Looking for an adventure, something off the beaten path, how about a little Type 2 fun? If you’ve answered yes to any of these then you should definitely check the rides in the Roaring Judy Area. The trails here are steep, rocky, technical, and sometimes a little hard to find, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its own style of charm. Beautiful aspen and evergreen groves, views that extend from Almont to the very top of the valley, and probably the best chance of any trail area to see wildlife like elk, mule deer, and black bears.
The trails here are often accessed or included in rides that originate in Cement Creek or Deadman’s Gulch, but an access off of Jack’s Cabin Cutoff Rd. will allow you to cut things shorter if you’re worried about weather or a potential epic. From the parking area at the top of Jack’s Cabin Rd. start climbing up the 4×4 road and bear left in the first 100yds. Another intersection a mile or so later will give you the option to go left or right. Right is the best option if you want to connect into Deadman’s Gulch, Cement Creek, or Doctor’s Park since the climb is a little steadier and follows a road. The left is your best option if you want to access the Eccher Trail, which is one of the best kept secrets for mountain biking in the whole valley. More on that though later.
Going up to the right is still not an easy climb. It’s steep and long, but mostly manageable climbing. It is an old mining road after all. Keep an eye out for old cabin foundations, mine adits, and other remnants of Gunnison Valley history. At the top of the first bit of climbing the road will end and the singletrack of Cement Mountain trail will begin. Not far after this trail sign you will pass the Roaring Judy trail on the left. You can ride down this if you’re looking for a loop, but most for most folks the path is straight. Continue the climb and go through the pass between East Cement Mt. and Cement Mt. and you will find yourself over in the Deadman’s Gulch area. Turning right on Rosebud Gulch will take you down to Spring Creek Rd. on some steep, loose trail frequented by the moto crowd. Straight will eventually bring you to Deadman’s Gulch Trail which extends from Spring Creek Rd. to Cement Creek Rd.
Going to the left at that original intersection, one mile up from Jack’s Cabin Rd. will lead you to the land of Eccher Trail, aka Granite Basin Trail. This trail is either a favorite or a least favorite. It is often difficult to find the start of the trail, and you can lose it in the middle as well. Hike-a-bike is often required in the second drainage you cross, but once you go through the saddle between Round Mt. and Cement Mt. the trail descends to Hwy. 135 on one of the best downhills the Gunnison Valley has to offer.
During the fall this trail is on fire with bright yellow aspens. This, or the early season in June, are the best times to ride Eccher. By the time the end of June hits the undergrowth is ridiculous, and makes an already difficult-to-navigate trail even more difficult.
At the end you have to be on the lookout for private property cutoff to the left. Access here is tenuous so if it looks like you’re headed into someone’s backyard, turn around! If you intend to ride this trail it’s recommended you have either a local guide, the CBGtrails.com map loaded into your phone, or map reading skills that put Eagle Scouts to shame.
Some people shuttle Eccher Trail between Roaring Judy and Hwy. 135, but if you’re in the mental and physical shape to tackle this trail it’s best as a complete loop. The total distance of this loop is approximately 12 miles if you skip the shuttle and ride it from Hwy 135 or Roaring Judy parking area.
The other loops and connections to the Roaring Judy area are no shorter than 20 miles and very strenuous. The local’s favorite is up the Deadman’s Gulch switchbacks, across on Cement Creek trail, downhill on Roaring Judy, and a screaming right onto Eccher in an unmarked field. Finish in CB South or Deadman’s Gulch Trailhead.
Trail Heads 2
- Deadman's Gulch
- 409 1/2
- Farris Creek
- Point Lookout
- Waterfall Creek
- Waterfall Creek