Sweet Shady

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 8171 - 9085 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Jumbo Mtn.
Fee: none
Attractions: Fun singletrack




Sweet Shady is located in the Jumbo Mountain Trails System in Paonia, Colorado. The trail begins at the Jumbo Mtn. trailhead where it follows an easy route along the south side of a gully leading in the direction of Jumbo Mountain. Near the 1 mile point from the trailhead the route crosses the Powerline Road and makes a meander that takes it up to a ridge where it reconnects with the Powerline Road at the same point where the Ridge of Doom and Plumbers Crack trails begin.


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.


Sweet Shady starts out along a fenceline by dipping through a deep wash. The dip can be avoided by following the Elitches trail around the head of the wash where there is a spur that reconnects with the Sweet Shady trail.


From there the trail continues across the foot of the hill where it kisses up against an irrigation ditch that is flowing peacefully through a grove of trees. There is an unnamed trail that branches off on the left that heads up to the Elitches trail right before Sweet Shady has its close encounter with the ditch.


As the trail turns away from the boundary fence it comes to the point where the Gully trail branches off on the left. While the Gully trail travels above the north side of the upcoming wash the Sweet Shady trail dips in and out of it and turns up the south side of the wash.


After going through the wash the trail bends close by the fence where there is a green gate. Just past the gate there is a fork in the trail where the Zip-N-Out trail branches off on the right.


From that point on the Sweet Shady trail remains pretty easy as it travels over a well packed dirt surface.


As the trail nears the 1 mile point it comes to a fork. The main trail continues along the right fork. The left fork heads off in the direction of the Gully trail and the Tower of Power which is where a high voltage transmission line passes over the shoulder of a ridge at the spot where there is a junction with the Elitches, Big Man Climb and Slant-N-Dicular trails.


After going a short distance on the right fork the Sweet Shady trail crosses the Powerline Road.


On the other side of the Powerline Road the trail makes a big sweep that takes it gradually up the side of the hill.


As the trail nears the saddle where the Powerline Road crosses the ridge it meets back up with the road and comes to an end. At this point the Ridge of Doom trail continues to the left where after a short distance the ever popular Plumbers Crack trail begins. About a hundred feet or so further up the Powerline Road the Horseshoe Ridge trail begins on the right. The Sweet Shady trail gets a lot of use going in both directions by mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners as it serves as a major connecting route to many of the other Jumbo Mountain trails. It doesn't hurt anything that it is also a lot of fun. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.