Garfield County bike trails: Buford Road Area, New Castle
April 10, 2018
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.
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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.