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Luke's Trail
with Solis Way, Alan's Alley and Bonus Loop

Luke's Trail is a fun twisting singletrack on the mesa on the north edge of Price, part of the Wood Hill Trail System. As an out-and-back, it's a fast 6 miles round trip. Overall altitude change is 300 vertical feet, climbing from 5900 to 6200 feet. Most riders will combine Lukes with other area trails for a longer ride. See the Wood Hill area page for other connecting trails on the mesa.

View north towards the Book Cliffs from the mesa edge. Original review June 2005. Latest status update May 2017.

The old Luke's Trailhead is on the southwest end of the trail, reached by turning left from Wood Hill Road just after passing the water tank. There's room to park, but no fence or signs at this spot. You may find a few primitive camping spots next to this trailhead.

Luke's starts as a flat, easy, meandering singletrack from the old trailhead.

The new trailhead for the Wood Hill trails is located 1/2 mile further up Wood Hill road. It includes information kiosks and a toilet in a very large gravel parking lot. From here, the Solis Way trail extends north, meeting Luke's Trail in the middle along the north edge of the mesa.

Starting north on Solis Way from the new trailhead in 2017, where we'll do Luke's in two pieces as we ride a loop including Smo' Joes and Knott Pete's Rim.

The trail is intermediate overall in technical requirement. The easiest riding is the southern 1.5 miles (from the old south trailhead to the Solis Way intersection). Beginning riders will enjoy this part of the trail. Pure beginners will need to step the bike over some obstacles and walk through some of the wash crossings.

Riding along the rim of the mesa, heading east.

Most of the time, you're riding in Juniper forest, with minimal low scrub here and there. There are a couple of sage meadows. Early in the ride, prickly pear cactus is waiting for you to drift off-trail. Flowers and cactus will be blooming in May.

You're riding on soft dirt and sandstone from the Cretaceous period. If you drift off-trail, the dirt will suck your tire down into the depths. Stay on the trail.

A young rider heads toward views of the Skyline Drive area to the west. The terrain varies little -- sagebrush, juniper, and a few pinions.

Luke's trail has frequent tight turns around trees. (This is the most frequent criticism I hear about this trail.) There are a few thread-the-needle chokepoints and bike-handling challenges. So expert riders will find themselves tested by this trail as they roll downhill on the return trip. A few turns are so tight that speed-demon larger riders will find their body in the middle of a tree as the bike tilts to take the corner. (Don't cuss -- the tight turns keep ATVs and motorcycles from using this trail and ruining it.)

Penstemmon blooms in the May sunshine. The shoulder of the trail is soft. If you overshoot a turn, your front tire will dig in and you'll stop abruptly (or crash).

Getting to Luke's from the Wood Hill trailhead...

From the northwest corner of the parking lot (between the kiosks), cross the doubletrack to Solis Way. Now ride generally north 0.8 miles. The route will cross Bill's Sandy just before it reaches Luke's Trail on the cliff edge. Go either way.

Bruce heads north on Solis Way.

Connections from Luke's...

Luke's will be your key to other area trails. Northbound from the most southern end (from the old trailhead), there will be a left fork to Alan's Alley then a right fork to the downhill end of Bill's Sandy. As Luke's reaches the cliff, Alan's Alley rejoins on the left as Luke's turns right.

At the fence with the cattle extruder ride-over, a shortcut called Dick's Cutoff heads over to the northern end of Smo' Joes. A bit further north, the Bonus Loop forks left downhill.

At its north end, Luke's connects to IMBAtween by crossing Kenilworth (Wood Hill) road. IMBAtween takes you to Mead's Rim and Therapy.

Heading north at the far end of Luke's, just before reaching IMBAtween.

Beginner ride:  2.8 miles of cruising
Start from the old Luke's trailhead. Stay on Luke's. Pure beginners and young children will find a good turn-around at mile 1.4, just after Alan's Alley rejoins the trail. There are nice views from the mesa edge, which gives a good "we got here, let's go back" end to a short out-and-back ride. (Also, consider a loop around Alan's Alley as a beginner ride.)

This little four-year old made the beginner ride just fine.

Early-intermediate:  6-mile out-and-back
Start at the south end. Ride Luke's without doing the more-technical side dishes, Alan's Alley and Bonus Loop. At the top, Lukes ends on the gravel Kenilworth road. That's your turnaround. A big further up that road is the top of Meads Rim. Straight across the road is IMBAtween, which will connect you to Smo' Joes or Mead's Rim.

Looking at the fluted slopes of Mancos Shale as Luke's skirts the edge of the mesa. To the north, the Book Cliffs are composed of the Mesa Verde formation of the Cretaceous.

Intermediate ride: Little Loop
Intermediate riders will enjoy the Luke's Little Loop (see directions below). This ride is 6.6 miles long (5.6 if you skip the Alan's Alley meander) with about 200 feet of total climbing. At the cattle grate fence, the loop shortcuts over to Smo' Joes, then continues back via Knott Pete's Rim.

Looking west toward Helper.

Upper intermediate: Bigger Loop
For upper-intermediates, I suggest Luke's Bigger Loop. It's 10.6 miles and has some more technical riding on upper Lukes and IMBAtween before joining Smo' Joes. My version includes a detour onto Wyatt's Way before return via Knott Pete's Rim.

The trail has occasional chokepoints designed to keep the ATVs off. The tight turns will brush your arms on pinion and juniper, but are created to discourage motorcycles.

Experts or strong intermediates: Figure 8
Experts can enjoy nice day's riding with a figure-8 ride as follows: Lukes to IMBAtween to Meads Rim northbound. Onto Floating Rocks to Lollipop. Down Shamrock & Roll to Yoo Hoo. Road to Luke's and fork left on Luke's. Again take IMBAtween. This time fork south on Smo' Joes. Add Wyatt's Way and Knott Pete's Rim for a 16-mile ride.

Cattleguard ride-over. At this point, a connector trail can take you to S'mo Joes for the short loop.

Classic Luke's ride:
The old classic ride started in Price at Pioneer Park and proceeded west then north on a stiff doubletrack climb past the painted rocks. The DT heads north along a narrow ridge with great views before reaching the official Luke's trailhead on the mesa 1.4 miles later. The return from the top of Luke's is via Mead's Rim, which will return you to the outskirts of town as Mead's drops off the next mesa to the east.

Typical dirt-and-rock terrain among the junipers.

Alan's Alley

Alan's Alley is a 1.3-mile side trail off Luke's. It begins one mile from the trailhead and heads west along the edge of the mesa, then returns to Luke's. (You'll miss about 0.3 miles of flat riding on Luke's.) It's a bit more technical than this early section of Luke's, but still easy.

View to the west from Alan's Alley. A bit of snow climbs to the Skyline Drive area on the last day of May.

Bonus Loop

The Bonus Loop is a lariat-shaped side trail that forks off Luke's near the top. It's 0.8 miles in length. The loop itself is pleasant cruising, but there's a rough tough but short trip down a wash and back up before you reach the loop.

Alan's Alley could be your first taste of intermediate-level riding. For example, young beginners could make a lariat ride by looping around Alan's and heading back to the trailhead.

Like Alan's Alley, the Bonus Loop takes you to the western edge of the mesa, where you can enjoy more views of the scenery.

Looking north, the Book Cliffs are the upper level of cliff lines.

 

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Classic Luke's Trail from Pioneer Park:
0.0   Northwest corner of park, go west (towards water tank)
        N 39 36.476 W 110 48.548  alt=5640
0.15 Keep straight on dirt (R dead-ends)
0.18 R on dirt road (goes up hill between C's)
        N 39 36.458 W 110 48.738
0.45 Keep straight at all intersections, top of hill
        N 39 36.660 W 110 48.797 alt=5890
1.1   Go R around water tank
        N 39 37.205 W 110 48.760
1.35 Turn L at DT
        N 39 37.360 W 110 48.780
1.4   Parking area, begin singletrack
        N39 37.367 W110 48.811
        Cross doubletracks at 1.5, 2.0, 2.3
2.4   Keep straight (R), L=Alans Alley
        Add 1 mile if doing Alans Alley
        N39 38.038 W110 49.049
       
Cross doubletracks at 2.5, 2.6
2.7   Keep straight (R), L=Alans Alley return
        N39 38.246 W110 49.160
 
2.8   At canyon rim, view
        N 39 38.248 W 110 49.165 alt=6140
3.8   Over cattleguard
        (R = cutoff to Smo' Joes on east rim)
        N39 38.826 W110 48.492
3.85 Pass under power line ("White Trash Point")
        N39 38.656 W110 48.660
4.0   Keep R (L = Bonus Loop)
        N39 38.848 W110 48.458
        Add 0.7 miles if doing Bonus Loop
4.05 Cross DT
        N39 38.849 W110 48.430
4.3   At Kenilworth Road
        N39 39.035 W110 48.253
Direct to Meads via Kenilworth Road:
0.0   Turn L uphill on DT
0.5   Keep R on smaller road (don't go to pump station)
0.8   Just after road splits around junipers,
        spot opening in fence, with DT on R
        N39 39.577 W110 47.941
Lukes Little Loop, clockwise:
0.0   Start at Lukes TH on mesa
        N39 37.367 W110 48.811
        Cross any doubletracks
1.0   Fork L on Alan's Alley*
        N39 38.038 W110 49.049
2.3   Fork L, back on Lukes
        N39 38.246 W110 49.160
3.5   R just before cattlegrate
        N39 38.826 W110 48.492
        Cattlegrate Cutoff trail
3.7   Cross road to DT (stay R of fence)
        N39 38.723 W110 48.340
3.8   At rim, R on Smo' Joes
        N39 38.721 W110 48.274
5.2   Keep R, L=Wyatts Way
        N39 37.726 W110 48.241
5.3   Fork L on Knott Petes Rim
        N39 37.653 W110 48.275
        L = Wyatts Way return
6.5   Cross bigger road onto DT
        N39 37.357 W110 48.697
6.6   At trailhead
        *Subtract 1 mile if you skip Alan's Alley
 
Lukes Bigger Loop, clockwise:
0.0   Start at Lukes TH on mesa
        N39 37.367 W110 48.811
        Cross any doubletracks
1.0   Fork L on Alans Alley
        N39 38.038 W110 49.049
2.3   Fork L, back on Lukes
        N39 38.246 W110 49.160
3.5   Cross cattlegrate (R=cutoff)
        N39 38.826 W110 48.492
3.6   L downhill on Bonus Loop
        N39 38.848 W110 48.455
3.7   L uphill on DT N39 38.886 W110 48.455
3.8   Keep R onto ST then follow powerline
        N39 38.878 W110 48.526
3.9   ST veers L away from powerline
        N39 38.906 W110 48.625
4.2   Back at DT, keep straight
4.3   R on ST N39 38.886 W110 48.455
 
4.35 L to resume Lukes N39 38.848 W110 48.455
4.4   Cross gravel road N39 38.848 W110 48.432
4.7   Cross Kenilworth road to IMBAtween
        N39 39.035 W110 48.253
5.5   R on Smo' Joes N39 39.073 W110 48.065
5.6   Cross DT N39 39.037 W110 48.121
6.0   Cross cattleguard
        Keep straight N39 38.721 W110 48.274
        L = cutoff trail
8.0   Hard L on Wyatts Way
        N39 37.726 W110 48.241
8.1   R downhill on DT
        Cross road to ST
8.8   Hard R (L=Devils Backbone)
9.5   Keep L onto Knott Petes Rim
       N39 37.653 W110 48.275 (R = S'mo Joes)
10.7 Across road to DT
        N39 37.357 W110 48.697
10.8 Back at parking
Getting there, Pioneer Park (classic ride, or for return via Mead's Rim):  Eastbound on US 6, take the first Price exit. Turn left and enter town on 100 North. About a mile after leaving the freeway, turn left (north) onto 100 East. Go four city blocks to the far end of Pioneer Park, turn right onto 500 North and find a parking place. The ride starts at the corner of 100 East 500 North. You'll be riding west (towards the water tank).
Getting there, Luke's or Wood Hill trailhead:  Enter Price as above. Turn left (north) on 300 East. Drive to 900 North and turn left. The road will turn to dirt and/or narrow asphalt, and will veer right and climb the mesa.
Classic Luke's trailhead: One-half mile later at the top of the mesa, just after passing the mound of dirt that hides the city water tank, fork left (west) and proceed 100 yards to a primitive parking area. the trail begins on the west side.
Wood Hill trailhead:  On the dirt road, drive to the top of the mesa as above, but continue north another 1/2 mile. The prominent trailhead is on your left.

Camping:  Primitive sites just southwest of the trailhead
Water:  None at trailhead.
Bathrooms:  Pioneer Park in Price
Bike services:  Price

For trail pages for other riding options
see the Wood Hill area page.


Trail-help Goodies:
 
One-page riding guides:
      Classic Luke's    Little Luke's Loop    Bigger Luke's Loop
 GPS track files (right-click link, then save as a file):
      GPX area with individual trail tracks
      Luke's only   Luke's little loop course   Luke's bigger loop course
 Maps for printing:
      Luke's topo (area of loop only)      Full area topo
      Classic Luke's, satelite view   Classic Luke's w Mead's topo
      Price-Area trails Large-format map courtesy of Price Area Singletrack Society (PASS)
 Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Price area resources

Copyright 2005 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Updated 2013, 2017