One-way Distance: 0.7 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 7250 - 7482 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: County Road 10
Attractions: Advanced downhill
The Exterminator trail is in the RAT-Ridgway Area Trails System near Ridgway, Colorado. The trail begins off of The Big Cheese where it plunges over 200 feet down the cliffy hillside and comes to an end at the Gnawley Line trail. The trail was intentionally designed with features that make it difficult. Advanced mountain biking skills are required. Hikers on the other hand will enjoy the scenic cliffs and distant views of the San Juan Mountains.
To get to the trail go to the 2 mile point of The Big Cheese. Mountain bikers will want to do this one in the downhill direction to avoid portaging their bikes up the hillside.
The trail starts out easy enough as it travels along the side of the hill a bit before coming to a switchback that drops it down to the next level.
As the trail turns southward it travels along a rocky crag.
Shortly the trail finds a gap in the rocks to descend through.
The amount of labor to create the trail begins to become apparent as carefully placed slabs smooth out some of the mountains rough features.
Passing along in front of the cliffs is a scenic delight.
Some of the trails most difficult features are ahead as the trail bends quickly around a tight narrow turn.
Several of the switchbacks are laid out over large boulders that are embed in the trail.
A simple photo doesn't do this feature justice as it drops several feet all at once after an already rough approach.
Even a picture looking back at it isn't much better. If you get a good line on it it is probably easier to ride down than it is to walk.
At the bottom of the hill the trail levels off and runs into the Gnawley Line and comes to an end. In our opinion the Exterminator is one of the prettiest trails in the area and with some of the views that you can get around here that is saying a lot. If your mountain bike skill level isn't in the advanced range or if you still have an all too vivid memory of your last bone breaking crash then you should at least try to make time to hike the short trail. Maybe it would be a good idea to hike it first anyway. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.
NOTE: All trails are closed between December 1 to April 30.