Cameron Cr Tr and Gold Creek Union Park Tr (south of Taylor Park Res)
There are two trails from Union Park to Gold Cr (Shaw Ridge): Cameron Cr Tr to the west and Gold Creek Union Park Tr to the east. Both trails are steep, rocky, and have severe drop-offs. Of the two, Cameron Cr Tr (west side) is the easiest to ride.
FR766 and FR770 (near Pitkin)
There are two main dirt roads that lead from Terrible Mtn (Fairview) to the Pitkin area: FR766 which bypasses Pitkin to the north and FR770 which goes to Pitkin.
FR766 is marked at the bottom, but not marked at the top. When you reach Terrible Mtn by trail (Fairview Tr, FT426), turn right onto a dirt road. The first left turn going downhill is FR766 (look for orange arrows). There is a FR770 carsonite sign at the intersection; the sign is marking FR770. For FR766, turn left and ride downhill.
If you want to ride down FR770 directly to Pitkin, don't turn left but follow FR770 to the next intersection. Look for the "High Line Drive" sign, and turn left at that intersection. As you ride through intersections, be watchfull for FR770 markers. Ignore the "End High Line Drive" sign and continue on FR770.
Canyon Cr Tr/Horseshoe Tr (east of Pitkin)
There are two trails to Granite Mtn, Canyon Cr Tr from the horse camp and Horseshoe Tr. Although Horseshoe has one longish tough uphill, it is the easier of the two trails. Canyon Cr has some trail washouts and two sections where the potential of falling off the rocky sidehill is a distinct possibility.
Gunnison Spur bailouts (west of TP Res)
If you don't want to ride the Gunnison Spur all the way to and through Doctor Park, you can bail at one of the several roads that the trail crosses. Early turn-offs lead north to FR748 and later ones lead west to FR744.
Gunnison Spur split (west of TP Res)
There is a trail split on the spur north of Doctor Park: the right fork continues as a stock driveway and the left fork is a narrower trail that goes through an aspen section. The left fork eventually leads to an open meadow, which you cross to the southwest looking for a larger trail heading due west. Eventually, you rejoin the main spur at a hunt camp. Turn left and continue.
Star Tr bailout (north of TP Res)
You can avoid the more difficult upper section of Star Tr when you are riding up from the south trailhead by turning off to the left at the Mysterious Lake exit. Eventually, the trail intersects a dirt road that leads back to Spring Creek Res.
Italian Cr Road (north of TP Res)
You can avoid a very rocky section of Italian Cr Rd when riding east to west: take the lower or left fork.
Crossing the Taylor River (west of TP Res)
If you decide to ride the Matchless Mtn Tr, you'll have to cross the Taylor River. Ride north along the west side of the reservoir and cross opposite the campground. Ride a small trail from the river's edge up to the campground and find an opening in the perimeter log fence. Drive slowly and quietly through the campground.
The two sides of Timberline (east of TP Res)
Although timberline Tr has a deserved reputation as a very difficult trail, there is a section of the trail that is not as bad as the rest and it's easy to work into a ride. The easier section goes from near Mirror Lake north to Cottonwood Pass Rd.
Fossil Ridge Tr (south of TP Res)
From FR742, ride OneMile Rd about 9 miles to Beaver McIntyre trailhead (FT472). There is a new trailhead sign (about 50' south of the old trailhead) of carsonite with a 'no-jeep' sticker on it. About 15' east and around the corner of a large bush is the actual trailhead sign; see pics at More scouting for COSF01. The trail has been improved and rerouted around the beaver ponds. Ride Beaver McIntyre Tr about 2.25 miles east to the Fossil Ridge Tr trailhead (the second 3-way intersection; the first 3-way is a trail to private property).
Fossil Ridge Tr bypass (south of TP Res)
The west end of Fossil Ridge Tr has a few very difficult rocky sections, which you can bypass when riding from west to east by taking one of three alternates.
At the Fossil Ridge Tr sign, turn right onto the trail to McIntyre Gulch Tr and ride about .4 miles to an intersection. The left fork goes down McIntyre Gulch and the right fork crosses the creek to intersect a road. The three alternates begin here:
Alternate 1, McIntyre Gulch Tr - This is the shortest route back to Fossil Ridge Tr, but it includes several rocky sections in McIntyre Gulch. (I will never ride it again!)
Alternate 2, Alder Cr Tr - This route is longer but easier.
Alternate 3, Roads - This route is the longest and is mostly roads.
Trails Illustrated map # 132, revision 1999, shows the Fossil Ridge Tr bypass roads and trails.
Revised November 2001.
Printable pdf file.