In Salida CO’s backyard you will find an amazing year-round trail system. From town it doesn’t look like much, but get out on the trails and you will find rock formations, sand, cliff overhangs & panoramic views of the 14ers west of Salida, CO.

With so many trail options, there’s a trail for everyone. We decided on North Backbone Trail.

Hiking trail, Colorado, Salida colorado, Arkansas Trail System, Biking, MTB Trails, snowshoeing

Views of Colorado’s 14ers on North Backbone Trail

It’s New Years Day and the temperature feels like the beginning of spring. Not a speck of snow anywhere. (unusual!) North Backbone Trail is the longest trail we found on the Arkansas Hills Trail System Map. We accessed the Trailhead on CR 175 (Ute Trail) and soon realized…

Salida was going to be a glorious destination to start the New Year.

Just a few other hikers about, the Trailhead was well marked, and we found easy parking. A single track trail leading to what we found later to be many unexpected surprises along the way.

Salida Mountain Trails, Hiking, Biking, singletrack, Arkansas Hills Trail System, Colorado

North Backbone Trail is full of surprises for both hikers & mountain bikers

Twists, turns, rocks, views were around every bend. Certainly more than expected when we first started out on an open rocky hillside amoung pinion and pine trees.

You will go around one bend and be in deep shade amoung tall boulders and head up the trail into brilliant sunlight and wrap around views of snow covered peaks.

We lingered on quite a few rock croppings, leaning against the boulders, soaking up the sun.

Hiking, biking, MTB, singletrack, Arkansas Hills Trail System, day Hike, Colorado

Salida Mountain Trails, Hiking, Biking, Trail Running, Salida, Colorado

As always it was a Colorado Day with unexpected temperatures. What felt warm in the late morning turned quite cool when the wind moved more frequently as the afternoon sun lowered.

North Backbone Trail ends at 3.2 miles and combines with several other trails. At this point we headed back the way we came. Making our hike an out and back about 6.5 miles total.

Hiking, biking, singletrack, MTB, Colorado hikes, family hikes, Salida CO, day hike,

Salida Mountain Trails, Not-to-be-missed Singletrack, MTB

North Backbone Trail connects with various other trails within the Arkansas Hills Trails System AKA Tenderfoot Trails, which is easily accessed from town. Even in winter this area seems to stay sunny and mostly snow free.

TIDBIT: Open to dogs, horses, hikers & bikers.

A thumbs up day hike!

NOTE: Arkansas Hills Trail System is known for its singletrack. An extremely popular area for mountain bikers. The trails are busy in the summer months. Looking for solitude, try winter.

For a great resource to the endless outdoor opportunities in Salida, CO and surrounding Chaffee County check out their Chamber of Commerce

Want solitude? 22 miles from Salida, CO on Monarch Pass is Waterdog Trail, one of our favorite secret hiking spots! For a weekend backpacking trip or an amazing day hike.