Trail Run Project Logo

School Bus Loop

 2 votes

12.6 Miles 20.2 Kilometers

 

93% 

Runnable

80%

Singletrack

1,451' 442 m

Ascent

-1,451' -442 m

Descent

9,575' 2,918 m

High

8,612' 2,625 m

Low

4%

Avg Grade (3°)

20%

Max Grade (11°)

All Clear

74 days agoUpdate

An intermediate/difficult, quiet run (save a few mountain bikers) that features an abandoned 1950s-era school bus.

Joe Holvey

Overview

School Bus Loop is an intermediate/difficult 12.6 mile run with stunning mountain vistas, quiet wooded sections, and subalpine meadows rife with wildflowers. This run functions as a great alternative to those found closer to Boulder. Although slightly challenging, one is rewarded with a great view of the Indian Peaks around 1.2 miles into the run (a good lunch or snack spot), and a spectacular meadow at mile 4. The run derives its name from the abandoned school bus that can be found between miles 6.5 and 7.

This run also sees relatively low traffic, so it is likely you'll have it to yourself, although you may encounter a few mountain bikers. It is quite easy to get turned around on this loop, so it is wise to have a trail description or the Trail Run Project mobile app handy.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Spring — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know

A spooky, abandoned 1950s era school bus is located between 6.5 and 7 miles, lending the run its name. The Sundance Cafe is a great spot to grab a bite to eat following the run, or a quick coffee to fuel up beforehand!

Runner Notes

School Bus Loop is a great place for an intermediate/difficult trail run. With a significant amount of climbing, expect your legs to be pumped but endorphins to be high! Bring some water and a light snack to avoid bonking.

Description

Parking is available on CR 132 West , directly across from Magnolia Road.

Follow CR 132 West for approximately 1/2 mile, and look for an electrical box on your left. 10 yards past the electrical box, the run begins on a trail named Re-Root #927. It is smooth and mellow with a few roots thrown in as you run through the trees. After about 5-10 minutes of running, you'll descend to a small creek rife with aspen trees, and with a slightly loose wooden crossing. Immediately after the crossing, the terrain becomes rooted and rocky for the next 50 yards.

After this slightly more technical portion, the trail becomes refreshingly smooth singletrack that emerges in a meadow with spectacular views of the Indian Peaks. This is a great spot to take a snack or water break, either on the way in or out (you'll pass this point twice). Continue on this trail, and it will appear to end on a 355 just south of CR 132 West.

Follow this smaller road for approximately 1/2 mile, and turn left to remain on it. This road is largely open with great views of the surrounding mountains. Continue straight for another 1/2 mile until the road ends at an intersection (near the YMCA Camp Ora-Penn). The trail is immediately to your left, across the road. This next section is Lost Meadow #355.

From this point, the trail becomes loose and rocky for about 300 yards. After the rocky section, the trail opens up at the top of the hill. Stay left to remain on the trail. Follow for approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile, and stay right at the fork to continue climbing. Follow this trail for the next 1 1/2 miles.

After the first mile of this stretch, the trail opens up to a gorgeous meadow that is filled with wildflowers in early to mid-summer, and patches of aspen. Following the meadow, the climb becomes steep and features an abundance of roots. Exercise caution as the roots may be wet and slippery.

Once the climb tops out, you'll descend and meet 503. Stay left and follow the road for approximately 1/4 mile. The trail continues just down the hill to your right in the form of the School Bus Cut-off. This can be difficult to see and easy to miss. Follow this section until a wooden barricade blocks your passage, and turn left to climb up through a tight aspen grove.

After about another mile, the reason for the run's name becomes apparent (if you look for it). A small shoot-off trail leads to an abandoned 1950s-era school bus. Be careful when exploring this area, as there may be broken glass and other sharp objects.

Follow this trail for another 3/4 mile, and the trail intersects with the dirt road 355. To your right, the trail leads to a sign detailing the routes in the area. Follow the trails named Hobbit 1 #927 and Hobbit 2 #927, although you start on Hobbit 2 #927. Both Hobbit trails are relatively loose and rocky, so mind your ankles.

Stay on the trail as you cross two Forest Service roads, and meet the first trail of the run: Re-Root #927. Follow Re-Root #927 the way you came to arrive back at the parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Lodgepole and ponderosa pine are abundant, with touches of blue spruce and aspen lining portions of the trail. Indian Paintbrush can be seen in the summer/fall. Keep an eye out for deer and plenty of Abert's squirrels. Occasional mountain lion sightings, so check signage for notices.

Contacts

Rate Featured Run


   Clear Rating

3.5 from 2 votes


Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 11, 2017
Brad Dober
Never saw the school bus :( 12.6mi — 3h 09m

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#2926

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#383

in Colorado

#2,926

Overall
53 Views Last Month
633 Since Jun 7, 2017
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
50%
0%
50%
0%
0%

Conditions


All Clear 74 days ago

Getting forecast...

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running