West of Montrose, the Whole Uncolada Trail is a popular mountain biking route descending off the Uncompahgre Plateau. It combines a range of singletracks and doubletracks totalling 20 miles with 1,200 feet of climbing and a massive 4,000 feet of descent. While it has been around since 2014, it has been getting more publicity lately and becoming more well known. It is ...
West of Montrose, the Whole Uncolada Trail is a popular mountain biking route descending off the Uncompahgre Plateau. It combines a range of singletracks and doubletracks totalling 20 miles with 1,200 feet of climbing and a massive 4,000 feet of descent. While it has been around since 2014, it has been getting more publicity lately and becoming more well known. It is mainly ridden as a shuttled ride from the upper trailhead.
This one-way route takes expert mountain bikers about 2 hours, while more casual riders take about 3 hours. Along the way, keep an eye out for black beer, deer, elk, wild turkeys and, of course, grazing cattle.
The Whole Uncolada Trail starts up on the Uncompahgre Plateau off Divide Road at around 9,100 feet. It starts by following the narrow, twisting Forest Fence Trail for about 4 miles. This is a rolling route through a mixed aspen and pine forest with plenty of rocks and roots. There is a surprising 500 feet of climbing while only descending 400 feet.
At the end of the Forest Fence Trail, the Whole Uncolada follows the Dented Door doubletrack to the Spring Creek doubletrack for a total of 5 miles. These narrow, rocky doubletracks descend off the Uncompahgre Plateau down into the Spring Creek canyon while the aspen/pine forest transitions to dry scrub oak and juniper high desert. This section of the Whole Uncolada is popular with dirt bike and ATV riders. This section is mainly descent with very little climbing.
Next, the Whole Uncolada tracks the Lower Spring Creek Trail. This narrow singletrack rolls for 7 miles above the namesake creek as it weaves through juniper and sagebrush. Along with 1,500 feet of descent, there is a surprising 500 feet of rocky scrambles up along the way. Plus, there is a 200 foot climb up out of the canyon at the end of the Lower Spring Creek Trail to a trailhead along Dave Woods Road.
After a 1,000 foot ride east on Dave Woods Road, the Whole Uncolada picks up the top of the Buzzard Gulch Trail System. The next 4 miles wind through Piñon and sage while descending to the main Buzzard Gulch trailhead off Spring Creek Canyon Road. Along the way, it combines several singletracks including the Dakota Rim Trail, Broken Antler Trail, Buzzard Gulch Trail, PJ Way and back on a section of the Buzzard Gulch Trail to the finish.
To reach the Whole Uncolada upper trailhead from Montrose, head west on Main Street across the river. Main Street turns into SR90. Follow SR90 as it makes several turns. After a few miles, turn left on 6250 Road, which becomes Dave Wood Road. Follow Dave Wood Road southwest up the Uncompahgre Plateau for about 15 miles. Turn right on Divide Road for about 0.4 miles to the trailhead on the right. It is about 23 miles from Montrose. There is limited roadside parking. Since it is mainly ridden as a shuttled mountain bike ride from this upper trailhead, you will either need to have a car dropped at the lower trailhead on Spring Creek Canyon Road, or ride the 7 miles on the road back to Montrose, which goes surprisingly fast since it is slightly downhill. Some of the bike shops know about scheduled shuttled group rides, so you might want to call them first.
Overall, Whole Uncolada Trail is the 178th most popular mountain bike trail of all 188 mountain biking rides in Colorado. Several of the better mountain bike trails are nearby Whole Uncolada Trail including Paradox Trail, Spring Creek, Buzzard Gulch Loop, Sidewinder Trail, Flowing Park Loop and Clear Creek Loop.
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