MICHAEL PIERCE PHOTOGRAPHY

If the mountains surrounding the town weren’t hint enough, be assured, there are plenty of places to go mountain biking in Pagosa Country. Many years ago, the Pagosa Springs area was heavily logged, resulting in a multitude of Forest Service roads and trails. Now, more than 80 years later, those trails mean virtually limitless opportunities for mountain bikers. With a wide variety of routes and terrain, Pagosa Springs is an ideal mountain biking destination for riders of all skill levels. Be forewarned, however, that most area rides begin above 7,000 feet. Therefore, flatlanders should factor in time to acclimate before setting out on longer and more demanding rides.

When mountain biking, please observe a few precautions:

1. Wear a helmet.

2. Mountain weather changes rapidly — wear or bring clothing for capricious weather conditions.

3. Bring plenty of water.

4. Carry bike repair tools, including a spare tire, tire pump and tube patch kit.

5. Ride in control and with a friend.

6. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.

7. A few of the trails are hours away from outside help — plan accordingly.

8. Plan to return to your car before dark.

9. Remember to stay off private land and out of wilderness areas.

10. Wear blaze orange in the fall during hunting season.

11. Yield to horses. They are easily spooked.

Please pay heed to the following rules of the trail:

1. Ride on open trails only. Avoid trails when muddy and wet to prevent damage.

2. Leave no trace. Pick up trash.

3. Control your bicycle. Uphill traffic has the right of way.

4. Always yield to hikers.

5. Never spook animals.

6. Plan ahead: consider elevation, weather, location, length and difficulty of ride.

For more information on routes, directions and maps, visit wolfcreekwheelclub.org, fs.usda.gov/recmain/sanjuan/recreation, mtbproject.com, pagosatrails.org, singletracks.com and dustx2.com.

Changes can occur on roads and terrain during the winter and early spring. For this reason, bikers need to be alert to their surrounding area at all times and, of course, carry the appropriate maps.