In addition to touring routes, Saguache offers some great back-country trails. Mountain bikers come from near and far to ride the thrills and chills of the foothills and mountains. Penitente Canyon Recreation Area has a stunning loop, with unbelievable rock formations. The Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail both wind through the La Garita and San Juan Mountains.
A favorite of touring cyclists, Saguache County is flat with little traffic on the valley floor. Many groups and individuals come through each year; here is an excerpt from one such travelogue:
From the top of Poncha Pass, it was a straight descent toward a small town called Villa Grove. There was little wind, so it was fast and fun. We arrived in less than a half hour, and had lunch at the Sangre de Cristo Cafe in the back of the general store, Villa Grove Trade. Next we came to the town of Moffat where we stopped for coffee in an unexpected jewel of an art gallery/gift shop called the Mirage Trading Co. This tasteful shop set us behind at least an hour…that is, if we were on a schedule. Our ride into Crestone from Moffat on County Road T was approximately 12 miles of stunning beauty. The riparian landscape aligning the quiet, winding road beheld a variety of lowland birds, such as grey heron and yellow headed blackbirds. At this point, the looming Sangre de Cristo range dwarfed everything beneath them, and we faced these dramatic vistas all the way to Crestone. We found our oasis at the Baca Lodge, a bed and breakfast which offered the perfect resting point after our 60-mile journey. We treated ourselves to a local massage and had dinner delivered by Caddy- Shack Pizza, and never left our quarters until the morning. After a delicious breakfast at the Baca Lodge, we bid farewell and pointed our bikes back to CO 17 (12 miles). The wind gods were on our backs, as we spun down the highway in a bicycling formation, averaging 23 miles per hour all the way to the town of Center (17 miles from Moffat to Hooper, then 12 miles from Hooper to Center). The feeling of cranking hard, getting into arhythm, drafting behind or pulling in front of the line of bicyclists was a completely different experience than pushing up big mountains. Passing through working ranches, the UFO Watch Tower, and endless fields of agriculture, the mind was free to wander and it was exhilarating. The entire ride was filled with great experiences, and we realized how lucky we were.
– Lauren Giusti
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