Trail Conditions Report: North Foothills

I got out on Sunday for a solid 3+ hours of singlespeed hammering with Marc and Scott.  We started about 8:30, went for an "extended" North loop, and then headed to the South foothills for another very long loop.  Managed to get to the Tram tower and down to I-40 in one ride, on the singlespeed.  Hopefully I can get a couple more rides in like that before Old Pueblo, and find some kind of fitness good enough to see me through 'til the end of the race.

I was a little upset about the conditions of the North foothills though.  I was surprised at how much moisture there was on the trail, considering it hadn't rained or snowed in quite some time. Nevertheless, by 10am, the trail was thawed, and definitely heading towards muddy.

In several places the trail had become seriously rutted out by countless mountain bikers slogging through the mud over the past few weeks.  In some spots the ruts were seriously deep, and the trail just looked destroyed.  I was just a little surprised and dismayed at the fact that so many of our Mtb. brethren are willing to completely ignore the damage they are doing to a trail while riding it during muddy conditions.  It's not as if the North foothills are the only possible option right now, South foothills are always less muddy than the north, Placitas is in fine condition, and of course there is White and Red Mesa (if you have the time).

It really  strikes me as irresponsible to go out and trudge through the deep mud, leaving serious scars on the trail, just because it Wednesday night, and every Wednesday you and your buddies right in the North foothills.  I can only imagine that any trail users who are not on bikes see us bikers as extremely destructive right now, and I can't blame them, the trails look destroyed, and it's clearly because of bikes. 

So, my recommendation (especially considering last nights precipitation) is to give the North Foothills a break for a little while.  If you really want to ride there, try to get out early enough so that the trail is still frozen solid, and that way you won't make any new ruts.  South Foothills is always noticeably drier than the North, and as I mentioned earlier, Placitas seems to be drying out more quickly as well.

That's my little rant for the day.  If you want to hear me complain about anything else,  just give the shop a ring or stop by, I'm sure to be bitchy about something at the moment.  Grumble grumble frizzle frazzle robble robble mumble mumble.


  1. OK, it sounds like you witnessed considerable damage on the North trail. You were on it by 10 am. Our group was going to run the trail at that time, it was quite "muddy" from the Emerson trail head, so we ran down on Tramway.

    So the question: Did you ride the complete 365 trail to have made it to the towers? Were you there contributing to the damage to have witnessed it all?

  2. trails were in fine shape for biking on Sunday morning(my first ride there since the snow), and on Monday they were in fine shape for hiking. Tuesday evening the NFH were also in excellent shape. The rains melted the snow and ice in many locations, and as long as you go through the occasional puddle rather than around, no problem. I agree about the trail damage, but these trails also heal well when things dry out, though the ever widening of the tread is a definite problem. My .02.

  3. I love it when people who are out "riding" on the trail complain about the damage "other" people are doing to that trail...????

  4. Most local cyclists are nothing but "posers". They act as if they are somebody but they are just plain hackers. It used to be that it was just roadies, but more and more mtbrs and cx'rs are getting the "attitude"

    I know quite a few x-pros and Cat 1 folks who live in town, race "only" out of town and never wear their "kits" when out training locally

  5. I didn't make it very clear, but we were done by about 10am (started at 8:30, as I mentioned). Things were just getting muddy by the time we finished. As we were leaving, the parking lot was full of people just arriving, unpacking their bikes, etc.

    I'm not quite sure what Mr. Gost is getting at or insinuating.

    I'm not a fan of telling people what to do. I only ever bring up the topic of trail conditions because we are asked several times a day if the trails are "rideable" all winter long. People want to know if they should go ride the foothills, and that was my opinion. Amazing how touchy a subject it is, a fantastic way to raise the ire of local riders.