Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Phil's World: Amazing Mountain Biking near Cortez, CO

Seriously, if you mountain bike, you gotta come here! Phil's World (map) is a system of about 29 miles of trails just 4 miles East of Cortez, CO.

There's an incredible variety of hard packed single-track trails that are all one-way so you don't have to worry about rounding a corner into an oncoming rider. The trails are curvy and flowing and in some amazing sections: swoopy, roller coaster fun that makes you laugh out loud! The trail system sits at about 6500 ft elevation but the uphill segments are generally very short and not too steep. There are some rocky sections, little ledges that are mostly downhill and mostly rideable for the intermediate rider like myself (more expert riders, like Hans, just fly right over them).

There are ledge trails that reminded us of Gooseberry Mesa in Utah, and sweeping views of the La Plata Mountains, Mesa Verde, Mancos Valley, Cortez Valley. Even the burned out meadow we rode through was eerily beautiful and had some really fun flowy trail going on.

We rode a 14 mile loop, covering most of the perimeter of the trail system. We both felt this was the best mountain bike riding we have ever experienced and we thought the RIB CAGE section was AMAZING! Here is a sample video of someone riding the Rib Cage.

Almost immediately you are flowing through juniper and pinion pine.
Soon you are riding next to a shelf of sandstone formations.
I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the trail, the rocks were gorgeous
and I was also looking for evidence of the Ancient Puebloans!
Brilliant Collared Lizard.
Blooming cacti and snow capped mountains in the distance.
We're having a great time and we haven't even come to the most amazing sections of the trail yet!
Hans ahead of me on a ledge trail section.
Winding through the trees with some rocky step downs.
We rode through this hauntingly beautiful burned meadow, with glorious patches of orange and yellow flowers.
We entered the Vertebrae trail section: swoopy, curvy, roller coaster awesomeness!
Catchin' Hans on a downhill!
There were vertebrae at the start and vertebrae at the end!
Then another ledge section with fantastic views!
Looking back at a rock step down section.
Then we entered the Rib Cage section! This is one of many roller coasters!
More Rib Cage, with a view!
The whole section was really fast and rolly and exciting!


  1. I am stoked to go to Cortez now!!! Hadn't heard of that trail. THANK YOU!
    Box Canyon Mark

  2. Amazing indeed - looks like a great trail! Thanks.

  3. Now this makes me actually want to mountain bike. Looks like great fun. You did a great job getting pictures. Love the cactus blooming!!!

  4. We are so ready to do this! It looks great.