An Exciting Downhill Mountain Bike Ride Outside of La Paz, Bolivia
So here’s quite a ride concept: start mountain biking off-road at 4, 850m of elevation (that’s over 15, 900 feet!!) along wide and sweeping no-longer-trafficked tracks, scree slopes, rocky bits, over creeks… then down down down on a rough dirt road to 1,900m (6,230 feet) where you encounter the haunted (eerie!) castle called El Castillo del Loro in the South Yungas region. THIS is Gravity’s Ghost Ride – not for those with ZERO mountain biking experience, but brilliant for those riders who are looking for something more challenging and much much less crowded and touristy than the ever-popular World’s Most Dangerous Road ride (yet not AS challenging as a full day of gnarly singletrack!).
Ride Downhill From EVEN HIGHER than the World s Most Dangerous Road
The Ghost Ride begins higher than the start of The WMDR. Catch your breath at the top of this wee Andean foothill and take in your surroundings: the pyramid-topped Mount Huayna Potosí, which perches 6,000m+ just over yonder; the receding glacier of Mount Chacaltaya, topping out at 5,486m; and directly in front of you, the gorgeous valley dropping down into the Yungas region, home of the pueblos of Yolosa, Coroico and Caranavi to the north and Yanacachi and Chulumani to the south.
Sections of "Real" Mountain Biking and Single-track
The riding on Ghost Ride actually starts out more challenging than it ends (which is opposite to that of WMDR). You get to know your Kona “Stinky” and the meandering off-track trail at the same time – you hit your sweet groove on each of the hairpins as you drop, sinuous fashion, lower into the valley. The top is quite cold -- you may even encounter patches of snow! Traction is provided by the soft shale-like surface (and Gravity’s hurly-burly specialist tires!). Soon you have some trail options: stick to the double track and work on your balance through those S curves; head down some skinny llama trails that cut across the double track as it curves lower and lower; or freeride a scree slope or two – the closest thing to skiing on a bicycle! The great thing about these ride options is that Ghost Ride really accommodates couples or groups of riders with differing riding abilities. You can choose a track that’s a bit more mellow or that’s suitably certifiable! (That is, if your Gravity guide thinks you’re up for it. Remember, the risk and responsibility falls on your shoulders as The Rider. We are in Bolivia, where helicopter airlift rescues are quite simply NOT available.)
Experience Authentic Bolivia ... on a Mountain Bike
When the optional singletrack ends, stop for a quick snack, and then hit a dirt road through the valley. You’ll pass through wee villages with a few stone edifices, stop at scenic spots, and have the opportunity to play on the bike (but only if you want to!). At the side of this trail small drops and jumps abound, and riding techniques will be explained. Then you’ll enjoy another snack in front of an abandoned (haunted?) church, then make your way farther down the road. Passing through Pongo you’ll see the small country settlement where famous farm-raised trout is hatched (and you might get to sample it later at the Castle). Then you’ll finish the “off-road” portion of the ride on fast rocky sections of road only open to off-road vehicles and bikes.
Speed is Your Friend
At this point, about 2/3s of the ride is behind you. Now comes the fast stuff. Your group will bomb down a fast dirt road with spectacular views of the valley at every turn. If you’re inclined -- and you don’t use your brakes -- some of the fastest speeds on two wheels can be had on this section! You will stop several times, taking photos, and taking in the views of the valley and of two amazing waterfalls!
A Haunted Castle!
At long last… your first view of The Castle! It’s a bit of an odd sight, seeing a castle such as this, perched there on the edge of the cloud forest jungle. It was constructed by Paraguayan prisoners of war during the Chaco War (1932-1935) at the behest of then president of Bolivia, José Luís Tejada Sorzano. Take in a bit of the haunted history as you enjoy cold drinks, a full-on buffet (sometimes featuring Pongo trout), and a hot shower. You can choose to stay the night, or load back in the bus for the return to La Paz and experience some of the incredible views you may have missed on the way down!
Don t Miss Out: Here s How To Book This Great Ride
This ride is available EVERY day that we can form a group of four or more riders, so contact us in advance by email to set a date and form a group. We have extensive information booklets that contain lots of photos of the ride at our office and in the offices of our authorised agencies. If you would like an idea of what the Ghost Ride involves check out the video at right as filmed on one of our first rides down it. For more information about "El Castillo" visit their site... if you are brave enough, book a night or two there for after the ride.