Cade Mountain Introduction

The Cade Mountain Trail Network is about 10 miles out of Pagosa Springs.  It is an intermediate elevation ride:  both trailheads are around 8500' in elevation and the top of Cade Mountain is 9320'.  When the lower elevation ponderosa country starts getting toasty, this area should have dried out and be cooler and lusher.

This should NOT be considered a beginning mountain biker's ride - partly because the trails are rough, uneven game trails and partly because the climbing can make pretty heavy demand on legs and lungs.  Often the trails can get overgrown and be difficult to follow.  It would be best if your first trip there was with someone familiar with the trails.

Several route options are described below.  Suggest that you begin at the 4-mile trailhead until you are familiar with the area.



Note:  You can also download and print this map (and trail notes) using the attached PDF files at the bottom of this page.


Driving Instructions to Cade Mountain:  

At the westernmost of the two stoplights in downtown Pagosa Springs (by the Subway), turn north onto Lewis Street and then immediately left again onto N. 5th Street.  5th Street becomes 4-Mile Rd/CR 400.  Drive up this road for 8.9 miles to a fork in the road:  Plumtaw Rd. (USFS 661) going left and 4-Mile Rd. (CR 400) going right. 

To get to the Plumtaw Road Trailhead, turn left at the above junction for 1.9 miles.  Park off the road on the left.  The trail starts across the road on the right (see Google Map at the right).

To get to the 4-Mile Road Trailhead, turn right at the above junction for 1.6 miles.  Park along the right side of the road.  The trail starts across the road on the left (see Google Map at the right). 

 
Note:
Be aware that the Cade Mountain Trail Network does NOT have any directional signage.  This is a local “social trail.”  Go there with a Boy Scout mindset:  be prepared with map, compass, GPS, extra clothing, cell phone, water and whatever else you’ll need to stay safe in the forest.


 

Trail Notes for the easiest ride from the 4-Mile Road Trailhead:

  1. Follow the trail on the left bank of Dutton Ditch for three miles, then turn down a short hill to Plumtaw Road.
  2. Turn left on Plumtaw Road and ride to the intersection with 4-Mile Road.
  3. Turn left on 4-Mile Road and follow it back to your vehicle.

Notes for a more difficult ride from the 4-Mile Road Trailhead:

  1. Follow the East-Side Road for 1.84 miles where there is a fork in the road.  Take the left fork.
  2. Continue for another 1.12 miles where the trail takes a left turn off the main trail.  This is point “J” on the map.  Look for cuts through logs.
  3. In another .64 miles you reach the top of Cade Mountain.  Don’t expect a sharp, peaked summit.  The high point is an open meadow where the trail finally stops climbing.  This is your rest break area and where you should turn around.  The map shows a route that would complete a loop, but this route is not ready to ride.
  4. Turn around and retrace your route back to your vehicle.


Trail Notes for the Plumtaw Trailhead to Cade Mountain Summit:

  1. Ride 1.89 miles from point “A” to point “B.”  This is the old USFS Road 634-G.
  2. Here you have the option of going right and doing the “B-C-D” loop over to the East-Side Road or continuing a bit further where the trail turns left (Elk Pond Crossover) which takes you to the East-Side Road at point “E.”
  3. If you choose the “B-C-D” loop, you will descend to the edge of Dutton Ditch (“C” on the map) and will climb again to get to the East-Side Road.  The trail is faint in several places so pay close attention.  If you lose the trail, retrace your steps a ways and try again.  This segment is 1.17 miles long.
  4. The Elk Pond Crossover is a little over a half-mile long and is easier to follow.
  5. When you reach the East Side Road (both options), turn left.
  6. At one point along this trail the road forks (.88 mile from “D” and .35 mile from “E”).  Take the left fork.
  7. Two miles from “D” (1.47 miles from “E”) the trail takes a left turn off the main trail.  This is point “J” on the map.  Look for cuts through logs.
  8. In another .64 miles you reach the top of Cade Mountain.  Don’t expect a sharp, peaked summit.  The high point is an open meadow where the trail finally stops climbing.  This is your rest break area and where you should turn around.  The map shows a route that would complete a loop, but this route is not ready to ride.
  9. Turn around and retrace your route back to your vehicle.

Trail Notes for an easier loop from Plumtaw Trailhead:

  1. Follow the above Trail Note until you reach the East-Side Road.
  2. Turn right on East-Side Road until you reach 4-mile Road (a wide, graveled road).
  3. Turn right on 4-mile road for a few yards and you will see a canal/water ditch on your right.  Look for “Water Pipeline” signs.
  4. Follow the left side of the ditch (Dutton Ditch) for three miles.
  5. Just before the ditch ends, take a left turn that will shortly drop you down onto Plumtaw Road.
  6. Turn right up Plumtaw Road and return to your vehicle.
The maps below show the Trailhead locations for both the Plumtaw Road and 4-Mile Road Trailheads accessing the 
Cade Mountain Network of Trails.
 
Note:  You should be able to manipulate the Google map, below, to zoom in, click and drag, and see different terrain, earth or satellite images.
 

Plumtaw Road Trailhead


 

4-Mile Road Trailhead


 
Note:  To download and print the map below (and/or the route) instructions see the attached PDF files at the bottom of this page.
 

 

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Tom Steen,
Jun 9, 2010, 9:23 AM
Ċ
Tom Steen,
Jun 9, 2010, 9:23 AM
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