Our mountain bike exploration loop today was 27 miles with 2331′ of climbing. We left from the Penitente Canyon area and rode a series of county and forest service roads, rugged two-track, and even a bit of singletrack out towards Boot Mountain.
After a short road climb section we hit county gravel and entered Hellgate, a dramatic narrowing of the canyon formed by columnar basalt lava. We turned on an even lesser double track and continuously climbed for about 14 miles. We really got back in there! Our plan was to do a bit bigger of a loop but made a choice to cut it shorter and turned to descend La Garita Stock Trail.
Turning on La Garita Road we pedaled through some very scenic area. There are small bluffs along the way showing layer upon layer of volcanic ash and lava flows from the ancient La Garita super volcano that erupted 28 million years ago – one of the largest in earth’s history!
We actually saw two people today!