Conejos County offers miles of forest service roads that make for great biking. Also, there are wider roads and trails both for families and the more independent adventurer. Miles of unexplored territory await you. Bring your bike, grab a topo map and take a ride.
For an overview of the territory, view the zoomable Rio Grande National Forest Visitor Map — Middle Region .
You may want to stock up on energy food and supplies in Antonito and drive highway 17 into the Conejos Canyon. If you want to start in the mountains, drive to the small town of Horca and take the dirt road to Platoro Reservoir. You might experience a few cars every now and then, but you’ll also see the heart of the Canyon. If climbing isn’t your interest, explore the valley roads around Antonito, Manassa, La Jara, Sanford, Mogote and Fox Creek. County roads crisscross the flatlands and provide you with a great workout as well as a close up view of our county at a less challenging altitude.
For some rugged mountain biking try the following trails: (taken from Colorado’s San Luis Valley Mountain Bike Guide printed by Colorado’s San Luis Valley Tourism Council).
1. Cumbres-Toltec Loop: Easy / 2-4 hours / 13.2 miles
Access: Take Hwy 285 south through Antonito. At the intersection of Hwy 17 & 285, turn left on 285. Immediately after crossing the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad tracks, turn right on Road 12.5. Travel for 1.2 miles and turn right onto Road E5. Park off either Road E5A or BLM 5035.
Nearest Food/Water: Antonito
Surfaces Encountered: 4WD road, dirt road and blacktop.
Comments: This is scenic and easy ride along a high mountain mesa. Riders are rewarded with excellent views of the San Luis Valley, San Juan Mountains, and small stands of ponderosa pine and aspen. The ride is recommended as an “out and back”, though a loop is provided for those short on time.
0.0: Begin ride on 4WD track leading west on BLM road 5035.
1.1: Go through fence/gate.
2.4: Go through fence/gate.
5.6: Cross railroad tracks.
6.1: Junction, Road E5A.
6.2: Cross railroad tracks.
6.6: Dead end, return to junction with road E5A. You can return on BLM road 5035 or on Road E5A.
Return directions from Road E5A
0.0: Road E5A
1.0 Aspen Grove
2.8: Cross railroad tracks.
7.1: Intersect Road E5, turn left.
8.1: Return to vehicle
2. Emory Orr: Moderate / 4-6 hours / 26.0 miles
Access: Take US Hwy 285 to Romeo. Turn east on Hwy 142 to BLM 5006, about 4 miles east of Manassa. Start ride here. To shorten the ride, other starting points are BLM 5005 and 5010.
Nearest Food/Water: Manassa
Surfaces Encountered: Dirt road, gravel road and blacktop
Comments: This ride gives you an excellent view of the Rio Grande and the San Luis Hills. There are no difficult technical sections or drastic altitude changes; however, it is quite long.
0.0: Begin ride at intersection of BLM 5006 & Hwy 142.
4.5: Intersection, BLM 5005, turn right (south).
9.8: Intersection, gravel county road, turn left (east).
11.8: Intersection, (Lobotos Bridge) BLM 5010, turn left (north).
19.0 Intersection, Hwy 142, turn left (west) use caution if riding Hwy 142 to BLM 5005.
20.7: Intersection, BLM 5005, turn left (south). Return to vehicle by BLM 5006 (west).
26.0 Return to vehicle.
3. Los Mogotes: Difficult / 4-6 hours / 12.9 miles
Access: From the intersection of State Hwys 17 & 285, proceed west 6.4 miles to BLM 5048. Turn right onto BLM 5048 and travel 1.7 miles to parking at the junction of BLM 5048 and BLM 5051.
Nearest Food/Water: Antonito
Surfaces Encountered: 4WD road and dirt road.
Comments: The mileage log listed with this ride is moderately difficult. For those wanting a more technical and extreme challenge, take BLM 5051 to intersect with BLM 5050. It is recommended that you use a USGS map when riding this route (Fox Creek USGS map).
0.0: Intersection of BLM 5048 & 5051.
0.3: Intersection at cattle guard. 0.4: Intersection at BLM 5048, stay right.
0.8: Intersection, stay left.
1.3: Intersection, stay left.
2.6: Intersection, stay right.
4.2: Intersection, stay right.
4.4: Intersection at BLM 5045, turn left.
6.6: Intersection of BLM 5051 & 5050 (Return same route)