Ecuador – Avenue of Volcanos, Inca Trails and a burgeoning mountain bike scene.
Overview ||Day 1-Ilalo and Lumbisi || Day 2-Pululahua || Day 4-Rucu Pichincha || Day 5-Quilotoa || Day 6-Chimborazo || Day 7-Mama Rumi || Day 8-Camino Del Rey || Day 9-I-Line || Day 10-La Paz || Cuyabeno Lodge
Day 3 – Chota Trails
Today on day 3 of our Ecuador Mountain Biking trip with Mateo of RIDE Ecuador we got to experience the drier side of the country. After our previous day’s trip culminating in cloud-forest singletrack we drove to the regional capital of Ibarra just 60kms north of Quito. After overnighting in Ibarra, we rode the Chota Trails descending from 2550m to 1600m. This trail network is also fairly big having some 8 different tracks and is also a nice way to showcase Ecuador’s diversity starting at high Andean cordillera at Ibarra with its typical Imbaburra forest then dropping down through desert that constantly changes.
The lucky part is that just three days ago it had rained so the dirt and sand was about as tacky as it gets. The cacti were flowering and even usually sandy loose corners were in fine shape. We dropped down to the highway just N of Salinas where we had our lunch and a swim. Very bourgeoise and an excellent way to end a ride.
In less than a couple of hours we were back in Quito. This minimization of travelling downtime seems to be one of the lesser known draws of Ecuador. Everything is so close with so much diversity packed into a compact area that it was entirely possible for us to see a fair amount of the surrounding country without having to spend too much time being driven from town to town..
Our startpoint at a hotel just 2 kms north of Ibarra, which itself is just 60kms north of Quito.
Small town near the start of the trail – Bario Aloburo
But there was nobody to pay!
Start of the trail.
This trail is also shared by Motorbikes so there were some line options.
It was also shared by Horses, but they didn’t seem to use the trails…
Very cool terrain
Trail goes on forever!
With some trail features and yes he landed it!
Some Cacti to keep you on the trail.
Cacti going off!
This ride ended at this great pool, where Pilsener was to be had for $1.00!
Even Lee drank and enjoyed the Churrasco!
Elevation Profile – Chota trails
powered by Trailforks.com
Where to stay
Quinta San Miguel proved to be a nice place to stay near Ibarra. It is somewhat incongruously located close to a ring road around a lake that used to be a race-track but no need to worry as the race track is decommissioned and the location is quiet. Rooms were spacious and the grounds are very nice with a splendid view down to the lake. Quinta San Miguel also has beautiful gardens and serves a huge breakfast on patios overlooking views of the lake and said gardens.
We stayed at the Quinta San Miguel just north of Ibarra east of Yahuarcocha Lake