Garfield County Mountain Bike Rides: Prince Creek
Garfield County offers a wide variety of mountain bike trails — smooth dirt and rocky descents; short, rollercoaster funfests; and long, challenging epics. Plus, terrain spans rocky, desert riding to lush, forest scenes.
There are lots of trails close to towns (or in them), and some that require a long drive into national forest land.
See if you can pry secrets from local bike shops, or at least get advice on trail conditions.
From Carbondale’s roundabout travel about 1.5 miles south to Prince Creek Road. Turn left, and travel about 2.5 miles until the pavement ends. Ride the dirt road about .25 mile to the inconspicuous trailhead on the left.
The Prince Creek area offers easier riding than Red Hill through meadows and pinyon-juniper; one of the trails takes you over a car. You can opt out, but there are ramps built so you can ride over it lengthwise. Also, if you like climbing, give Innie a spin. There are additionally four-wheel drive roads that riders use to climb to the top of Crown, riding down on a combination of four-wheel drive roads, plus named and unnamed trails. Trails start about 4 miles from Carbondale, and lots of people ride up the pavement to get there.
Distance — 2.5 miles
Difficulty — Easy
North Porcupine is considered a fun, rolling ride that offers views of Carbondale below. The trail takes riders far from the trailhead with little climbing, and a lung-busting loop can be made using Innie and Outie.
Distance — 2.8 miles
Difficulty — Moderate/Difficult
Buckhorn is usually considered to be the far end of the trail system, though it’s the beginning when coming from Basalt on the paved rails-to-trails Rio Grande Trail. The difficult rating comes from the loose, rocky descent to (or climb from) the Rio Grande. The views of Missouri Heights are outstanding, as are the wildflowers in summer.
Distance — 0.3 miles
Difficulty — Moderate
Yeah, it’s short, but this downhill-only trail is all about fun. Following a drainage, the trail sweeps from side to side, up some short climbs, and over some optional jumps. If you like this trail, try Father Ginormous, which is in a different drainage and is 0.7 miles long.
Distance — 1.6 miles
Difficulty — Easy
As an introduction to the Prince Creek trails (for those coming from Carbondale), this easy trial winds tightly through oak brush, across a ditch and over a car (a Monte Carlo, of course). Riders can connect to numerous trails and roads from this trail.
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