In Colorado, you can take a ski lift to the top of a mountain and ride down on singletrack trails marked and maintained by the people who ride them. How about pedaling on paths through high alpine meadows, state forest service roads and old railroad beds? In the resorts and cities, several adventure travel companies and local bike shops offer half-day, all-day and multi-day guided trips.
Resorts With Miles of Trails and Bike ParksMore than one resort in Colorado claims to be the state's mountain biking capital. You decide.
Crested Butte, located in west-central Colorado north of Gunnison is a laid-back, "We're not Aspen" resort town, with a disproportionate percentage of outdoor lovers. When they can no longer ski, snowshoe, or ice climb they're out rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.
When the mud is gone, the Crested Butte Mountain Resort opens trails on the mountain for bikers. Members of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association also work hard to maintain and protect the hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails that thread the mountains surrounding the village.Trails at the resort and near town are easily accessible and less difficult than many of the ones further out, where at time some bicyclists might feel like they're going to fall off a cliff if they slide off the path. Views and scenery anywhere in the area are photo ops.
In town, there are several shops in town where you can rent bikes, helmets and armor. You'll also find companies eager to guide bikers of all abilities. Crested Butte Mountain Guides provides vehicle supported overnight bike trips. Just remember the town is located at almost 9000 feet above sea level and proceed accordingly. The biking section on the Visit Crested Butte Web site gives current trail conditions and even warn where cows might be encountered.
You can ride on more than 600 miles of trails at Winter Park Resort and in the Fraser Valley. Mountain biking is huge at the resort where three lifts provide access to the Trestle Bike Park. The Trestle Bike Park School is a great place for novices to learn the sport and experts to improve their skills with classes offered daily after their mid-June opening (assuming a late mountain snow storm doesn't delay things). The coaches teach 2 1/2hour introductory lessons, pro skill and free ride instruction. Bike, helmet and armor rentals are available.
While many riders use the lifts to access the downhill trails, it's not mandatory. For example, you can ride the Icarus Road up the Mary Jane side of the resort and access the downhill trails from there. Check out the Enchanted Meadows for some great scenery. You'll find bike trails in Frasier and Grand County for all skill levels.
The resort style of Vail is the antithesis of Crested Butte, but the mountain biking here is spectacular. You can ride the paved bike trail from the town to the top of Vail Pass (not an easy ride with major elevation changes), ride trails through and around town or on the mountain.
You'll find several trails on Vail Mountain, including four downhill trails that should only be ridden by expert riders with downhill bikes and downhill equipment. Purchase a ticket to haul you and your bike up the mountain on the gondola. Vail Bike Tech, Trailwise Guides and Nova Guides all offer bike tours. Many shops in town, including Vail Sports, Vail Bike Tech and Bike Valet, rent bikes and equipment.
Sources to Find Trails for Mountain Biking, Trail Riding and Road TouringMountain biking is so popular in Colorado that many cities and resorts have networks of trails, books have been written describing trails, and there are several good websites. Here are links to a few more resorts to check out.
- Colorado Springs.
- Estes Park.
- Fort Collins.
- Steamboat Springs.
- At Bike Colorado there are singletrack rides you can download to your own Garmin GPS.
- The Colorado Trail stretches from Denver to Durango, with a dizzying array of trails for novices, families and expert mountain bicyclists.