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A beautiful hiking trail winding along the hillside through towering rock formations.


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Map Key

6.2

Miles

10.1

KM

Out and Back

7,701' 2,347 m

High

7,581' 2,311 m

Low

458' 140 m

Up

457' 139 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

11%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Overview

North Backbone is a rough, rocky trail that winds along the hillside on the northern end of the Arkansas Hills trail system. The easy access from CR 175 and the fact that it's no longer a very popular mountain bike trail make this an attractive hike that doesn't start from F Street Bridge like most everything else in Salida.

Need to Know

The parking area on Ute Trail is small, but can accommodate several cars. While the Arkansas Hills trail system is very heavily used by mountain bikers, North Backbone generally doesn't see as much mountain bike traffic.

Description

This out-and-back hike on the North Backbone Trail begins from the small parking area on CR 175/Ute Trail. Thanks to this upper trailhead, North Backbone is an attractive hiking trail as it offers a welcome change of pace from the plethora of routes that all begin at the F Street Bridge trailhead.

After hiking up a short climb from the trailhead, the trail begins to roll along the hillside, with flat sections punctuated by short climbs and descents. If hiking from the CR 175 trailhead all the way to the junction with FS 173, the trail will mostly trend downhill, meaning you'll have to do a bit more climbing on the way back. However, with just 458 feet of climbing and descending along the entire 6.2-mile round-trip hike, this is still a very mellow hike overall.

Despite the lack of elevation gain, the trail tread can be very rough and rocky in places. However, all technical challenges are fairly easy to overcome.

In the middle of the trail, the rock formations get dramatically larger, with several picturesque sections of singletrack winding along cliffsides and past rocky towers. These unique geological formations help make North Backbone a must-do Salida hike.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Heil

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2193

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#348

in Colorado

#2,193

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Photos

View of S Mountain from North Backbone.
Apr 15, 2024 near Salida, CO
Traversing below a small rock cliff.
Apr 15, 2024 near Salida, CO
Just around.
Jan 5, 2024 near Salida, CO
High desert flowing.
Jan 5, 2024 near Salida, CO

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