OverviewBuffalo Creek includes the first 3 sections of the Colorado Trail (depending on if you start in Waterton Canyon), as well as significant portions of the Pike National Forest. Also, Pine Valley Ranch Open Space Park enters the northern end of it just outside the town of Pine. There is a Forest Service Ranger Station in the town of Buffalo Creek as well. More than 50 miles of excellent biking exists in this area, almost all of it on fast, mostly non-technical singletrack.
All of the trails in the area are multi-use. You will likely encounter equestrians, hikers, Colorado Trail through-hikers, and other bikers. The FR roads (while you can ride them, are not recommeded) can have motorcycles, OHVs, and cars/trucks. This area is under the jurisdiction of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, should problems or trouble arise. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best.
NEW 2011 - The new trails, Raspberry Ridge and Blackjack Trails are complete, and officially open. Blackjack is the first true "freeride" trail in the Front Range, and is extremely technical. Be advised, scope your lines before you ride the line.
NEW 2013 - Nice Kitty Trail - 3.5 miles, 1000' of gain/descent. Trail connects the (closed) FS543 road to Buffalo Burn Trail, which, in turn, connects to the CT at the FS550 parking lot. Awesome, smooth grades and fun to climb or descend.
COMING (hopefully ) NEXT YEAR - 2014 - With some optimistic planning and trail work, COMBA, FRMBP, and the USFS will be building a new trail ringing Little Scraggy Peak, which will be accessed from the Colorado Trail. Primarily, it will utilize some existing old logging road double track on the east side of the peak, then ring around on the south and circle back north to another old trail/road and reconnecting with the Colorado Trail. Check out COMBA and FRMBP for upcoming trail days and planning.
This area has been involved in 3 very large forest fires, one of which (Hayman burn) was the biggest in Colorado's history. They are:
The destruction of the fires persists. After the fires, seemingly on cue, the area was subjected to massive flooding. The area has been slow to recover, but maintains a beauty of its own.
Getting ThereFrom Denver:
Take Highway 285 west to the town of Pine Junction, where it intersects with CO-126. From there, head south to the town of Pine. If you want to start at the JCOS PVROSP, stop right before town - the road to the OSP is on your right, .2 miles outside town. Continue through Pine, and you have 2 options here - park at the (free, but no bathrooms) Forest Service Station @ FR 543 TH, or continue on up through the town of Buffalo Creek and head uphill to the Long Scraggy TH, FR 550 intersection on your right hand side. There is a day-use fee here for parking. I believe it is $5, but it includes a pit toilet (NO WATER AVAILABLE).
If you want to ride Section 1 (from the Section 2 TH), you can turn east at Buffalo Creek, following the North Fork of the South Platte river to the old town of South Platte. Continue east then south (now going up the main fork of the South Platte) for about 1 mile to reach the Gudy Gaskill TH and the Gudy Gaskill Bridge.
If you are interested in accessing the newest trails (Raspberry Ridge and Blackjack) via the "easiest option, proceed on 285 to Bailey, and turn down CR68/FR 549 to get to the Miller Gulch TH.
Edit: 8.24.08 - there is a new free parking area on 543 about .25 miles in from HWY 126. This parking area saves you from having to cross 126 to and from the road, which is good for safety. Recently, they have installed a port-o-let as well.
From Colorado Springs:
Take Hwy 24 west and north to Hwy 67, taking that north to Hwy 126. This takes about 1.25 hours+.
Red TapeNone, although hunting and target practice take place within Pike N.F., so it isn't impossible that you will hear gunshots. There is no driving/parking on South Buffalo Creek Road (formerly FR 543).
Please, if you see any sign of a new fire, PLEASE report it to the Forest Service ASAP. Wildland Fire Crews will deal with it promptly if reported promptly.
Also, please bring enough water and supplies with you - spare parts, tubes, etc. You can be a long way from assistance. Best to know how to change a tube and do minor repairs yourself before you embark on an epic 20+ miler down in B.C.
External LinksFront Range Mountain Bike Patrol has a fantastic map of the entire area HERE.
Jefferson County Open Space has park info for Pine Valley Open Space Park (large facilities) HERE.
The Forest Service has decent info for the area HERE.
CampingThere are several spots within PNF that allow camping - Buffalo Creek CG, Baldy CG, etc. Best to check in with them for fees. I don't believe you can reserve campground spots (first come, first serve).
Water (potable, but not necessarily treated) is available at the Campgrounds. Beverages and food may be purchased in Pine. There is one tiny gas station and convenience store in Buffalo Creek, at Foxton Road and 126 in a small cobblestone building.
When to RIDE!!!
Mid-summer, mid-day temps can be brutal. There is mixed forest, so some shade is available. Often, we jump in Buffalo Creek to cool down in the midst of summer. Afternoon thunderstorms can be severe, and you can often be 10 miles or more from the car - carry your extra gear.
You can ride in the area from late spring to late fall/early winter. The trails keep snow for a while in mid-winter, but you can bike down in the area 9-10 of the 12 months of the year.