Colorado has so many places that mountain bikers enjoy riding and absolutely love. From the western slope to the front range, you’ll find mountain bike trails that’ll stun you with their expansive views and intoxicating nature. Here are just a sliver of the magnificent mountain biking around Colorado’s Rockies.
There are so many interesting trails to choose from that you might be confused on where to begin. While you can’t really go wrong, there are some worth exploring each season, and some best left for another day. From single-track to fire road, Colorado’s got all the top mountain biking to choose from.
Best Mountain Biking in Colorado
Spring through fall Colorado is one of the most popular travel destinations for mountain bikers. Make sure you tune up your bike before you head out on an unforgettable road trip. Or if you’re without your own set of wheels, consider renting one in town, or buying an affordable mountain bike. Many models from well known manufacturers are priced less than $500. Now let’s look at some places that are a-must-visit this season for mountain biking.
Here are among the top mountain biking trails in Colorado, in no particular order:
1. The Colorado Trail, Waterton Canyon or Silverton to Durango
This multi-use trail is very famous with hikers and use by bikers too. Its total length is nearly 500 miles of challenging alpine terrain from start to finish. For you to do the whole Colorado Trail you need to be physically fit to be able to endure the length. Commitment is also paramount for such fêtes to be accomplished, if you decide to do it, push through and make it to the end.
For those looking for just a slice of Colorado’s most iconic trail, the Silverton to Durango track has a stunning single track with epic mountain views and no wilderness bypasses. It carries some serious vertical climbs though, as it summits more than one mountain pass. A more accessible area is located in Littleton’s Waterton Canyon.
2. Doctor Park, Crested Butte
This is another top trail in Colorado that has an amazing view on lock down. Doctor Park is 14.2 miles long with light traffic along the trails. It offers some long distance scenery and begins with a 2,500 vertical-foot fire road ascend and turns to a middle ring double track to the trails high point of 10,877 feet.
From the start outside Crested Butte, this trail will have knar, roots and a lot of corners in store for you, so be alert and ready for anything that might come your way. At the end, the trail suddenly tips upwards and you have to go down the hill. This is the most technical part of the ride but once you have successfully navigated to the bottom, you can enjoy a swim in Taylor River to cool off.
3. Monarch Crest, Salida
This is a single track bike trail with splendid scenery of valleys and mountains. Riding it can be quite extreme and take a toll on the body so you need to be well prepared with water and snacks.
Situated outside Salida to the west of town, the beginning of the trail is quite flat when you start your ride in Monarch Crest. The way is quite smooth with no big rocks to maneuver. After a quick ascend on a double track, you should remain in the single track. Here you find some rocks and roots that you have to ride through.
4. Buffalo Creek, Pine
Buffalo Creek has both the single and double track trails. You can bike all day long on the Buffalo Creek. It’s huge! And Pine is a sweet little town tucked away south of Highway 285, not far from Denver.
Better still, why don’t you turn it into a weekend adventure because of the speculator camping that you find along the way? When you are there you get to see the majestic rock formations, bare landscapes and beautiful mountain tops.
5. Lunch Loop, Grand Junction
This is also a single track that descends and has a playground for dirt bikers. Services offered while on the trail include restrooms, a place where you can drink water and stock up. It gets hot here in the summer with little shade available. There are a plethora of technical trails easily accessed right from the town of Grand Junction.
Lunch Loop is an awesome network and is typically rated as challenging, though you’ll find something for everyone from greens to blacks. Keep an eye out for tight corners, some of them are blind. Trail runners also make sure of the Lunch Loop, appropriately named due to its convenient nature. Restrooms are on site and dogs are permitted.
6. Horse Gulch, Durango
Horse Gulch has stunning single track in Durango, which is normally arid and hot in the summer. So, having enough water with you is recommended. Both beginners and pros can use this trail depending on which route you take.
Some of the featured trails in Horse Gulch include Sugar, Telegraph, Snake Charmer, Raider Ridge, and Power Line, among others.
7. Government Trail, Aspen
This trail is near Aspen and is the most famous track there. It’s a single track made of dirt and gravel with a trail head elevation of 8,400 feet, so temperatures are cooler.
You will enjoy the 19.7 mile long trail even better during summer and fall season. It can take you roughly 2 to 4 hours to finish the trail. Being a moderate track, you can even take your dog here. Hiking and running is common too on the Government Trail.
8. Divide Trail, Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs offers beautiful single track biking trails with everything from ranch land views to alpine forests to feast your eyes, ears and sense on. Some of the trails the Yampa Valley offers include:
- Divide Trail: Difficult to navigate, but incredible mountain biking trail.
- Morning Gloria trail: This easy-to-ride trail offers a meandering but gentle rise to the top of Emerald mountain.
- Diamond trail: It’s between 8 to 10 miles long depending on the route you use and is rated as both easy and difficult trail depending on the rider.
9. Phil’s World, Cortez
Year round you can take on the exciting network of flow trails at Phil’s World in Cortez. There’s no fee to access the 27 miles of trails located on BLM land in Southwest Colorado. You’ll be able to ride 2,000 feet of vertical on these single track trails, though the terrain is relatively flat riding on the mesa tops and through cool canyons.
All levels will find suitable mountain biking here, from beginners to advanced riders. Biking is popular here and to help with that, it’s limited to clockwise travel only. To access the trailhead, head 3 miles east on Highway 160 from downtown Cortez. It’s located on the north side of the highway via Road 30.1. Look for the Montezuma County Fairgrounds on the opposite side of the highway from the trailhead.
Whichever trail you decide to explore, have fun! Always make sure that your mountain bike is in proper condition, to avoid mishaps midway. Wear a good helmet to protect your head and come with enough water to keep hydrating your system and nutritious food to keep your energy levels up the whole time.