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Race Track Loop – Salida Mountain Trails

Distance3.17 mi
Elevation Gain495 ft
My Time1 hr 17 min
Closest TownSalida
Food NearbyBunny and Clydes

Race Track Loop at Salida Mountain Trails

The Race Track Loop at Salida Mountain Trails is a multi-use trail with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. The loop is popular with hikers and bikers and I rate it as a moderately challenging trail. Race Track, Dead Bird, and Lost Trail are the trails that make up the loop.

Getting Started

The Race Track trailhead is located in the Methodist Mountain trail system just off of US 50. The trailhead is located at the first parking area when you enter the park and the start to Race Track is at the north end of the lot. There are a few options on the loop but Racetrack and Dead Bird are listed as the easiest of difficulty. I started on Race Track and returned on Dead Bird so that is how I will describe the blog.

Racetrack Trail

The Race Track Trail is a narrow dirt path that heads up the hill at a gradual pace. Over the 1.7 miles until the junction with Dead Bird, the trail gains nearly 500 feet of elevation but really never gets above a 10% grade. It is more of steady walk up a ramp than anything too grueling.

The view of Methodist Mountain early on the Race Track Trail.
The view of Methodist Mountain early on the Race Track Trail.

The Race Track trail alternates in and out of the trees and when you are in the open there is a really great view of the Methodist Mountain grouping to the south and a series of rolling hills to the north. The views are pretty spectacular. As you approach the end of the trail the terrain changes to some stunning rock formations. It looks like small sandstone hoodoos that lead to the final hillside before making the turn.

Rock Formations that look like mini hoodoos on the Race Track Loop.
Rock Formations that look like mini hoodoos on the Race Track Loop.

Dead Bird Trail

As you make your way along the end of the Race Track trail you will come to a junction with several options to continue your adventure. Or you can jump on the Dead Bird Trail and head back to finish the loop. The Dead Bird Trail is also a narrow dirt path but a touch steeper than the Race Track trail but not by much.

The real gems of the Dead Bird trail are the amazing views of the Collegiate peaks. There are long stretches along the trail with perfect unobstructed views of the not too distant peaks and it makes this leg of the trail really enjoyable. After a mile of seeing these views on Dead Bird the trail will meet up with the Lost Trail for the quick return to the trailhead.

View of the Collegiate Peaks from the Racetrack Loop.
View of the Collegiate Peaks from the Race Track Loop.

Lost Trail

Lost Trail finishes off the last three-tenths of a mile back to the trailhead. From this point it is again a narrow dirt path that is somewhat steep, maxing out at a 10% grade. It isn’t much of a challenge and you will get more of the views of the rolling hills to the north to finish of the hike.

Rolling hills at the start of the Race Track Loop.
Rolling hills at the start of the Race Track Loop.


More than anything, the coolest part of the Race Track Loop is the views. When you have open air you are either looking at tall mountain peaks, the Collegiate Peaks, rolling hills or some mini hoodoos. The trail is nice enough but the views really made this stand out.

Views of the Collegiate Peaks from the Race Track Loop.
Views of the Collegiate Peaks from the Race Track Loop.

I really enjoyed the hike on the Racetrack Loop and the Salida Mountain Park. The loop was just challenging enough but also had plenty of spots with lower intensity. The views had me eyes darting all around and, while busy, I still found some spots to myself in the large assortment of trails available.

Video of the Race Track Loop at Salida Mountain Trails

I have put this time-lapse video together of the Race Track Loop at Salida Mountain Trails so other hikers can get a feel of what the hike is like. If you enjoy this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get the latest outdoor content.

Distance and Elevation

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 3.17 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 495 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,560 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hour and 17 minutes.

I am a Pro member of Alltrails and love it. If you are interested in the platform, please consider using my affiliate link for AllTrails. It gives me a small commission with no extra cost to you.


The Race Track Loop at Salida Mountain Parks is a pretty straight forward hike. You go up the hill then come down the hill. The hike is relatively steep, covering 500 hundred feet of elevation in about a mile and a half. Elevation is the toughest part of the hike along with finding out just which trail you are supposed to be on. I am going to rank it is a moderate hike due to that elevation.


Around the Salida Mountain Parks the trails are mostly hard packed dirt with a bit of rock mixed in. The trails can get a bit hard to follow at times as they match the terrain fairly well. There are also plenty of bikers and dirt bikes around so you have to stay aware on the trail to make sure you aren’t in the way of anyone who might be coming at a fast rate of speed.


The Race Track Trail and Salida Mountain Trails are located just off of US 50 a bit south of downtown Salida. The trailhead is at the first parking area as you drive into the park. There is room for about 10 cars at the parking location and there was no restroom facility.

Wrapping up the Race Track Loop at Salida Mountain Trails.

My first trip to Salida and I was so excited to find the Salida Mountain Trails system. There were a ton of really cool trails crisscrossing the area and plenty of people around hiking, biking, dirt biking and camping. Most of my time hiking this loop was spent with my eyes in the distance looking at a mountain or range of snow-capped peaks. It is really a stunning view for almost the entire hike.

The hike itself is a fairly easy loop that is pretty exposed to the sun and enjoyable. I had a great time and am already trying to figure out when I can take my next trip out to Salida.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at Or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

6 thoughts on “Race Track Loop – Salida Mountain Trails”

  1. FM. So glad you are highlighting the Salida/Collegiate Peaks area. I owned a cabin near there for many years and always enjoyed the area. A hidden treasure to be sure.

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