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A classic, easy loop on the Race Track trail providing gorgeous views of Castle Gardens.


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Map Key

3.0

Miles

4.8

KM

90%

Runnable

7,549' 2,301 m

High

7,062' 2,153 m

Low

487' 148 m

Up

479' 146 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Watch out for downhill bike traffic.

Overview

Race Track is an easy, steady uphill climb with no obstacles. The trail meanders through scrub and some juniper trees, nothing much that provides shade. The rock formations in Castle Gardens at the end are worth the trip to see them.

Need to Know

The parking lot is a large dirt lot, which can fill up quickly on the weekends. At the time of this writing, there is often a porta potty at the parking lot. However, plans are in motion for the construction of a permanent bathroom by the BLM. The dispersed camping near the Burmac Trailhead will also soon have designated sites and more regulation.

Description

The hike begins from the Burmac Trailhead just outside the town of Salida. Driving to the actual Burmac trailhead requires passing through a wash. While most vehicles should make it, low-clearance sedans may be unable to drive to the trailhead.

The hike begins by heading uphill on the signed Race Track trail. While the initial ascent may feel steep, the grade mellows out after the first few switchbacks, providing a pleasurable, mellow climb. Compared to many of the steep ascents around Salida, Race Track is a very achievable climb. Along the way up, you'll enjoy many beautiful views into Castle Gardens below you, with incredible hoodoo rock formations.

Once you reach the trail intersection at the top, instead of returning on Race Track, you can choose to descend on the Dead Bird trail for a bit of variety. While the views on Dead Bird aren't nearly as good as those on Race Track, it provides a welcome bit of variety for the descent, creating a truly approachable loop hike. Dead Bird meets up with Lost Trail towards the end, returning to the parking lot.

Contacts

Shared By:

Sue Sporter with improvements by Ava Maddocks

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes

#3494

Overall
  4.3 from 4 votes
5 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#504

in Colorado

#3,494

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1,277 Since Jul 28, 2020
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Photos

View from the top.
Jul 6, 2023 near Salida, CO
Rock formations
Jul 28, 2020 near Salida, CO
Turning away from the formations.
Jul 28, 2020 near Salida, CO
Rock formations
Jul 28, 2020 near Salida, CO
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
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