Find your way around Lunch Loop/Tabeguache trails
The Lunch Loop/Tabeguache trails on Monument Road are a great example of multi-use trails.
Without the many hundreds of hours of work by volunteers, COPMOBA, and the BLM, trail users would have to drive out to the edges of the county for an outdoor fix. Thanks to these groups and volunteers, we can all literally spend our lunch breaks biking and hiking.
There are so many trails here. Trying to find your way around can be daunting, so I want to give a brief rundown and explanation of the trails you can most easily reach from the main parking area on Monument Road. Certainly there are many more options if you include all of the trail heads located along Little Park Road, but I’d be writing an entire book if I included those, too. For now, we’ll focus on the main lot.
Main Tabeguache Trail: Just past the map and through the “gate” is the main Tabeguache trail. It heads past the bike park (yet another new awesome feature) and climbs for several miles. This is one way to get “up” to access other trails like Holy Cross and Gunny Loop. It is a jeep road and, while parts of it are easier than some other trails you can use to get “up,” it is by no means easy. There are rocky sections and some steep hills to climb. Usually, it is less traveled than the single track trails.
Pet-Y-Kes and Eagle’s Tail: As you head up the main Tabeguache Trail, the first marked right turn takes you toward Pet-Y-Kes and Eagle’s Tail. Both of these can be used for climbing and that is mostly how they are used. They are not one-way, however, so feel free to ride them in either direction. Pet-Y-Kes is much more traveled than Eagle’s Tail but both are fairly technical. Single track and rocky, both climb to a point a few miles up on the main Tabeguache Trail. They offer variety for those who like to ride up from the main lot. You have multiple ways to get to the same end point. I’m still working on conquering all of Pet-Y-Kes. It is steep, filled with a variety of technical maneuvers, and narrow. Be prepared! If you start up Pet-Y-Kes and find it to be above your skill level, there is a low intersection with the main trail after about a mile.
High Noon: Another popular trail on this end is High Noon. From the final intersection of Pet-Y-Kes and the main trail, High Noon is just across the jeep road. You can drop your bike seat because you’ll get to descend for a few minutes on this exciting piece of single track that takes you to a ridge overlooking the main lot. It has several entertaining technical moments: a few drops, narrow rock sections and one overhanging rock that requires you to flatten against your handlebars to keep from getting knocked off your bike. At its end you’ll be at an intersection to either head left down towards the main trail or to continue up onto a ridge. I suggest going up!
Coyote and Raven’s Ridge: The ridge closest to the main parking lot is Raven’s Ridge. The portion heading across from High Noon is a little exposed, but not as technical as other trails. A short downhill will bring you to yet another intersection. Left will take you over a fun downhill rocky section (the rest of Raven’s Ridge) and then either to Ali-Alley or Curt’s Lane. The right fork will take you down Coyote Ridge. You will pass the end of Ali-Alley on your left, and Ali-Ali Loop on your right as you head out this second ridge toward the Miramonte trails.
Miramonte: If you stay straight on Coyote Ridge, you’ll find yourself with a decision to make: left or right? You’re now at the Miramonte Rim Loop. This is a great way to extend a ride, before heading back to the main parking lot. The rim trail is fun clockwise or counter-clockwise. The left side has more technical maneuvers than the right side, and both do have quite a bit of exposure. If that bothers you, you might want to turn back or just at least be prepared for it.
Curt’s Lane: From the parking area, if you look up and slightly to the left, you’ll usually see hikers, runners and bikers zipping down a set of switchbacks. This is Curt’s Lane. It too is rideable in either direction, so if you are looking for a new challenge, use it to get up to the ridge overlooking the parking lot. Or use it as a finish to your ride by zipping down it after finishing Raven’s Ridge.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the trails and loops available at Lunch Loop. My favorite routes include a combination of Pet-Y-Kes, High Noon and Raven’s Ridge, with any number of other trails thrown in.
No matter what trails you decide to explore, please remember to take a map and stay on the marked trails. A great map is located in The Daily Sentinel’s RIDE section, and you can also download one from the BLM by googling “blm lunch loop map.”