Rumor had it Stoner Mesa Trail was dry and rideable so we gave it a go. This trail is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The community of Stoner has a population of maybe 6 people and is named after Stoner Creek. Our ride was 27 miles with 3,075′ of climbing.
This trail can be ridden as an out and back, though the start would be pretty brutal up some really steep switchbacks. We decided to see more and rode it as a loop by riding up the road a bit, then turning on a gravel road that climbed forever up to the start of the trail. Stoner Mesa Trail is an 11 mile black diamond trail, though I found it intermediate for the most part. The hardest part was a hike a bike uphill fairly close to the beginning. We didn’t see anyone all day.
The climb gets you up pretty high, in fact, just a foot or two under 10,000′. The views down into the valley look like something we’ve seen in Switzerland or France. This is beautiful country with lots of wide open space. Just about when we were tired of climbing, we hit the singletrack. The trail is rooty and rocky in places but for the most part, we descended gently as we rolled along the mesa through aspen and pine forests. Periodically we’d pop out into meadows of wildflowers, and then duck back into the forest. The true elevation loss comes in a series of all rideable steep switchbacks at the end. What a blast!
The trail ends at West Dolores River and you better believe I dipped in to cool off. This is a true gem of a trail and we had fun.