Garfield County bike trails: Buford Road Area, New Castle
Getting there: In New Castle, turn north onto Seventh Street (County Road 245) and stay on it as it becomes the New Castle-Buford Road. It’s then approximately 6.5 miles to the Mansfield Trailhead, just before the White River National Forest Boundary. About 1.5 miles farther is the Cherry Creek Trailhead.
Trail Talk: These two trails travel from cool aspen at 9,000 feet down through shrubs and pinyon-juniper at 7,000 feet. Often each is ridden as a loop with the climbing on the New Castle-Buford Road for about 6 miles and downhill on the trails. The trails share a starting point, but diverge from there. At one point the two are about 0.5 mile apart, but on opposite sides of a pass.
CHERRY CREEK TRAIL
Distance : 5 miles
The dirt: Turn off the New Castle-Buford Road onto FR 819. The trail heads south from there through Aspen before descending into Cherry Creek, where it stays for the remainder of the ride.
MANSFIELD DITCH TRAIL
Distance : 9.5 miles
The dirt: There are two choices for the start: Turn off the New Castle-Buford Road onto FR 819 (as with Cherry Creek trail), but head north and down a drainage to Mansfield Ditch; or go another 0.25 mile on FR 245 to FR 820 and travel about 2 miles down that road to the private-land boundary and head east to the ditch. The ditch trail stays mostly on a contour between 8,000 and 8,500 feet for about 5 miles. With about 4 miles to go, the trail dips below 8,000 feet before dropping the final 1,000 feet in the last 1.5 miles.
Distance: 9.7 miles
The dirt: You can access this area from the end of Mansfield Ditch, but plan ahead: New Castle Trails’ Adam Cornely advises riding this area with a friend, as it’s isolated. Cellphone service is rare. The ride mixes flowy, rocky and technical portions, including a hike-a-bike section.
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