What’s old is new at the new RMOC bike park – by Jan Wondra

A new bike park in Chaffee County, the Junk Yard Bike Park, features an exciting series of obstacles built out of recycled building materials, old cars and more in the Arkansas River Valley.

On Memorial Day weekend, the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (MROC) will open its brand new bike park to the public. Located just south of Buena Vista at the entrance to Browns Canyon National Monument in the Arkansas Valley, the bike park is conveniently located just north of Nathrop on US 285 between Salida and Buena Vista.

The establishment lives up to its name. The skeleton of the ‘Junk Yard Bike Park’ is made up of ‘garbage’ that has been collected over the past several years as the MROC’s waterfront property has developed. One man’s bric-a-brac is another man’s treasure. In this case, materials like concrete, asphalt, telephone poles, and even old vehicles were kept out of the landfill and instead turned into a fun place to ride bikes.

An old school bus gets a new life as an obstacle in the Junk Yard Bike Park. Courtesy picture.

Special features include a jump over an old Chevrolet Caprice Classic car (known locally as the White Lightning) and a stop in an old school bus. The freshly built bike park also includes four different lines with beginner and pro features, a pump track and a small skills area in the middle of the track. From the Junk Yard Bike Park, visitors can also take the MROC single track trails which offer gentle downhill lines as well as intermediate/advanced rockfall characteristics.

The park is open to all and free. in fact, the Junk Yard Bike Park is the largest bike park within 100 miles. Although guests are encouraged to bring their own bikes, Dirt Jumpers, bikes designed for aerial stunts and landing jumps, are available to rent for $50.

The idea for the bike park came from MROC owner Brandon Slate and his business partner, Ryan Coulter. They both started burying the waste that came with the MROC property when they moved there in 2016.

But it didn’t take long for Slate and Coulter to start riding the junk and imagining a bike park. They saw it not only as a way to keep materials out of the Chaffee County landfill, but also to meet a local need. Another plus is that it would also attract people to the MROC to enjoy the outpost’s other features, such as its microbrewery, food truck, and riverside seating.

Once the idea was pitched, Slate hired Dave Norris, aka “Dirty Dave”, as lead designer/builder of the bike park and Elevations Excavation in conjunction with Dirt Doc Permaculture to execute the build.

“We’re excited to offer another great way to enjoy RMOC’s waterfront property,” says Slate. “Although we are best known for our river trips, we are looking forward to becoming a local cycling destination as well.”

To learn more about the MROC, they have a website: MROC.com.

Feature Image: The new and old Junk Yard Bike Park will open Memorial Day weekend, offering 100 acres of land. Courtesy photo.