Round Trip Distance: 7 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5818 - 7056 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins. (mountain bike)
Trailhead: Wave Loop Staging Area
Attractions: multi use trail
The Wave/Eagle Loop is located in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area near Delta, Colorado. The loop is formed by combining the Wave and Eagle jeep roads with a section of the Red Rocks/Nighthorse rim trail. The multi use trail has some very rocky sections that can be challenging no matter what your means of conveyance. There are restrooms and camping at the Peach Valley Staging Area at the end of the Falcon Road.
This post begins at the staging area on the Wave Road. The easiest way to get there is to travel east on the Falcon Road from Olathe, Colorado. Continue straight ahead at the point where the road runs out of pavement until you reach the Gunnison Gorge NCA boundary where there are several restrooms and a small campground. Continue east from there staying to the left as the road transitions to becoming the Peach Valley Road. Less than a quarter mile past where the Chukar Road branches off on the right the Peach Valley Road passes the Eagle Road trailhead. Continue on the Peach Valley Road for almost another mile to the Wave Road trailhead and turn right. Follow the Wave Road for about 6 tenths of a mile to the staging area. The road is normally passable by 2-wheel drive vehicles with moderate or less clearance.
The loop is easiest if traveled in the counterclockwise direction. To do so follow the connecting route that departs from the southwest end of the parking area.
From the parking area the trail heads south and gradually begins gaining elevation. Within a half mile it reaches the Eagle Road where it follows the left fork.
The trail crosses a rough patch of slickrock as it continues climbing.
Just past the mile and a half point the trail drops down into a valley where there is an intersection where the Sidewinder trail comes in on the left and the Eagle Valley and Sunset Rocks trails comes in on the right. The Wave/Eagle Loop continues straight ahead up the wash passing the lower end of the Spike trail before climbing out of the wash to get onto a ridge.
Some sections of the trail are relatively smooth as the route climbs the ridge.
Other parts have some minor ledges and get a little rocky. The biggest hindrance is the 1,200 feet of elevation gain. It starts out a little steep but gradually moderates the higher it gets.
When the trail reaches the ridge just past the 3 mile point it meets up with the Red Rocks/Nighthorse trail which it follows to the left.
Near the high point of the ridge there are some nice views of the Gunnison Gorge and the Chukar Road and trailhead. The Gunnison River is even viewable at the end of the Chukar trail. Upstream is the Black Canyon National Park with Green Mountain flanking its eastern border.
Continuing along the rim the trail passes the upper end of the Spike trail near the 4 mile point. A little more than a quarter mile later it starts turning away from the rim. There is a singletrack trail that branches off on the right that climbs a little higher on the ridge before looping back and reconnecting. At this point the trail begins steadily losing elevation. This is also where there are a lot of big rocks to go over.
As the route continues losing elevation it is rejoined by the singletrack trail that branched off earlier and just past the 5 mile point it leaves the Red Rocks/Nighthorse trail and continues down the mountain on the Wave Road.
At the 6 mile point the Wave Road is crossed by the Sidewinder trail.
From there the downhill run continues with only a few stretches of loose rock to slow you down.