Jumbo Ridge

One-way Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5964 - 6934 feet
Cellphone: 2-4 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins. (hiking)
Trailhead: Jumbo Mtn.
Fee: none
Attractions: Popular downhill singletrack

Jumbo Ridge is one of the Jumbo Mountain Trails located in Paonia, Colorado. The trail begins on the Grassy Knoll where the Ridge of Doom, Big Man Climb and Slant-N-Dicular trails all come together. From there it travels across the face of Jumbo Mountain where for a very short distance there is a bit of exposure and some lose rocks to deal with. After that mountain bikers are treated to an exceptional downhill roll. Various connecting routes along the way provide opportunities to extend an outing or explore other trails in the area.

To get to the trailhead head east on 3rd Street in Paonia and turn left onto Rio Grande Avenue. Follow Rio Grande as it crosses the creek and turns into Pan American Avenue and begins climbing the hill. The trailhead is at the end of Pan American Avenue. There is only room for a handful of vehicles to park at the trailhead but there is additional parking at the bottom of the hill at the Apple Valley Park where there is also a restroom.

Slant-N-Dicular is probably the most popular route for getting up to the Grassy Knoll. Another good option is Big Man Climb. We were hiking while taking the photos for this post so we came up the Ridge of Doom.

From the Grassy Knoll the trail heads over and begins traversing around the west face of Jumbo Mountain above an area locals call the 'Toilet Bowl'. There is short section of trail with some cribbing and exposure that should be approached with caution.

As the trail continues around the face of the mountain it crosses a shoulder at the 0.4 mile point from the Grassy Knoll where the Shitake Ridge trail branches off on the right. Shitake Ridge is a double black diamond trail for only the most expert of mountain bikers. (We had a heck of a time just hiking down it.)

About a quarter mile past Shitake Ridge the Rock-N-Roll trail branches off on the right. We hiked up Rock-N-Roll and other than a little gully that needs a bridge it wasn't too bad. The upper portion of the trail hardly gets any use at all while the lower portion is one of the most popular routes in the area.

After passing the upper end of Rock-N-Roll the Jumbo Ridge trail becomes technically much more moderate.

The trail is rapidly dropping in elevation by the time it reaches the 1.3 mile point where the 7 Bridges trail branches off on the left.

From there the trail drops over a hump in the ridge and comes to an intersection where the other end of the 7 Bridges trail reconnects on the left after having completed a 1.9 mile loop around a hill below the ridge. The 2 places where the 7 Bridges trail connects are only 150 feet apart. On the right side of Jumbo Ridge is where the upper end of the Wapiti Whip trail begins. There is another connection by Wapiti Whip another hundred feet or so down the ridge that isn't as steep as the first one.

After the trail gets around the next little hump or two in the ridge the rest of the route comes into view. There are a couple of spur trails on the left in different places that connect with the Herfendoodle trail as Jumbo Ridge continues its descent.

Once the trail drops off the last hump in the ridge it meets up once again with Herfendoodel. This spot is a little confusing at first as both Herfendoodle and Jumbo Ridge take off on the right at the same point. Herfendoodle is the trail that stays closest to the private property fence on the left.

The lower end of the Jumbo Ridge trail follows an easy route through the trees and after a short distance it meets up once again with Wapiti Whip. Some maps show the Jumbo Ridge trail ending at this point and have the trail to the left labeled as the Wapiti Whip Cutoff. Without any trail signs it gets hard to say for sure what's what. For our purposes we extended Jumbo Ridge to the left for another tenth of a mile or so before unofficially bring it to an end.

By taking a left at the last Wapiti Whip intersection it is only a short distance before the trail meets back up with Herfendoodle and comes to an end. A map comes in handy once again for finding a route back to the trailhead. Most of the trails in this area of the system are rated easy with a couple that are moderate. The least strenuous route back to the trailhead might be to follow Herendoodle to Bang Zoom and stay on that one until you reach Zip-N-Out and take that to Sweet Shady and the trailhead. With over 20 trails to choose from and a number of spurs the choices are many. As far as Jumbo Ridge goes, if you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.