Wednesday, August 17, 2011

singletracks! armijo-faulty trail

If 18 miles of Otero/David proves a reliable means of laying this rider out, there are other local options to accomplish the same goal, and save some time in the process.

Take Faulty Trail for example.

Faulty has long been the benchmark by which I judge my peak fitness each season. For this mortal rider, it consistently proves a grueling uphill climb from the lower trailhead, up the six miles to the trail's highpoint above the intersection of Bill Spring Trail.  In my minds eye, I count at least 3 considerable hikabikes, not to mention the countless smaller I'll-just-stop-here-and-take-in-the-view, you-know-for-the-blog's-sake breathers.

But after six-plus miles of grinding uphill, that downhill back to the truck?  Priceless. 

You can imagine my dismay no relief yeah dismay earlier this summer, to arrive at the lower trailhead, and find this:

Turns out a few bad apples will spoil the barrel every time.  

The lowest access to Faulty for mountain bikers (outside of designated Wilderness) has required a trip up Cole Springs Road, which as it turns out, is a private road.  Over the years, the landowners have dealt with increasing amounts of trash, parking issues, gate blockages, and unruly traffic, I guess enough to finally pull the plug on access back in July. By my count, mountain bikers have lost a good 2 miles of prime East Mountain singletrack.

Bummer that, for both me and you.  

So I found myself casting about for a new lower access to Faulty, hopefully one that added some miles back to those recently lost.

Looks like I found what I was looking for in Armijo trail.  Armijo begins with a ripping half-mile descent over a series of graded switchbacks.  I was not more than a quarter of the way down when I nearly ran into this guy lounging on the trail.

Only my third quality sighting of bobcat in my life- most are just blurred streaks leaving me wondering if that was indeed what I just witnessed.  This guy spent our 3 minutes together trying to blend back into the hillside, moving only the exact amount backwards to match my every advance.

Armijo showed a moderate grade on its climb to Faulty, saving its punishment for that last half mile prior to the intersection.  Faulty from there on out is as you remember it.  Chunky, rooty, ledgy, swoopy all in one.  Most times in mixed ponderosa-pinon forest, at times dense when you plunge down into drainages.

And steep!  So bring your spare set of lungs, and leave your bandy legs at home.  Faulty will assuredly extract its pound of flesh.  But leave you grinning nonetheless.


  1. Looks awesome.
    I'm officially back into biking. I have my old steel Trek back in business for urban assault. I'll be back on the trail soon.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. youdaman Jay! Look forward to reading of your dirt adventures in the future. Coming to a blog near you! Jay writes the most excellent blog The Naturalist's Angle- perspectives of a fly fishing naturalist. Head on over there and subscribe! mike

  3. Nice! What a great year for seeing predators!! Faulty and Armijo are great trails. Too bad the property owner pulled the plug completely on access. If memory serves, there used to be a primitive trail from the cemetery that got you past the private portion of the road up to the trail. I used to live in a subdivision just south of Cole Springs and I'd access through the hood to Faulty, but there was a mile or so of the trail in the wilderness, so "officially" you walked your bike through that portion to Cole Spring.

  4. Nice photo of the Bobcat, it is always nice to see wildlife while out biking. I have only seen a handful of Bobcats myself, but enjoy the experience every time. Have enjoyed your posts all summer long, keep the gears spinning.

  5. Awesome! There is a trek remedy at work for $1800, I'm seriously thinking about it. I've only seen a bobcat once! How cool is that!?

  6. Chris- you know I came across that trail in my online digging around, was wondering if that was a social trail. I will file that access away. As for walking thru Wilderness, no worries- Faulty already has me pushing the bike all over hill and dale, one more stretch is just par for the course! ;-)

  7. Hey TR! as Chris noted, our forest closures seemed to have brought the critters out this summer. Let's just hope those mountain lions favor my spandex clad brethren over this mangy mountain goat. ;-)

  8. Yo David! RE: MTB- How would you ever find the time with all that gorgeous water to explore up in gods green acres? :-O But that's prolly just what you need is a two wheel drive to round out the CO experience, no? Keep me posted my friend! mike