My memories of hiking the 211 Trail at Coldwater Lake were of a benign trail winding along the edge of the water to a magnificent waterfall at the back end. A beginner ride for sure.
After riding the full-length of the trail three times since the work party, I have to admit that the beginner designation does not apply.
It is a beginner-intermediate trail in terms of cardio expenditure. However, despite the fact that it only about a 10-mile out-and-back, there are numerous challenges for advanced riders and multiple opportunities for carnage.
There are several narrow spots with big exposure. No, not as big as some of you have experienced. But does it really matter if you fall 425 feet to your death or 125?
There is a full rock garden that will require your full attention, several creek crossings, and a couple of very tricky corners that include rock complications. Clean it all both ways and you deserve to brag.
The 211 is one of the most unique trails I have ever ridden, with incredible variety and unmatched scenery. It took me a while to make the connection but being at Coldwater reminds me of being at Spirit Lake before the eruption. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to enjoy this line?
Keep in mind that hikers use this trail – and their numbers are likely to increase now that we have cleaned things up – so be on your toes. When Dave and I were up there recently, we talked with every hiker we met and let them know our crew had cleaned the line all the way to the bridge. Do the same if you get the chance.
Video courtesy of Erik Carlson.