We heard mixed reviews about the Mountain Lion Trail, a couple people told us the trail was a must ride, others told us it was one giant hike-a-bike. Not knowing who to listen to we decided to give it a go. At the start of the ride we started to think the we should have listened to the people that told us to skip it, the climb was challenging and exhausting and not overly fun, just loose and long. The altitude really got to us because of the lack of good recovery on the climb. However after the climbing was complete and we got our lungs back into our chest, downed a ton of water and got back on the bike, we decided we did in fact love the trail.
The down was a ride through some cool technical stuff that we agreed was the perfect level of speed and challenge, while swooping through creek crossings, rock gardens you will forget all about the grueling climb that you endured at the beginning of the ride.
We are in the must ride camp for this trail. It is definitely not a ride for someone new to mountain biking. We also love the Golden Gate Park trail just down the road, so make a day out of it and ride both, you will not regret it!
Make sure you take the loop clockwise. The section north of The pass by Windy Peak should only be done as a downhill. It is the main attraction and you wouldn't want to screw it up by trying to climb it (not to mention it would be mostly a hike-a-bike for all but the immortals).
This trail was a welcome change from typical Front Range riding. Although it does stick with typical Front Range form and go straight up right out of the parking lot, Jefferson County clearly had no part in designing this trail, by that I mean no god-forsaken water bars, anywhere, including mid-switchback. Trail still suffers in some areas from difficult grades and lack of the frequent grade reversal, so still lacking when compared to a true IMBA standard trail, but what lacks in the climb is more than made up for in the decent. Everything is there, driftable turns, fast rock gardens, sketchy off camber rooty sections, creek crossings, flow and best of all, there's no god-forsaken water bars in the middle of the switchbacks (what few their are on the descent). You certainly want to do the trail clockwise, counterclockwise would be a real pain. Consider bucking up and doing two laps, well worth it.
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