High Country Mountain Biking in the San Juans
Summer Mountain Bike Adventures at the OPUS
The hut is 1/4 mile off the Ophir Pass road on a gentle single track.
The Ophir Pass road from Highway 550 is a well maintained low grade 4wd road. The approach from the west side, out of the town of Ophir, is steeper and more technical. Both routes are a little over 3.5 miles and around 1,500 ft. of climbing.
Single Track Mountain Bike descents from the OPUS
There are two single track descent options on the east side to Hwy 550. Following an old mule trail at treeline traversing east from the hut, you can drop down Ruby creek just east of the hut back to the Ophir Pass road. The other option is to continue east on that same single track around to the Columbine lake trail and then descend to highway 550.
Travel Light and Connect Historic Mining towns throughout the San Juans
Silverton – OPUS – Rico – Colorado Trail – back to Silverton
Day 1 : Take the single track trail (old railroad grade) paralleling hwy 550 on the east side from Silverton to within 1/2 mile of Ophir pass road, follow hwy 550 to the turnoff for Ophir Pass. This single track starts off the Shrine road just north of Silverton.
Follow Ophir pass road to parking lot and turnoff on right at 3.5 miles, then follow the single track, uphill, east, to the hut 1/4 mile.
Day2 : From the OPUS Hut ride west over Ophir pass, then descend into the Howards fork valley through the town of Ophir to the Ophir Loop, and C145. Take C145 south towards Lizard Head pass. Leave the highway at the Matterhorn campground, ride through the campground to find the old Galloping Goose railroad grade at the east side of the campground. Follow the railroad grade uphill past Preist lake to Trout lake. Follow the dirt road southeast around Trout lake (this is still the old railroad grade) to the Trestle and continue on the old railroad grade uphill and turning southwest, climbing to Lizard Head pass. From Lizard Head pass take the hwy southwest to the Cross Mountain trailhead at the southwest end of the Lizard Head pass meadows. Take the Cross Mountain trail for a short distance uphill to the north, then go left and southwest on the Groundhog Stock Driveway. This smooth singletrack will take you to Dunton meadows and the intersection with Dunton road and Calico trail.
Technical option – At this junction, hardcores will choose to take the Calico trail south and climbing to a highpoint on Elliot mountain. Continuing south, you will pass Sockrider Peak, Johnny Bull mountain, then Calico Peak , before coming to the trail intersection with Horse creek and the Lower Stoner Mesa trail. Drop the Horse creek trail to the hwy. then south into Rico to end your day.
The easier option – At Dunton meadow take the the Dunton road downhill to the east/ northeast to the highway. Take the highway southwest into Rico to end your day.
Day 3 : Leaving Rico on Highway 145 heading back north towards Lizard Head Pass, go northeast to Barlow creek at the base of Lizard Head Pass. Climb the Barlow Creek road all the way to the junction with the Colorado trail near Bolam Pass. At Bolam Pass , take the Colorado trail northeast all the way to Molas Pass. This section of singletrack is long and technical for the first half but well worth the effort, perhaps one of the best sections of Alpine singletrack in the world. At Molas Pass take Highway 550 north to Silverton to finish this three day trip.
Summer Access to the Hut
The Hut itself is located 1/2 mile east of Ophir pass just off San Juan County road 8. As the road swings around a large bend there is parking along the road as well as a small pullout uphill of the road. From here follow the hiking trail uphill to the east 1/4 mile.