Lions Loop

One-way Distance: 5.7 miles
Full loop using Hawkeye Rd.: 7.6 miles
Mack Ridge/Lions Loop: 7 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4589-5168 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Mack/Mack Ridge
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic challenge

The Lions Loop 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 trails in Western Colorado. The Lions Loop trail can be accessed from either the Mack Ridge trailhead or a parking area at the west end of the Hawkeye Road. Both locations are pinpointed on the Google Map for this hike. 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. There is a parking area at the Mack exit of Interstate 70 plus if you drive further west on the Hawkeye Road there is another parking area there. The Mack Ridge 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.

This post begins at the parking area at the west end of the Hawkeye Road. From there it follows the road up the west end of Mack Ridge and continues on the Lions Loop trail to the Mack Ridge trailhead.

The road up Mack Ridge serves as part of the Lions Loop trail as well as the return leg of the Troy Built Loop. The road climbs about 600 feet and is pretty steep in places.

After about a mile and a half of continuous climbing the road levels off for a tenth of a mile or so before it begins dropping about 500 feet of elevation heading toward the river.

After about 2.6 miles the road comes to a 4-way intersection with the Mack Ridge and Troy Built Loop trails.

The Lions Loop trail bends east at an area above the Colorado River called 'Crow Bottom'. At this point the trail becomes a single track as it leaves the 4-wheel drive road. The stretch of the Lions Loop between Marys Loop and the Troy Built Loop also serves as part of the Kokopelli Trail that runs between Loma, Colorado and Moab, Utah.

The Lions Loop trail runs along the rim of a bench area more than 300 feet about the Colorado River. The trail doesn't change a great deal in elevation as it traverses the bench. The trail follows the same contour as the Mack Ridge trail that runs along the top of the mountain.

There are a few sections of trail that are pretty rocky. They aren't too bad for hiking but they probably present a bit of a challenge for bikers. For the most part the trail is pretty smooth.

There are some nice views of the Steves Loop trail that is circumjacent to a bench on the next level down just above the river.

The Mary's Loop trail can be seen approaching from the east as it rounds a bend of the Colorado River clinging to the rim of the cliff that rises precipitously over 350 feet above the water below.

The Lions Loop trail continues to wrap around the lower slopes of Mack Ridge as it approaches its junction with the Mary's Loop trail.

The last half mile of the trail is shared with the Mary's Loop trail. It is uphill to the trailhead on Mack Ridge but the elevation gain is only about 80 feet. Most people aren't going to hike the Lions Loop by itself. The trail is the most enjoyable by combining it with the Mack Ridge trail and forming a 7 mile loop. We have also hiked just the road section of the Lions Loop by beginning at the west end of the Hawkeye Road and hiking up the mountain and back down the same way. It is done more for exercise than it is for enjoyment. If you need a new place to 'Take a hike' you might want to consider the Lions Loop trail.