The Heil Valley Ranch trails are hit and miss with most riders, many agree that the trails have a lot of room for improvement and are in need of some serious maintenance, however some riders really like them. The trails are rocky and very challenging.
Our take is that the challenge does not really have any reward, the trail is an endless rock garden without any potential flow, which is great if you want to work on your ability to navigate through tough terrain for an extended period of time, but not really fun in a traditional mountain biking way. It is a good place to check out if you have ridden everything else in the area but overall not worth a special trip until some updates are done.
If you want to increase your mileage, you can take the Picture Rock Trail to connect the Hall Ranch and Heil Valley Trails.
This is a pretty well rounded ride. The climb up is a 3 mile constant climb. It's not too steep but it's constant. The closer you get to the top, the more you'll start finding out how rocky the ride down is going to be. After you hang a left at the Picture Rock cutoff trail, there's a cool ride through he woods and over some paths made of large rocks, ending up at a great overlook of Hwy 36 to Estes Park and can see the Hall Ranch trail.The ride back is fantastic, though I couldn't imagine having to do it on anything other than a full suspension as it was a damn rocky ride. The are some great fast and windy sections to keep you on your toes as well as some large rocks they placed on the outside of the tighter turns in effort to keep the trail from widening. Good idea, but you or your derailer may pay the price of you swing too wide.My wife is still riding and old hardtail and has been looking at full suspension bikes lately, so it wasn't surprising that we spent the rest of the afternoon at 4 different local bike shops making her decision on which to buy. This trail pushed her over the edge.Overall good ride that I wouldn't mind doing again, but you'll probably remember the bumpy ride the most out of it.
08/04/2010Overlook at the top
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