Shitake Ridge

One-way Distance: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 6266 - 6963 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Jumbo Mountain
Fee: none
Attractions: Extreme downhill

Shitake Ridge is part of the Jumbo Mountain Trails in Paonia, Colorado. The trail begins off of the Jumbo Ridge trail where it makes an epic half mile long descent down the mountain to a junction with the Wapity Whip and Desolation Ridge trails. Shitake (/shî-tah-kee) is urban slang used by children too afraid to say 'shit'. The term is most appropriate for this trail that a few local riders told us used to be called 'Oh Shit'.

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.

Shitake Ridge begins at the 0.4 mile point of the Jumbo Ridge trail. If you weren't specifically looking for it, and didn't know it was there, you would probably miss it. That probably gives you an idea of how many people dare to give it a try.

The trail starts off like the Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland where it kinda chugs along at first.

After a hundred feet or two the bottom starts dropping out from under it.

Between the loose rocks and the grade which gets over 50% in places if you are going down this on a mountain bike there are a few spots where stopping isn't really an option.

The views are pretty great from up here not that anyone on a mountain bike would get a chance to notice.

This shot looking back up the mountain shows the trail from a different perspective.

They even built a few jump features into the trail. One of them that gets you over the top of some greasewood isn't optional.

Gnarly looking razorback section of ridge.

The grade isn't quite as steep near the bottom but its still over 20% in places.

As soon as the trail begins leveling off Shitake Ridge comes to an end and the trail continues as Desolation Ridge. The Wapity Whip trail comes up on the left at this point and departs on the right about 50 feet or so further down the ridge. Shitake Ridge was way beyond our mountain bike skill level so we were hiking for this one. The steepest parts with loose dirt were pretty hard to stand up on or even to boot ski. For a trail that is only a half mile long Shitake Ridge is pretty intense. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.