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Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Loop

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Basics
Location:
Telluride
Length:
20 - 40 miles
Aerobic Difficulty:
Moderate, Advanced
Time To Allow:
3+ hours
Trailhead Elevation:
7000 feet
Season:
July-September

Description

The Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Trail is one of the most spectacular, least traveled and demanding mountain bike trails in the Telluride area.

The Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Trail can be approached from several ways. Riders may choose to ride up the trail from Fall Creek Road to the top of Sunshine Mesa and the Sunshine Mesa Road, gaining 3700 vertical in twenty miles and returning the same way for a 40 mile ride. Or riders can car shuttle to the top of Sunshine Mesa Road and ride rolling singletrack for 12 miles before descending down the downhill section for the next 8 miles. In addition, the Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Trail may be accessed via other trails in the vicinity.

A map does come in handy when navigating here and there are areas where the trail does become faint due to summer vegetation growth. Riders on the Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Loop will enjoy riding through fields of wildflowers, gazing upon waterfalls and soaking in the surrounding scenery of the dramatic San Juan Mountains. Wilson and Sunshine Mesas sit below Mt. Wilson, elevation 14246 feet and the trail tops out at 10,000 feet.

For riders looking for a shorter trip, the Wilson Mesa Loop can be shuttled, cutting the distance in half.

Location:
Telluride
Length:
20 - 40 miles
Shuttled ride downhill. To ride up and down doubles distance to 40+ miles
Difficulty:
High elevation riding. Advanced aerobic difficulty if ridden both ways.
Aerobic Difficulty:
Moderate, Advanced
Time To Allow:
3+ hours
Depends on aerobic fitness and route taken.
Trailhead Elevation:
7000 feet
High elevation riding.
Season:
July-September
Additional Details:

The remoteness of the Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Trail make this an amazing destination for biking but can also make getting home after a mechanical failure or injury difficult. Make sure to include a good repair kit and medical kit with any trip here. In addition, the Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Trail is located in a mountain environment and temperatures can plummet with any sort of incoming weather so be sure to bring warm layers. The Wilson-Sunshine Mesa Trail area is multiple use area so bikers should understand right of way protocol when encountering hikers, trail runners, vehicles, horses and other users.

Basic Directions

For the end of the ride at Fall Creek Road, or the start of the up and back version, drive 14 miles west of Telluride on Highway 145. Look for Fall Creek Road. Take a left on Fall Creek Road and travel for almost 8 miles to the trailhead at Woods Lake.

For the start of the ride at Sunshine Road, take the Ilium Road from Telluride to the Sunshine Mesa Road. Drive to the top of the Sunshine Mesa Road and start on the trail by the dairy farm.

A map is a necessary piece of equipment on this ride. Pick one up in Telluride.

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