Get Out! There are plenty of good places to ride in our own backyard

Julie Norman rides on Clunker Trail, part of the Lunch Loop trails that offer a wide variety of routes a mountain biker can use to change up their routine.

Let’s face it: We can travel to all sorts of places for new biking adventures, but in the end, we have some of the best singletrack bike trails in the country right here.

I’m sure other places would beg to differ, but when Bike Magazine comes to our neck of the woods for their annual “Gear Guide: Bible of Bike Tests” edition, I think we can all agree we’re highly ranked.

I love biking here, and some weekends I never drive more than 10 minutes to get to a trail head.

Lunch Loop has become my first choice for biking these days, partly because of its proximity to my house, and partly because of the variety of trails it has. Every trip is like a choose-your-own-adventure story. Should I start at the main parking lot or somewhere off Little Park Road? Maybe I’ll ride up the Three Sisters trails today. Then what? Take Ali-Alley over toward Miramonte? That’s always entertaining.

Then there are decisions about whether to just ride Miramonte Rim, drop down into Miramonte Canyon, or drop down the other side to Clunker. The possibilities are endless.

Just last week I found myself on a great new “Julie Route” for after-work biking. After work I’m usually too brain dead to focus on much technical terrain, so I wanted an intermediate ride that would give me a great cardio workout but wouldn’t require too many advanced moves.

I rode up the main Tabeguache trail and up the first two large hills. I passed the Pet-Y-Kes cutoff and continued to the base of the next rocky hill, where I took a signed but rarely used shortcut toward Moto and Raven’s Ridge. After climbing up to the top of the ridge, I rode across it and out Coyote Ridge.

So far, the most technical part of the ride had been that rarely used shortcut (and only because it goes through a wash). I cruised all the way out to the Miramonte Rim trail and rode that counter-clockwise, just for something different. This part of the trail can be a little trickier and more advanced just because of exposure and a few ledges. Still, it was all familiar and comfortable terrain for me. 

Heading back toward the main lot now, I rode Ali-Alley and then turned right onto Curt’s Lane. At the last minute, though, just before the top of the switchbacks, I turned off onto the front side of the Three Sisters section and made my way back to the parking lot that way. This section in particular is a great section of trail for intermediate riders. There are well-built ramps to roll down and some great rock bridges. It’s not mapped yet, but it’s located on the far side of the Lunch Loop area at the bottom of Curt’s Lane, near Kids Meal. 

I cruised back into the parking lot with a wide, satisfied grin on my face and loaded up to go home. My ride had taken right at an hour, and any work-related stresses I’d felt at the beginning of the ride were long gone.

If I wanted to go on some weekends, I could drive three hours to Gunnison and have a blast riding at Hartman Rocks, or I could drive 90 minutes to Moab and have some fun on the Brand trails or Sovereign, but the great thing about living here is I don’t have to do any of that. 

Lunch Loop now has something for everyone. From Kids Meal and the lowest section of the Three Sisters area for beginners/early intermediates to Clunker, Holy Bucket and the Miramonte Area for intermediates, all the way to Holy Cross for advanced riders, anyone can have a good time here now. Don’t forget there’s also a pump track for toddlers, the bike park and Free Lunch for downhillers.

If you haven’t checked out Lunch Loop, try it out. If you don’t want to go alone, ask a friend whose ridden there. If you’re not sure whether the biking there is right for you, head out there for a hike. You can download a great map by going to: and then looking on the right-hand side for “ride resources” just below the “Check out the Trails” videos.

Daily Sentinel online advertising coordinator Julie Norman can’t do enough mountain biking and backpacking on her days off. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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