Big Man Climb

One-way Distance: 2.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5897 - 6843 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Jumbo Mtn.
Fee: none
Attractions: Double track

Big Man Climb is one of the Jumbo Mountain trails located in Paonia, Colorado. The trail begins where the powerline road  crosses a ridge at a junction with the Elitches and Slant-N-Dicular trails. From there it makes a moderate climb up an old double track that takes it to the 'Grassy Knoll' on the shoulder of Jumbo Mountain where there are good views of the valley below and nearby mountains. The Grassy Knoll is also where the tops of the Slant-N-Dicular, Ridge of Doom and Jumbo Ridge trails all come together.

For those that aren't familiar with the streets in Paonia a map can be handy for finding the trailhead. If you are coming from out of town turn off of Highway 133 at the Paonia sign and follow the Samuel Wade Road into town where it becomes 3rd Street. Turn left off of 3rd Street at the Forest Service sign onto Rio Grande Avenue. After crossing Minnesota Creek the street becomes Pan American Avenue which dead ends at the trailhead.

There is only room for a few vehicles to park at the trailhead without parking in front of someones house. While that isn't illegal it would still be very inconsiderate due to the way the neighborhood is laid out. If you are unable to stay out of the way you can find lots of room back at the Apple Valley Park where there is also a restroom.

At present none of the Jumbo Mountain trails are marked so without a map it;s hard for anyone unfamiliar with the system to find their way around. Even with a map route finding can be very confusing at first. One landmark that comes in handy is the 'Tower of Power' which is located where the powerline road crosses a ridge.

The Tower of Power marks the spot where the top of the Elitches trail, which stretches from the trailhead to the Tower of Power, and the Slant-N-Dicular and Big Man Climb trails all meet up. Looking up toward Jumbo Mountain from the Tower of Power you can see another helpful landmark known as the 'Grassy Knoll'. That is where the Big Man Climb, Slant-N-Dicular, Ridge of Doom and Jumbo Ridge trails all come together.

The Big Man Climb trail follows a double track that begins off of the powerline road and travels along the left side of the ridge while Slant-N-Dicular travels along the top of the ridge just a few feet away.

After a hundred yards or so both trails come together once again while they cross a shallow saddle in the ridge. As they begin climbing again there is a 3-way junction where the Peter's Patty trail drops off the right side of the ridge and Slant-N-Dicular breaks off through the junipers on a singletrack of its own.

From there the Big Man Climb trail continues on a moderate grade as it contours around the north side of the mountain.

Right around the 1.5 mile point from the Tower of Power Big Man Climb almost brushes up against Slant-N-Dicular. Some maps show it ending at that point and you would want to turn here to get to the Grassy Knoll. Instead, we suggest continuing for another tenth of a mile to where another faint double track branches off on the right that will lead all the way up to the Grassy Knoll.

This section of double track is a little steep right where it begins but it quickly moderates as it bends around some private property.

As the trail comes up to the Grassy Knoll it crosses Slant-N-Dicular a few yards from where it ends at a junction with the Jumbo Ridge trail. Right at the top of the Grassy Knoll is where the Jumbo Ridge and Ridge of Doom trails both meet up although without a map you would never know it.

The views are pretty nice from the vantage point of the Grassy Knoll where other than returning the way that you came you have your choice of 3 different trails to choose from. We were hiking while taking the photos for this post and from here we followed Slant-N-Dicular to get back down the mountain where we picked up the Elitches trail to get back to the trailhead. We were glutton for punishment on that day so after we got back to the trailhead we took off on another loop that was a little over 6.7 miles that brought us back up to the Grassy Knoll via the Ridge of Doom and then down Jumbo Ridge. As far as the Big Man Climb trail goes it is a double track but it is also the easiest route up to the Grassy Knoll. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.