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Winter: Eldorado - Pack Trail loop
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by TC

Supposedly, this is a winter ride, but I'm interested in trying it in the summer. There'd be some slogging, but probably less than half a mile or so.

Anyway, this ride has about 1250' of elevation gain, is about 11.5 miles long, and took about 1:45 to complete as shown. Depending on what other ride you may combine it with or the conditions, it could take somewhat less time or quite a bit more.

Start at the wide shoulder (parking area?) just uphill to the west of Eldorado Creek on Goldstream Road. Take the trail to the north and avoid any left or right exits. There's a substantial amount of overflow or swamp to contend with (depending on the season) at the beginning, but it goes away after less than a mile.

You'll go past various mining artifacts and some more modern junk. There's a cabin worth examining a short distance past the creek bottom. Keep on the trail, and after a few miles, it turns into a steady uphill. Grind your way to the top, where the Eldorado Trail meets the pipeline corridor. There's a world of options (see all the rides with Old Murphy Dome Road in them), but let's continue as advertised.

Head south-east (take a right) on the pipeline corridor, and after a few tenths of a mile, look for a trail going uphill to your right. This is the Pack Trail. It climbs a very short distance, then turns into a fabulous descent. At the crest of the short climb, veer right at the 3-way intersection. The other way reconnects with the pipeline.

Word of Caution: If you are riding this in the summer, the Pack Trail is worth a lot of respect. It feels like a trail that you can really open up and rip on, but there are some corners that hide ruts and erosion that are continually wet and greasy. More than one rider has gotten scraped, bruised and bummed out from not being cautious. Take 'er easy, at least your first couple descents down this trail.

Once you get into the big birch and aspen trees, things improve, and you can hammer away. Follow the main trail, avoiding any turns going downhill. Eventually, you intersect with the top of Waterford, right on the section line. Follow the subdivision road west, going straight. No turns. Enter what looks like a driveway at the end, only to make a quick turn onto the powerline trail on the right, and continue your straight-ish line. The trail dodges through the woods and comes out in a large, overgrown gravel pit.

In the summer, I'd recommend turning left immediately, down a short descent and out the clearing on the south side, ending up on Goldstream Road at the fire station. Your car is a short ride away to the west (turn right).

As mapped for either winter use or for folks with a swamp fetish, continue west through the clearing, and find a trail that disappears through the trees. This will take you down a mean descent that will make you appreciate the fact that you have good brakes and bike handling ability. At the bottom, you can either go left, toward the road or right and follow a trail across the swamp. I recommend the swamp, because going left will cross private property which does have "No Trespassing" signs posted. You'll end up back on the bottom of the Eldorado Trail, and just head south back to the car.

You can turn this ride around, obviously, but this direction has you spending more time on trail and less on subdivision roads. That's a good thing, right?