Last week, all the actors on Longmire traveled to NYC for promotional stuff with the network. What does that mean for me? Three days off in the middle of the week = R&R = Family road trip! We’d heard a lot about the natural hot springs in Pagosa Springs, CO which is a 3 hour scenic drive from Santa Fe. On the way, we passed through Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, where Georgia O’Keeffe spent much of her life. This area was simply breath-taking to say the least. The drive continues up to Chama and eventually crosses the border into Colorado. The scenery on the drive was absolutely gorgeous, even for spoiled Mammoth locals like us 🙂
We decided to “go big” and stay at the Pagosa Springs Spa, where our hotel room was maybe 50 yards from 20 different natural pools of all shapes, sizes, temps, etc. Sweet! There are also many cheaper motels around, and access to other hot springs if you wanna do it on the cheap (next time we might go this route)…But it’s pretty nice to throw on a robe, and walk right out to the pools… definitely the good life.
Of course, I had to make sure there would be mountain biking involved in this mini-vacation… and there is plenty within a 10-15 minute drive. I popped into “The Hub” bike shop, which is only 3.7 miles from the “Gate 5” Trailhead leading into the Turkey Springs trail system. Even more important, they’re only a few hundred yards from Pagosa Springs Brewery.
The peeps at the bike shop told me the US Forest Service had recently revamped the whole trail network, including new names for many trails, and all new signage. So new in fact, that they were waiting for the USFS to publish a new map with the new trails, etc. In the meantime, you can go to pagosatrails.net which has older maps, but not all the trail names match up, etc. No big deal. After riding around this trail system, I have to say that it is extremely well-signed, and pretty easy to navigate, even if trail names on the old maps don’t match up completely with the new ones. Once the new map comes out, it’ll be easy peasy.
For my introduction to the trail system, I intended on doing the “Best of Brockover” 15 mile loop that I found on PagosaTrails.net. However, once I got out on Newt Jack Rd (this trail’s name didn’t change), I didn’t really feel like following “a route” so I just started to explore. I wound up doing about 13.5 miles and 1,500′ climbing through lush aspen forests, open valleys, and rolling hillsides. Other than Newt Jack, which is double track, 90% of the trails were narrow singletrack. It rained in the morning, so a few sections were muddy, but for the most part, I was lucky to have tacky hero dirt. I jumped onto “Gopher Trail” – which was the highlight of my ride. After gradually climbing for a bit, it turned into 4-5 miles of mellow ups and downs, swishing and swooping. This section was fast and I felt like I was on a very long waterslide!! Grins from ear to ear! Pedal Pedal Pedal… descend, twist and shout through flowy turns with views abound… Pedal Pedal again… descend and smile some more… top notch trail.
Then I met up with other trails that shared the same mentality as Gopher. Lower Rim Trail to Power Line Trail to Creek Trail to Catamount Trail to Bear Trail, back to Newt Jack Rd, back to the car. All the trails had great flow- perfect for a rigid singlespeed. It felt as if I was getting double the descent for every short climb. Like a slot machine that kept paying out double what I was putting in. I love it when you don’t even feel like your climbing because your momentum from the downs takes you right through the ups… these are my FAVORITE trails!!
Next time, I’ll explore this area more, and probably a couple more areas near town as well. But this intro was perfect. So was the Powder Day IPA and salmon tacos at the Pagosa Brewery followed by soaking in the hot springs with the family afterwards. Pagosa Springs gets an A+ in my book. Can’t wait to get back!!!