You’ve been hearing rumors for almost a year. A new trail system, maybe somewhere near Black Hawk? And something about bike only trails? Well, the wait is over! BMA and the Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA) are stoked to announce the opening of the new Maryland Mountain trail system!
Located 30 miles west of Boulder in the heart of Colorado’s gold rush hills, the City of Black Hawk sits in an area full of trail potential and mining-era riches. The City acquired the 600-acre property just north of town to create the Maryland Mountain Quartz Valley Park and have successfully built approximately 12 miles of trail for hiking, trail running and mountain biking – including intermediate/advanced bike-only downhill trails!
COMBA got involved during the design & construction phase and successfully advocated for the addition of four bike-only, downhill-directional trails to the master plan. Longtime BMA member and super volunteer Troy Mandery is helping design the green flow trail and Mike Rutter, BMA’s new full-time Trails Program Director, is assisting with building the trails and designing a new blue downhill line. Volunteers like YOU can get involved in building and maintaining these awesome new trails.
COMBA and BMA contributed more than 2,800 volunteer hours to the project lead by the tireless COMBA duo of Rod Johnson and David Knox. Thanks to the more than 60+ BMA and COMBA volunteers that have contributed!
Nate Hills joined us for a couple laps earlier this week and you can see the footage on this week’s #followcamfriday online now:
Join us Memorial Day weekend for the grand opening of the first of the bike-only trails! Dubbed Hard Money, this new trail starts at Maryland Mountain’s 9,200′ peak and falls nearly 1,000′ over 2 miles on forested singletrack. With some good weather and hard work, we may also have most of the Green Flow trail open that weekend as well. Don’t you want to start your holiday weekend off right with some awesome new bike trails?
BMA works hard to provide Boulder County mountain bikers with awesome trails. Maryland Mountain is a great example of your membership and donation dollars working hard to add real, tangible value to our local mountain biking scene.
MARYLAND MOUNTAIN PROJECT STATS
- Project Type: New trail system
- User Groups: Mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners
- Difficulty: Easy – Advanced
- Distance: Approx. 12 Miles
- Nature: Singletrack
- Status: Open to the public Memorial Day weekend
The Maryland Mountain Quartz Valley Park hosts 12 miles of multi-use trails and will be home to 4 downhill-only, bike-only trails by 2022.
KEY TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS:
Originating from the saddle between the two Maryland Mountain peaks where all of the bike-only downhill trails start, Hard Money is a fast and furious blue-black trail that alternates between smooth rhythm sections with quite tall berms and quick rocky tech features and throws in some substantial jump options to get some air time. Dropping almost 1,000 feet in 2 miles on a bike-only directional trail is sure to get your endorphins rushing and your face grinning. There are several easter eggs along the way so keep an eye out for the black level b-lines.
The Millsite Trail provides the eastern and northern perimeter route through the most densely forested part of this park. Much of the first half of the trail tracks along the creek and is a pleasantly shady place to do your climbing. The tread is very accommodating and there are few technical challenges, but it is designated as an intermediate trail. While it is only an average grade of 6.4%, there are some punchy sections and climbing corners that will add to your workout. This is the preferred climbing route from the Hidden Treasure Trailhead and the fastest way to the downhill trails when completing your climb to the summit via Easy Money. Be sure to check out the short overlook spur trail that gives a birds-eye view of the Missouri Canyon about ¾ of the way up.
This is the main climbing trail for bikes to access the summit of Maryland Mountain. Built to make for an easy climb, Easy Money is the backbone of this trail system. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend any significant time on Maryland Mountain without utilizing this trail. The lower portions are a solid green, beginner-level experience that gradually grows more challenging as you climb to the summit. All singletrack, it becomes more of an intermediate trail towards the upper portion with some unavoidable rock challenges and climbing switchbacks. Take your time and remember to look to the west for simply awesome views of the Continental Divide.
Paymaster provides a singletrack alternative to the Quartz Valley trail. Meandering past more historic remnants of the mining era, this trail is a bit more suited to hiking than biking with some very tight switchbacks. Enjoyable beginner to intermediate trail with some steeper grades that require more effort than the double-track below. The highlight of this trail is an old cabin that sits right next to the trail. Keep a close eye out for the “bush jump” as you get closer to the Easy Money trail.
Built with bikes in mind, this trail is multi-use and bidirectional but is most fun ridden downhill with a couple of challenging alternate lines that make the intermediate experience just a little more interesting. All singletrack, it has a good flow and makes a great intermediate loop with the Paymaster and Easy Money trails. The highlight of this trail is a b-line rock garden that leads to a triple-drop section before blending back into the mainline.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to start developing your downhill trail skills or you’re just looking for something fast and smooth without a lot of drama or exposure, Green Flow has an easy tread with small rollers and inviting berms. It starts up top with the other bike-only trails and heads down through the woods to emerge into the northwestern meadow areas with expansive views of the Continental Divide. The main feature of this trail will be the flyover bridge that lifts Green Flow over the traffic on Easy Money as you head for the open spaces.
A true hiking trail that gets right to the point, summiting. It rises over 900 feet in 1.3-miles on the southern-facing areas of the mountain. Designated hiking-only, you’ll find a truly enjoyable hike or run up a well-built trail that offers great views of Black Hawk first and then the wonderful western view-shed of the Colorado Rockies. Passable and open most of the year.
Historic Gilpin Tramway:
The Historic Gilpin Tramway graded surface serves as the southern perimeter of the trail system. The Tramway surface is approximately 48” in width, with grades generally under 4%, making this trail accessible to everyone. Walkers, runners, strollers, leashed pets and kids on bikes will all enjoy the 2.7 mile route. The compacted surface and gentle grades also allow accessibility to persons with physical disabilities.
Get Me to the Downhill!: Millsite to Easy Money to Hard Money
Best Green/Blue Route: Tramway to Quartz Valley to Easy Money to Paymaster to Tramway
Best Bang for the Buck: Millsite to Easy Money to Claim Jumper to Paymaster (north) back to Easy Money to Hard Money
Full Maryland Mountain Tour: Tramway to Quartz Valley to Easy Money to Claim Jumper to Paymaster to Tramway to Millsite to Easy Money to Hard Money
NEED TO KNOW:
- Park hours dawn to dusk
- Leashed pets welcome
- Class 1 e-bikes allowed
- Hidden Treasure Trailhead