Mack Ridge

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4793-5309 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Mack Ridge
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic challenge




The Mack Ridge trail is part of the Kokopelli Trails system just south of Interstate 70 between Loma and Mack. The Kokopelli Trails are some of the most popular mountain bike, hiking and running trails in Western Colorado. The Mack Ridge trailhead is about 2.25 miles west of the Kokopelli Trailhead on the Hawkeye Road. If you would rather drive down to exit 11 on Interstate 70 you can drive east on the Hawkeye Road for about 1.9 miles to get to the Mack Ridge trailhead. The actual trailhead is a couple tenths of a mile up the hill from the Hawkeye Road. If you aren't in a vehicle with moderate to high clearance you can park at the bottom of the hill and walk up to the trailhead from there.


There are multiple trails that meet at the Mack Ridge trailhead which include Lions Loop, Mack Ridge, Marys Loop and Moore Fun. The Mack Ridge trail begins near the kiosk on the west side of the parking area.


The trail starts up the ridge as it leaves the trailhead but after a short distance it heads around to the backside of the hill. After traversing the backside of the hill the trail starts climbing back to the ridge.


Gaining in elevation with each encounter with the ridge the views become more spectacular the higher you get. At this point about a mile of the hike is already in the bag. The craggy cliffs are common roosting spots for various birds including pigeons which of all things seem out of place in the wild.


After crossing a saddle the trail heads around to the back of the mountain again. The next stretch of trail is down right fun. The trail moves through some large boulders in a secluded setting behind the rim of the cliff.


Getting up the last rocky spot to the ridge is pretty easy for hikers but this spot probably makes most mountain bikers get off and walk.


After coming around the back of the hill it's back to the ridge once more. This spot is about 1.5 miles into the hike.


The trail now begins following a road that leads away from the cliffs. This area is pretty much the high point of the trail. The mountain is a lot flatter in this area like a large mesa that eventually slopes off to the north and west. At around 1.7 miles there is a trail marker that directs you onto a single track trail and off of the road.


Back at the ridge again the trail barely clings to the rim as it follows along the narrow lip of a path. This continues until about 2.5 miles into the hike.


At this point the trail used to drop down to the road that you can see a short distance away. Since the last time that we did this hike they have extended the route by almost 1 full mile. Judging from the tracks a lot of people are still going the shorter route to the road but the new trail is also getting a lot of use.


From the top of the hill the trail follows the contours of the mountain side making several switchbacks and long gradual runs down to the next bench.


Those that engineered the new route found just the right spot to get through the next band of rocks where the trail transitions off of the bench.


Passing through boulders of all sizes the trail works its way lower toward the road. Glimpses of the Colorado River and the redrock canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area add to the delight of the the trail.


The Mack Ridge trail comes to an end at the old jeep road. If you continue across the road you will be on the Troy Built Loop and Kokopelli trails. The road itself serves as part of the Lions Loop. At this point you have the options of returning the way you came for an 8 mile round trip hike, turning left and following the Lions Loop back to the Mack Ridge trailhead for 7 miles of total distance or any other combination you can dream up. We like taking the Lions Loop back ourselves. If you want to see it for yourself though you are going to have to 'Take a hike'.