Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Medicine Bow Trail

If you're allergic to moose, then you may want to take your epi-pen on this ride.
There is some prime moose territory located on either side of this trail.
And while you may see plenty of four-legged critters beside the path, you probably won't see many of the two-legged variety. We were there on a Sunday in the middle of summer w/ beautiful weather and other than a couple horsemen, we didn't see any other trail users the entire trip.
Unfortunately, our trip was cut short by an unexpected detour at Foxpark. (See photo #10)
So what was intended to be a 42 mile ride (21 each way) ended up only being a little over 26.

A couple important notes: Although this trail has a nice gradual incline/decline, its surface changes greatly at about the halfway point. The first 11 miles is a pretty well maintained gravel path. As you can see in the first few pictures.
After that, it becomes fairly overgrown and poorly maintained for a couple miles. Then you get to a sign that says the trail is closed for a while due to a legal dispute over the trail right-of-way near Foxpark.

For the above reasons, I would seriously consider a mountain bike w/ very sturdy tires for this ride. Although we had no problems with flat tires, I think the likely head for goat-heads or other types of thorns rises exponentially the further from the Pelton Creek trailhead you get.

Another warning to heed about this trail is the lack of facilities of any kind. I liked the remote qualities of the trail, but it is definitely less maintained and developed than many other rail-trails. There are no drinking fountains or resting spots. There is a well-maintained restroom facility at the Pelton Creek trailhead, but such facilities are few and far between.

Reaching the trailhead can be difficult also. If you are accessing the trail from its south end (definitely recommended), you will take highway 230 from Laramie. You will pass the small community of Mountain Home. From there you will continue south until you get to the Wyoming/Colorado border. You will take U.S. Forest Service Rd. 898 (I never saw a sign saying that rd. #.) which is right at the border. Turn right on that road. It is a well maintained/improved gravel road.  You will know you took the correct road when you reach the Pelton Creek trailhead just a couple miles down the road, on your right. Make sure you use the facilities here, because you won't see many others further down the trail.

On our trip, there were some aspen trees over the trail just a few hundred yards into the ride (see picture #3 in the carousel) but they will probably be removed soon.

Enjoy the solitude and say hi to the moose in the pond near mile 6. 


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