BLM 7058 Corcoran Peak summit(u)

De Beque is not exactly like Fruita or Moab when you walk down Main Street. Here the lunch option here is sitting on a bench in front of the single small grocery store munching on a hopefully, no longer frozen burrito. There are no trendy restaurants, just idling pickup trucks across from the bench, while the drivers are inside the mail office catching up on the local news. But for this ride de Beque is too early as lunch stop. So let's assume we had breakfast instead and are ready to go, and now turn our attention to the scenery surrounding this town. There are similarities between De Beque and the formerly mentioned mountain biking destination towns.

To cut to the end, the ride around Corcoran Peak is my favorite Colorado Book Cliffs loop. It contains a short ridge section with far views onto multi colored cliffs and candle like rock formations. A quickly traversable double track trail following close to the crest of South Shale Ridge completes the panoramic experience.

01.(4910ft,mile00) START-END SOUTH-WEST: Colorado River Bridge, south of de Beque
02.(4930ft,mile01) turn right to Deer Park
03.(5750ft,mile12) stay right
04.(6710ft,mile23) first turn off to Bronco Flats on left, stay right
05.(7100ft,mile25) two turnoffs on left dead end, also the top on the Wild Horse Trail
06.(6900ft,mile27) take turnoff to Corcoran Peak trail on double track trail on right
07.(7470ft,mile28) TOP: high point below Corcoran Peak
08.(7120ft,mile29) left leads back into valley; stay right
09.(7320ft,mile30) trail joins a larger dirt road coming from down valley
10.(5650ft,mile44) BLM7058 joins South Dry Creek road
11.(5640ft,mile44) South Dry Fork joins Dry Fork. Continue straight.
12.(5100ft,mile50) Dry Fork joins Roan Creek. Turn right.
13.(4910ft,mile54) START-END SOUTH-EAST: same as 1

Approaches

From South-West. The profile shows the approach from de Beque to the top of Wild Horse Trail summit(u). See that page for a description to point 6. From there a steep double track trail turns right up towards Corcoran Peak. After the view shed changes towards South Dry Creek, various forks allow a quick descent north. But this profile stays on the ridge as much as possible. After a short section allowing views into the Colorado Valley, the through going route stays on the north side of the ridge with various spurs climbing to points on the ridge itself. The surface soon improves as the road picks up another more maintained route climbing  up from the valley.

 

From North. (described downwards): When the distinctive shape of Mount Logan comes back into view, you at least know you are heading in the right direction, on the average, even if repeated curves carve into the large bowls of South Shale Ridge. The repeated ups and downs along the ridge seem more tiring than the approach climb, since the net elevation change averages to 0. The route finally descends when it crosses a burn area where trees stick out like a black match stick forest. The route descends to the valley and picks up South Shale Road, which is also the principal approach for the Wild Horse Trail summit(u). When you think you're past all the small rolling hills, still more of them turn up while crossing dry washes.

When traversing this approach in the uphill direction, the turnoff from the valley onto BLM7058 is easy to miss. Even from a slow moving bicycle it looks just like any of the many dead ends going to gas wells. Going uphill on Dry Creek Road, take the South Dry Creek Fork option. The road makes two 90 degree turns to get around a guest ranch with two old carriages on display. Immediately afterwards, take the track descending to cross Dry Creek. If you look closely there may also be a downed sign stating Horse Trail mile 35, and BLM7058.

 

Dayride. a loop ride starting at the de Beque I70 exit, climbing Wild Horse Trail summit(u) as a shoulder point from the south, then continuing over this summit and descending on Dry Creek Road back to the starting point measured 57 miles with 6400ft of climbing in 6:2 hours, using a VDO MC1.0 cycle computer.(m3:7.09.30)