Brookside McCurdy Payne Loop
ElevationAscent: 5,748' 1,752 m
Descent: -5,747' -1,752 m
High: 11,665' 3,555 m
Low: 8,083' 2,464 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 61% (32°)
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“Long backcountry loop covering some seldom used trails, expansive meadows, and aspen groves on mostly runable terrain.”— Kristin Gablehouse
The terrain itself is not overly technical, although parts are rocky or the trail is not well-trodden. The difficulty mostly comes from the length of the route and the ability to follow cairns through some sections. Dogs must be on leash in the wilderness.
The trail climbs steadily. Many sections of the climb are runable, but there are some sections of 15-20% grades. At 7.5 miles, you'll enter the large meadow where the creek crossing can be high. Watch for cairns and pole markers as the trail can be indistinct.
At the other side of the meadow, the trail climbs again to the high point of the route. At about 10.2 miles, you'll begin a long downhill stretch, initially steep then becoming gradual and fast. At 12.1 miles, you'll join CT - Segment 4 . This segment of the route is well marked and much more heavily used. At 14.2 miles, the Brookside McCurdy Trail #607 branches south, but you'll stay on the Colorado Trail heading east.
At 16.1 miles, the Colorado Trail appears to have been recently re-routed until mile 18 of this route, but it is very obviously marked. Mile 20 will bring you to the junction with the Payne Creek Trail #637 to start your return to the trailhead. It is a flowy 2-mile downhill followed by 3 miles up to bring you to the top of the last significant climb. Enjoy the last downhill miles, and as you near mile 28, keep an eye out for your right-hand turn back to the trailhead.
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