Elevation: 7,484 Feet (2332.9 Meters) right turn at fork past Spring Park Reservoir
Difficulty: Easy all weather road
Elevation Gain: 2,356 Feet (734.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,840 Feet (3067.3 Meters) end of second fork after Cattle Creek Road
Length, One-way: 9 Miles (15.0 Kilometers)
Usage: Heavy

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Basalt Mountain Road is accessible to two wheel drive vehicles to the top of the mountain. Two miles up the road it forks. The left fork is Cattle Creek Road, which is a four wheel drive road. The right fork is Basalt Mountain Road #524. There is a parking area at this junction for people that want to ride the Basalt Mountain-Cattle Creek bike trails or a loop. Go six miles to the top of Basalt Mountain. The bike trail starts by a locked gate and the bulletin board is 300 feet past the cattle guard on the top.

Directions from El Jebel: Travel east on Highway 82 to El Jebel. Turn left at the stoplight and follow the road past Spring Park Reservoir. Turn right after the reservoir on to the Basalt Mountain Road (FDR #524).

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Closed due to snow Nov- April) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Andy A (Aspen, CO)
Time of Day: 11:30a
Length of Time: ~3 hrs.
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Heading down valley from Aspen, make right past garish El Jebel sign. Take Basalt Mtn. road up (pavement ends - continue) to Cattle Creek Rd. Obvious & ample trailhead prkg. Clip in, head RT. past small ditch single track almost immed. on LT. (although this will tie into Fire Road later) and take 5.5mi. of fire road up to Basalt Mtn. Trail 1911 - immed. left at top of fire road - it's marked; it looks like you can keep going up but veer Lt. after your final push round the curve near what looks like a rock quarry. You'll pass other trailheads along the way, but press on to the top. Lots of hunters and camp sites for off-roaders. Go thru gate and begin single track.The climbing is not over and it's fairly technical given the consistent lunar-esque baby heads that dot the single track, and the urge to take your eyes off the trail and soak in the beautiful surroundings. Sit back on descents, as I endo'd from a well placed rock around a tight bend at speed. It's so damn fun to descend after the big climb that it's hard to throttle down. Well shaded with several open meadow crossings. Be mindful of bears. Eventually you will come to a marked fork (Red Table vs. Cattle Creek) - I took the left onto CC and was rewarding with some awesome ST. Steep. Curvacious. Technical switchbacks. Well maintained save for ~5 felled trees that required portaging. Mostly shaded with some openings for photo ops. Feels like you're 1MM mi.'s from civilization.Further drop into conifer land with mini stream crossings.Oil up the brakes because they will get used. ST ends at small gate requiring un- then re-latching. Rt. is private land, so make Lt. onto fire road and undulate back past numerous camping sites to prkg area, ~ 2 mi. or so. Felt longer given my legs we're tired from keeping it in the middle ring the whole trip.Grabbed a prepared chix salad w/ hatch chilis and a root beer from the Whole Foods in Basalt. Ride: Gary Fisher Sugar 2+; Rock Shox Recon; Cane Creek AD-12, WTB WeirWolf (2.3, front); Maxxis CrossMax (2.1, rear): Maxxis performance ok for this trail @ ~35psi. Me: 6'2", 220 lbs.

Filed By: diem (basalt, co)
Time of Day: 4:00pm
Length of Time: 2
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: I'm new to the RF valley and this was my first trip on this trail so I'm not sure I was on the right trail but the following is my expereience... I rode up the BM road for 2.2 miles, and saw 4x4 trail that ran off to the left. tired of the uphill grind I jumped on the 4x4 trail that only lasted about 25 yards and turned into an excellent single track. Or so I thought... The trail got pretty steep and my tires were ready for hardpack and not the loose, soft dirt that made up most of the trail. It got really steep really quick and I had to un-clip for several areas. An expert rider would probably be fine in the saddle, however a quick stop followed by a quicker endo will leave you well below the trail. Also there were 4 - 5 trees down on the trail that needed to be walked around. From the looks of things i was on a very unused section of single track, so my advice to you is to avoid the 4x4 road on the left appx 2.2 miles from the cattle creek / basalt mtn road fork. Eventually the trail does unload you onto another more managable section of trail, and further onto cattle creek road. Left turn at the road and a mile later gets you back to your vehicle, assuming you've parked at the fork. I will go on to say that eventually I drove to the top + found the real trailhead, although I only was able to ride for about 40 minutes, the trail at the top was in far better shape, and lies at a much more modest pitch. I ejected once on a technical downhill turn after 25 minutes and decided that the rain and the time of day were both against me. I turned around and rode uphill back to the top. The reverse climb was fine, and the technical section that I flew out of was much easier on the way up. to summarize, If your in great shape and love the climb then park at the fork and ride to the trailhead at to the top I'll try this next time when I'm more prepared for the 6 mile climb. do NOT try the left turn at 2.2 miles (from the fork) if your an expert rider you may like it, but I spent way too much time with my bike on my shoulder.

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great in the fall for photo ops.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Automobile Travel Basalt Mountain Road
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Cattle Creek Road
ICON Hiking & Walking Basalt Mountain Road
ICON Horseback Riding Basalt Mountain Road
ICON Mountain Biking Basalt Mountain Road

More Information

Visitor Information:

Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, 1102 Grand Ave. , Glenwood Springs, CO, 81601, Phone: 888-4GLENWOOD, www.glenscape.com


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