To access Clark Ridge, park at the top of Buford Road FS 245 at the gravel parking area, and winter recreational staging area. From there you have two choices, either run the West Elk Multiuse Trail which leaves directly from the parking lot, or run Buford Road FS 245 to the intersection with the Clark Ridge Road FS 822. If you choose to take the West Elk Multiuse Trail you'll exit the trail on Bar HL Road. Take a right on Bar HL Road and a quick left on Buford Road FS 245 and continue on to Clark Ridge Road FS 822.
Take a right on 822 and begin climbing this rough doubletrack. After a short climb, you'll top out and enjoy a nice run through a wildflower meadow before descending towards the trees. Once you enter the forest you'll come to a "trail closed to motorized vehicles" sign and a large tree in the road and commonly a large muddy pond. Work your way around the pond, and over the tree, and the singletrack trail will present itself on the other side.
The trail is generally pretty well defined, but at times can get a little faint. If you study the map of Clark Ridge before beginning, you'll notice that there are two steep canyons on either side of the ridge. The trail takes you down the ridge, where you then make a sharp right turn and head back to the beginning of the steep canyon that was on your right as your runed the ridge.
The trail alternates between smooth, rocky, and rough. As you work your way down the slope above the canyon, you'll get to a muddy stream crossing. After a small ascent begin another downhill section of trail, which ends in a very steep, technical descent to another creek crossing. Once on the other side of the creek, climb up the singletrack and arrive at the intersection of FS 820 and the Mansfield Ditch Trail. From here, you can climb up FS 820 to arrive back at the car you parked at the top of Buford Road, or if you left a shuttle vehicle at the bottom of Buford Road at the cattle guard you can finish your run on the Mansfield Ditch Trail. Both will present challenges. Mansfield Ditch in the way of additional mileage to your run, and FS 820 with a tough climb up to Buford Road. Enjoy!
Shared By: adam cornely