August 8, 2011
One of my many favorite trails is the Horsethief Bench Trail. Horsethief is part of the Kokopelli Loops system near Loma, Colorado. This loop is accessed by taking the Mary’s Loop trail from the large parking lot in McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. After climbing up Mary’s on the old two track jeep road the trail levels out for a bit and comes upon a view point of Horsethief Bench. Just past this viewpoint Horsethief trail starts on the left side where there is a small cattle guard crossing, it is about 1.6 miles to this point. There is a ‘Drop In’ to access the beginning of the loop from the rim. The drop in is very technical and for most riders will be a hike a bike section. After the drop in is a T intersection, turn left and ride the trail in a clockwise manner. The trail has a series of short ups and downs followed by a short and steep slick rock section. The next section has a great view of the Colorado River. The trail goes down a wash area that has a few fun drops, you’ll find out how well your full suspension works on this part of the trail. A short way after this is great spot to stop and check out the views of the numerous rock formations and the beginning of Rattlesnake Canyon just across the river. After this spot is a very scenic and fun section of this trail as it parallels the Colorado River. Next, there is a right hand bend in the trail that leads to another wash area that will also be a hike a bike section for most riders. After climbing out of this section the roller coaster ride continues as the trail makes it way around the bench. After some more fun riding, the trail exits a wash and starts a climb back to the T intersection for the hike back up to the rim—it is well worth the effort. The loop is about 3.6 miles.
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