This is the length of the full loop, if you do just the lower loop it is only 9.2 miles.
Destination Distance From Downtown
3 of 5 diamonds
This rough and bumpy trail will test your endurance.
Time To Complete
At a steady pace the full loop will take about three hours. The lower loop can be done in about two hours.
Spring, Summer, and Fall
Early season in the spring can be rough and muddy. Summer and fall are the best seasons to visit Sage Hen.
The Sage Hen loop is a trail outside of Dolores, Colorado adjacent to McPhee Reservoir. The trail loops around the north western section of the reservoir, with gorgeous views of the La Plata mountains and McPhee Reservoir itself. McPhee is named for the old lumber town that now sits submerged under the water. The McPhee dam was completed in 1984, and supplies much of Montezuma county and Dolores County with water. It has also created yet another great recreation destination in the area, with picnic facilities, boat launches, campgrounds, and multi-use trails. The Sage Hen loop is one of these trails, with two loops that can be done individually or combined for a 14.6 mile ride.
What Makes It Great
The Sage Hen Loop is another one of the thrilling mountain bike trails in the high desert outside of Dolores. When combined with other trails in the area, any bike enthusiast could easily get lost for a couple weeks in the sage lined single track here in Southwest Colorado. What makes this trail special is the reservoir itself. The natural mesas surrounding the water form an enchanting, winding path perfect for cycling. The La Plata mountains loom in the background, creating some pretty idyllic scenery. The trail is technical, but still enjoyable. A steady climb up the back of the mesa pays off with a long, leisurely descent to the cliffs immediately above the reservoir. Several sections are over rock, following cairns across the cliffs. Most of the rest of the trail is a tranquil path through fields of sage and juniper. There are some challenging ascents but it keeps you on your toes too. Sage Hen has some tight and tricky downhill sections that are a good place to work on technique.
Who is Going to Love It
Intermediate level mountain bikers will love this trail both for its potential for a half day excursion, or for a post work ride. The full loop is 14.6 miles, and makes a great way to spend a weekend day. At most the whole of Sage Hen should take about four hours, which leaves plenty of time for other activities in the area, like having a picnic or cooling off with a boat ride. The shorter Rim Trail or Lower Loop is also exhilarating in all the same great ways, but only 9.2 miles. So if you are looking for a fast paced exciting workout for the end of the day, Sage Hen is another great candidate in this area. While it is probably not ideal for true beginners, more experienced mountain bikers will enjoy this trail immensely for its complexity and beauty. Those with fat bikes will especially love the bumpy terrain.There are a number of good signs leading you along Sage Hen, but a basic knowledge of how to read the landscape will come in handy because of a number of old 4X4 roads intersecting with the trail in certain areas.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To reach Sage Hen from Dolores head west out of town on 145 and turn right on 184 at the signs for McPhee Reservoir right before the gas station. From here drive approximately four miles and turn right onto Road 25. When Road 25 dead ends turn right onto the graded road X. Go .7 miles just passed the corrals and park next to the closed road FS 500. If you ride up this closed road you will see a sign and posted map of the loop on your right. This trail is completely free and normal forest service rules still apply.