Chaffee County Colorado Running Routes
Some Club Members regularly do.
(If you do not know where these are come and we will show you!)
Bear Creek Loop
Boss Lake Loop
River Run (3 bridges)
This is a pleasant, relatively flat, smooth & continuous loop above Salida. The loop is mainly on low traffic paved county roads. There are no road crossings or intersections to deal with, so it lends itself to uninterrupted running. There is only 550’ of climbing, with the same amount of descent.
The loop can be combined with other loops, and has a few other routes/loops that split off of it. The loop takes you past lakes, right next to the Arkansas River, through ranchlands, past the
historic Smeltertown smokestack, and offers great mountain views. Start the loop at the Sand Lake State wildlife area parking lot. This is located just NE of downtown
Salida by turning off Highway 291 onto CR 175. (Across the highway from the Hospital). The description/distances below are from the painted pedestrian crosswalk just west of Sand Lake on CR 175, doing the loop clockwise.
Clockwise directions starting from Sand Lake. Head upstream on wide gravel path next to river from CR 175 crosswalk next to the Bridge.
At .55 miles, path parallels road next to fence as paved shoulder for 200 yards before becoming gravel path between road and lakes again. Then parallel road/parking lot on gravel paths keeping Franz lake(s) on your right.
At 1.38 miles, leave gravel path and go between rocks to get on paved CR 160. At 3.01 miles, fork right onto CR 166. CR 166 drops down to cross bridge and becomes gravel. At 3.64 miles, turn right on paved CR 150. At 5.11 miles at the bottom of a little downhill, CR 150 turns sharply to the right (towards Smokestack) and then heads left. At 6.30 miles, turn right on CR 175 and cross bridge back to start.
Jog the half mile gravel path loop around Sand Lake to cool down. Beware of the Goose!
Altitude Friendly 5km
An accurate 5km has been marked off near Salida, and its point to point downhill (150+ foot net drop) and general with the wind direction will somewhat negate the slowing of the altitude here to a certain extent.
Every 500 meters of this route is marked (usually on the right side of the road or bike trail with blue then purple lines). It is all on low traffic paved roads with good visibility and/or separate bike/pedestrian trails.
Starting from Thonoff Park off west 3rd Street in Salida, jog out (warm up!) about 2 miles west/southwest on Poncha Blvd/County Road 120 to just past the County road 145 intersection. About 50 yards past this intersection on the North Side of the road is a blue/purple start.
You start this course out here, starting to run on CR 120 back to town. (reverse direction of warm up jog) Take the left turn onto CR 145 just after the start. About 900 meters along CR 145 you will see the blue 4 on the right side (1 kilometer down/4 to go). After this you come to a T intersection with CR 140. Turn right. For those of you that know it you are now between kilometers 6 and 7 of the Fibark 10km course.
Continue 800 meters on CR 140 to your next paved intersection with CR 144. Turn left on CR 144. About 100 meters on CR 144 is the 3km to go mark. You are now on the Fibark 5km course also. There is a wide paved shoulder on the right side of the road (part of the Salida Trail System). Use it.
CR 144 takes a sweeping banked right hand turn just after the half way mark. Stay on this road until it feeds into CR 160/Crestone Avenue. Take a right on Crestone Avenue or, better yet, on the separate Salida Trail/sidewalk section just to the right side of the road.
The 2km to go mark is 20 meters past the intersection of CR 144 and 160.
Continue on the Salida Trail/CR 160/Crestone avenue, passing the 1km to go mark near the middle point of the golf course.
The separate bike trail ends near the golf course clubhouse. Stay on the right side of wide Crestone Avenue as you pass an intersection with Grant Street coming in from your right (Caution! Although drivers will have a clear view of you for quite some distance)
You will veer right slightly down a little hill (still on Crestone Avenue) about 400 meters from the finish, which is painted on the road at Thonoff Park.
The simple directions, turning only at paved intersections with county roads: Start, left (on 145); right (on 140); left (on 144); right (on 160/Crestone Ave) and then on Crestone Ave to the finish.
Beware as the last 2 kilometers of the route will be under construction for a time this summer.
Banana Belt winter run on Cty Road 173, above Salida and behind Tenderfoot Mountain
Sand and Franz lakes.
From the F street bridge, head over across the tracks to the old paved road and head left/upstream/generally west. It is about 1.0 mile from the gap in the fence on F street until this road meets the better pavement of Co Rd. 175 at an intersection.
Keep heading straight/upstream (crossing rr tracks) for .234 miles on CR175 till you come to another intersection with a stop sign. Turn left here and go downhill, crossing the bridge over the river, until you hit the pedestrian crosswalk for part of the Salida Trail system in .1 miles.
Salida Aid Station #9
You have gone 1.334 miles from the North end of F street to this point.
Here, you can head left less than 100 feet through the gap in the guardrail until you hit the gravel trail around Sand lake. It is .445 miles around Sand lake on the trail (watch for ducks, geese, 2 little drainage ditches and fisherpersons).
At the pedestrian crossing, you could go right and head upstream on a nice gravel trail along the river.
From the pedestrian crossing on CR175 it is .489 miles until the trail turns right at the top of a hill by some big rocks to go parallel to CR 154.
The trail continues upstream along the edge of or just off CR 154. It is another..503 miles until you go up a little hill and around a corner to reach the SE corner of Franz Lake. (by the bench).
So it is almost exactly a mile between Franz and Sand Lakes via the trail.
Now you have numerous options.
One rectangular trail loop of the overflow pond you just passed east of Franz lake is .278 miles.
A loop of Franz lake itself is .60 miles.
Or continue straight .161 miles past the bench along the south shore of Franz lake till you hit another intersection. Going west here is a new trail section with very smooth footing which will loop back around an open field to join the Franz lake trail. This area was formerly used by the gun club. In the shape of a big "U" there is .451 miles (or `~795 yards) of new trail. Or about .60 miles (~1050 yards) using the new 'gun' trail and the west trail of Franz lake to form a loop.
There are various sections ( marked off with lines of rocks on the inner edge) of the gun trail measured in segments of 220 yards for those wishing to run faster intervals/repeats.