OverviewA small JCOS park that abuts Pike National Forest Land. Trails intersect with many of the trails near the Colorado Trail and the Buffalo Creek Trail system, an IMBA Epic ride.
This area was not involved in any of the fires in the area, and so is tree-covered. There are many places very near to and intersect with the trails at PVR that were in the burned areas, so standing dead snags can be a hazard.
The park and surrounding areas are all above 6,000' elevation, so bring sunscreen and lots of water in the summer, as well as electrolytes.
Trail DescriptionThe majority of the trails are singletrack, with a few small bits of doubletrack or FR thrown in for good measure. All consist of dirt and decomposed Pikes Peak Granite - loose, square bits of pink granite. It drains quickly after snow, and holds little moisture, even during a downpour.
Buck Gulch Trail Trail Junction w/N ForkView 1 mi +500' / -0' Multi-user, constant climb, connects to Pike National Forest trails.
Narrow Gauge West end of trail 1.9 mi +253' /-223' Multi-user, follows South Platte river.
North Fork View Trail junction w/ Pine Lake Loop 0.5 mi +82' / -62' Hiker only, pleasant, flat meadow trail.
Park View Trail East trail junction w/ Pine Lake Loop 0.8 mi +430' / -50' Hiker only, steep climb with scenic views of Pine Valley Ranch Lodge.
Pine Lake Loop Trail accessed at parking lot 0.6 mi +38' / -67' Hiker only, fishing pier access.
Star View Crystal lake Road 0.4 mi +396' /-216' Service road to observatory.
Getting ThereFrom JCOS:
Take Hwy 285 west (signs say south) out of Metro Denver to the touwn of Pine Junction. From U.S. Highway 285 at Pine Junction, turn southeast onto Pine Valley Road (County Road 126). Continue 5.8 miles toward the town of Pine, then follow the signs to the park.
Camping is allowed farther south in the Pike National Forest/Buffalo Creek Area.
When to BikeAfter heavy snows, the trails can become quite snowpacked. Best ridden from early spring to early winter. Summer temps can exceed 110 degrees F., and afternoon rainstorms can roll in quickly. Evenings can maintain frost well into June.
Other referencesJCOS PVR Website:
Trails map from JCOS:
Front Range Mountain Bike Patrol (and Buffalo Creek MAP!!)
Suggestions and recommendationsYou can't park along CO-126 nor FR-543, so if you want to just ride Buffalo Creek trails, best to park at the Long Scraggy Parking Lot (daily fee applies) or at the Buffalo Creek FS parking area (free). PVROS parking is free also.
For a big, fun day, I recommend a huge loop from PVROS parking:
Up Buck Gulch to Strawberry Jack, to Homestead east, to Sandy Wash all the way east, back up the road heading west, pick up Shinglemill or Morrison Gulch heading south to the Colorado Trail, head west on the CT to Tramway, take that north back to the road, back east a bit on the road over the river (where you can stop and cool off), north up Gashouse Gulch to the top, down the (old) road heading east, pick up Skipper Trail heading west back to Buck Gulch back down to the parking lot. This will give you 24+ miles, with somewhere above 2500' of gain. This ride goes quicker than the stats indicate, though. Expect 5 hours if you are in decent shape.