So it is with great pleasure that FAR, along with the Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District, Fremont County,1% for Trails Contributors, and the City of Cañon City, present the opening a new and unique trail. 'Smooth Criminal' officially opened in Novenmber 2020 with a small ribbon cutting ceremony and ride.
Originally the brainchild of Cañon City native Brian LeDoux (also a FAR board member), Kalem Lenard, and Lenard's son, Mason, the flow trail has been in the planning / implementation process since 2019 in conjunction with a skills park. In December of 2019, Lenard and LeDoux presented the concept to the Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District, who owns the land containing the proposed project. FAR pledged 1% for Trails funds to pay for the project, and the CCRD board unanimously approved the project.
When COVID-19 stalled progress, FAR re-evaluated the timeline and scope of the project. While funding for phase I - the skills park near Eagle Wing Trailhead - was not fully available, FAR was able to provide enough funding for phase II of the project - the flow trail.
Not only does the trail offer incredibly fun features, but it also gives riders access to a previously unreachable section of the South Cañon trails area. Cutting through historic ranch corals, a dry wash, and the back side of Sand Hill, the new trail connects seamlessly into existing trails and offers even more options for mountain bikers. Other portions of the trail system are open to additional user groups and, through the efforts of FAR and other entities, have established a beautiful systems of trails for a variety of users.
A flow trail is a smooth, rock-free trail that includes man-made features like jumps, berms, and rollers. Mountain bikers use these features to jump, learn how to approach technical elements, and work on their skills development. (They're also a lot of fun!) Flow trails require significant speed due to the size and design of the jumps - some of which are "gaps", meaning that the rider must have a certain speed to clear both ends of the jump.
Flow trails are traditionally short, but allow for easy laps to facilitate re-riding and practice. Smooth Criminal is about .8 miles long, and connects back to the start (at the Ecology Park parking area) via existing trail Gloria's Groove and Schepp Ridge.
A flow trail is designed for speed. Built on a gradient that allows mountain bikers to ride without a need for constant pedaling allows riders to hit jumps and work on speed / skills progression. The trail includes several jumps, bumps, and berms that make it a roller-coaster ride of fun.
First-time riders should proceed with EXTREME caution. To safely ride a flow trail, riders should engage in one VERY slow pre-ride of the route, another slow ride, and then (with knowledge of the terrain and features) proceed as their skill and ability allows.
Due to the fact that the trail is designed for fast-moving riders, there should be NO UPHILL TRAFFIC. Pedestrians and equestrians are not allowed on the trail due to their slower speeds and the many 'blind' corners on the trail. Signs mark the top and bottom of the trail entrance and exit.
Additional users are also not allowed on the trail in order to maintain the integrity of the features and smooth terrain of the trail. Flow trails, features, and associated maintenance is extremely costly, and intended / responsible use should allow the trail to provide years of riding. Unintended use could cause damage and require unscheduled maintenance.
Now that Smooth Criminal is up and running, we're beginning the next phase of the project - a skills park. Planning and design for the park was laid out, including multiple lines and a series of built features that will be fabricated by out outside company and brought in. Once installed, these features will require minimal maintenance and will offer riders an opportunity to practice and advance their skills.
In early December, FAR presented a plan to the CCRD. The plan was approved and features were ordered. Construction on the project will commence in winter 2020 and will continue through spring. Opening for the park is anticipated around spring break of 2021.
Businesses who believe in and want to invest in trails sign up for the 1% for Trails program. Customers pay a 1% donation to the business, who then donates that money directly to FAR. This fund is used to directly pay for trail maintenance, construction, and signage. Please note that all of the following businesses are 1% for Trails contributors, and your support helps our community to fund all sorts of fun additions to our recreation amenities. Interested in donating to 1% directly? Click the Paypal button below and use the drop-down button to designate where you'd like your money to go. Please also opt in to allowing us to see your address, as we often send out stickers and updates to our friends and donors.