Colorado State Parks and Wildlife manages some of the biggest visitor attractions in Colorado. Almost always, the commonality among these attractions is a large body of water. In the Denver Metro Area, Chatfield Reservoir is the most-visited State Park in Colorado. Chatfield is a relatively small lake, jam-packed five months out of the year with recreational boat traffic. Another of the top draws is the “inland sea” known as Pueblo Reservoir, or as CSPW calls it “Lake Pueblo”. The largest body of water on the Front Range, Lake Pueblo is responsible for those Saturday and Sunday traffic jams on the two-lane portion north on I-25 due to it’s popularity and extensive shoreline. It doesn’t hurt that the sun always seems to be out in Pueblo, that it’s a blast to jet ski or tube, or that it has a prized population of smallmouth bass, wipers and walleye.
But one of the real treasures of Lake Pueblo has only a glancing relationship with the water itself. Right next to the marina are the trailheads around the Boggs Creek inlet. Boggs Creek is usually a dry arroyo in the wintertime that acts as the canyon-maker for a variety of trails. How big is the area? Not really sure. We rode about 8-9 miles last Saturday. MTBProject says that there are 24 miles of trails, Singletracks says that there are 40 miles. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Website barely mentions it. Regardless, we saw two other bikers on a sunny, 50 degree January Saturday in the middle of the day, and that’s nice when you’re a full-suspension noob trying to keep up with your falcon-like son.
The terrain is, well, Pueblo Reservoir. It’s high-prairie desert moonscape, with canyon after canyon, busted up, splintered shale on some of the trails (really fun trying to ride up or down on that junk!), caliche-clay trail surface elsewhere. In the wintertime, it’s invaded by tumbleweeds. In the spring and fall, it’s the habitat of rattlers. In the summer, it’s blistering hot. So yes, we are fans of tumbleweed season.
Trails are almost entirely singletrack, with a variety of fast, circuitous routes along the shore line and valley floors, others that navigate around the tops of mesas, and some rolling others that flow up and down in quick succession from the mesas to the canyons. If you’re new to seatpost droppers, this is a really good place to get dialed, fast.
Aside from a couple red-tails and kestrels, we did miss the other birds of prey that frequent the area. There are prairie falcons in the spring and summer and in the wintertime, bald eagles nest on the western shores in the cottonwoods. But what best characterizes the area is the sense of peace and serenity whilst you sweat. It’s hard to believe nearly 200,000 people live so nearby when a Saturday affords mile after mile of empty trail and the satisfying clatter of rocks loose under your tires.
We didn’t hunt out the terrain park (forgot), and there are not a lot of jumps or bumps, but you can Star Wars it through the bottoms of the washes and arroyos and launch out of the bottom if you care to. And fun is what you make of it, right?
To get to Lake Pueblo State Park’s South Shore Mountain Biking