ATV trail riding in the back country is great but what I really enjoy is ATV technical riding and that is what I got to experienced on this ride. I joined six others just outside of Idaho Springs, Colorado to ride the trails of Saxton Mountain, but I was looking forward to riding the trail called Spring Creek or better known as Riding The Rock Garden.
The rock garden of Spring Creek is only about a quarter to a half of a mile long but in my opinion it is one of the top five technical riding areas in Colorado because of the size of the rocks and many choices of challenging lines you can take.
We arrived at the staging area around 9:00am and with temperatures in the high 40’s, sky’s were partly cloudy it was looking like a great day for riding. I have ridden this area several times in the past and I am always filled with anticipation and excitement for riding the rock garden.
It’s best to ride the rock garden early because it can get backed up with full size rock crawlers as the day goes on. On this day it was different, it was like we had the whole mountain to ourselves because we hardly saw anyone else the entire day.
Riding the rock garden requires mastering the three basic skills of ATV technical riding, Trust, Throttle/Brake Control and Balance. Learning to master these skills is what makes riding the rock garden so much fun.
We hit the trails about 9:30am and got to the rock garden about 10:30am. There was a light dusting of snow from the night before covering the rock garden adding to the overall challenge. We entered on the top side and rode down it first, slipping and sliding over some of the rocks. It was slow moving as we tried to pick the best, most challenging lines to go down.
We had lunch at the bottom and while eating lunch we could hear some full size vehicles coming up the trail from Georgetown, Colorado. We finished our lunch and proceeded back up the rock garden. This is where the snow posed the most challenge, making the rocks even more slick and fun.
With rocks this big you are going to bottom out from time to time and the snow kept the tires spinning trying to get a grip. Through a lot of rocking, wheel spinning and re-aligning the approach we all made it to the top where we took a break to talk and laugh about the perils of the rock garden.
We spent the rest of the day riding the trails of Saxton Mountain. Some of the trails had about 2 – 3 inches of snow on them providing the opportunity of some power sliding through some of the corners. The weather was beautiful with temperatures in the 50’s although the wind on top on the mountain was a little chilly.
It was great riding the trails because there was very little dust. On the way back to the staging area we were presented with one more challenge, a short little trail I had never been on. It went up a steep hillside with a steep fifty foot rock face at the end. Very Fun and a great way to end the day.
We got back to the staging area a little after 4:00pm. Another great day at Saxton Mountain with a great bunch of guys. For most of them this was their first time at Saxton, but based on the conversations at the staging area we will all be back for the challenge of Riding the Rock Garden.