(Last Updated On: August 17, 2017)
I’ve been bugging my buddy Eric Freson for the past couple of summers to show me a ride that he likes to do in the Fossil ridge area Northeast of Gunnison. 8/5 was going to be the day- until that morning, when he called to tell us that it rained all night in Gunnison and that loop was likely to be a sloppy mess. Since Brittany and I were already loaded up and about to head towards Tom Runcie’s house to pick him up, we figured we would head towards Gunnison anyway and go from there. After some gas-station side discussions, we decided to head back towards the Needle Creek area to check out Right Hand and Barrett, and maybe even North Gulch. I’d ridden these trails years ago, but I certainly couldn’t remember the exact route that I took, so it was going to be exploration for all of us.
We parked just below the Needle Creek reservoir and quickly started up the Right Hand creek trail. This was the one section of trail that I knew pretty well, having ridden it twice. It starts off nicely before getting steep and loose and most of us had to hike-a-bike except for Tom with his giant lungs, legs, and dinner-plate sized gear on his cassette. Next up, we had a short descent on Right Hand:
We made our way to North Gulch, and after a short climb we had another descent. North Gulch has some great downhill sections, slightly technical but with the ability to play with the trail features.
Next up came a long cimb on North Gulch. While there was definitely some hike-a-bike, there was one long and beautiful stretch of trail that was as close to a perfect ascent as you can get. We topped out and then did a quick out and back to right Hand so we were sure to get all of our Traliquest miles. Barrett Creek was next- and this is a great trail if you’re looking to ride something different. It was so fun we barely took any photos- but here’s one of Brittany:
Our day wasn’t quite done- we had another climb on doubletrack to get back to Needle Creek reservoir, passing some cool rock formations on the way:
All in all, this was a great ride with a lot of vertical and multiple high-quality descents that leaned technical. We’ll go back to this one for sure. Here’s the map to help you make sense of it all: