Yesterday we gave the Curt Gowdy State Park in Cheyenne Wyoming a second attempt. The first attempt we had a pretty good ride but it got short by cold rain before we had a chance to get into the really good stuff. This time we got to ride the really good stuff, and that is a huge understatement. It's insanely good, it's mountian bike bucket list good. It's easily one of, if not the best trail system I've ever ridden. Curt Gowdy is what I pictured mountain biking to be when I first started riding.
We parked at the Volin Trailhead on the East side where the elevation is the lowest and the trails are easy and flowy. We used the 5 mile mostly uphill ride as a warmup to get over to the west side where things get good. There's super technical ups and downs, tons and tons and tons of rock features, there are multiple labeled "play areas" that have 3-4 different ways down, each one having different rock formation obstacles - some are drops, some are slick rock ridges, some are stair step type drops, there was one that looked you you riding down a tube slide at a water park made out of one huge section of slickrock, and they have ways to loop back up to top of play areas are do it again. During our last trip we even came across an actual "freeride play area", complete with very very large drops, berms, wall rides, etc. plus they have a skills area.
The best part might be that there is camping everywhere, the single track literally cuts through some of the camping sites. You can pitch a tent 15 feet from single track. It's not an easy ride by any means, there were a lot of hike a bike over some of the features and super technical sections, especially while trying to go up. The trails are all labeled (on the map) as to their difficulty rating which is pretty acurate for the most part but if you ride some of the advanced trails from the East side you can get in over your head riding the same on the West side where they are much much more technical. It's a good ride for beginners if they stay to the east but it would be straight up dangerous to bring them to the west side, it's a very fun but challenging ride for an intermediate rider (like myself), a truly advanced rider would have the time of their life out there.
I got a bunch of pictures of a bunch of fun stuff but it's nowhere near all of it. And as everyone knows, pictures have a way of a making things appear flat. The pictures are pretty awesome yet they do not do Curt Gowdy justice. I'm really looking forward to a few camping weekends out there next season when my full suspension Devinci build is done.
A couple other things worth mentioning, the amount of elevation gain from climbing is not much but the climbing you do is littered with technical challenges making it feel like you've climbed a lot more than you have. The parks altitude ranges from about 7,000 feet to 8,000 feet. You do need to pay to go in, it's $6 per out of state car and $4 for in state cars. You can also get large detailed trail maps pamphlets at the visitor center which I recommend doing. Most of the intersections are labeled with a number but it can be a bit difficult to navigate sometime. We had issues finding the trails in the hard stuff because it was so much rock and no worn in line, look for the reflectors and marker rocks attached to some of boulders that mark the trail (you'll see them in some of the pictures). We use the free smart phone app called "MTB Project" which has a recommended route riding there, thats basically what we followed for our ride but cut the end on the East side short to get home in time for dinner plans with some friends.
First the East side heading over to the west.
You get to the west and things start getting more rugged and fun.
Then you get into some of the expert trails and it starts to get a little ridiculous