Karni Mata

Round Trip Distance: 1.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 6942 - 7025 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: East
Fee: none
Attractions: Fun singletrack

Karni Mata is one of the RAT-Ridgway Area Trails located just north of Ridgway, Colorado. The trails all have a rat related naming scheme to go along with the RAT acronym for the trail system. Sticking with that theme Karni Mata refers to the Temple of Rats in India. Mountain bikers and hikers should find the trail to be easy to slightly moderate.

This post begins at the east trailhead indirectly across from the entrance to Ridgway State Park. To get there drive 5 miles north of Ridgway or 21 miles south of Montrose on US-550. There is room to park after turning off of the highway or you can proceed through the gate and follow the gravel road for a little over a quarter mile to the start of the trail.

Karni Mata begins at the east end of the Plagueground trail.

The trail makes use of a switchback as it drops down the side of the hill.

Just before crossing the wash there is a short spur that leads to the road that runs back out to Highway 50.

From there the trail makes use of a bridge to get across the creek.

There are some nice views of Chimney Rock and the Coxcombs as the trail swings down the valley along the creek.

Once the trail switches back toward the north it begins a moderate climb up the side of the mountain.

The higher the trail climbs the thicker the pinion and juniper forest becomes.

Just past the 3/4 mile point Karni Mata reaches the Karni Mata Loop trail. If you decide to ride the loop you will want to go to the right in the counter-clockwise direction and be prepared for a black diamond experience in a few places where the trail makes some very steep cornering drops.

We saw a couple of people that turned around when they reached the Karni Mata Loop but everyone else just kept going and did both trails together. Karni Mata is well designed and should be enjoyable whether you use if for a connector to get to the loop or by itself as an out-and-back. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.