Last week we featured our favorite hikes to waterfalls, lakes, even 14'ers in Colorado. This week we want to feature some of our staff's favorite bike rides. The first list comes compliments of Jim Hucks, 7NEWS photojournalist
, a mountain biker since 1986.
My Favorite Singletrack
By Jim Hucks.
10. INDIAN CREEK, Waterton Canyon. Difficult.
The ride starts with six miles of dirt road to warm you up, then launches up the Colorado Trail by the Strontia Springs Dam. Go left at the bench to Roxboro loop and look for the right turn and sign for Indian Creek. If you are looking for solitude close to Denver, this trail is almost always deserted. I always do the loop counter-clockwise. This baby can take five hours depending on flat tires and fitness. Seasonal water resupply exists at the Indian Creek CG at Rampart Range Road (halfway), but don't count on it.
9. WESTERN RIM, Rabbit Valley near Fruita. Moderate. Single speed approved.
Drive two miles short of the Utah line on I-70 and exit at Rabbit Valley. Several ATV trails go in all directions, but look for trail No. 2 BLM markers just south of the first parking lot and you're on your way. This journey hooks up with the Kokopelli trail for a ways, but the real payoff is the view of the Colorado River from the Western Rim proper -- not to mention the sweet singletrack. A few motorcycles may be out here but they are mostly friendly and, like many places in the desert, are responsible for creating many of the trails we bicycle on. About 20 miles, and much more fun than the Edge Loop. Bring a lot of water.
8. KEYSTONE GULCH to COLORADO TRAIL, Keystone. Moderate.
Off Soda Springs Road in Keystone. Park at Keystone Gulch trailhead and ride up the ski area service road (dirt) past North Peak base area. Then cross creek (right) at the Blue Ridge Trail sign. Head up the double-track for about eight switchbacks to the short singletrack to the Colorado Trail, turn right and hold on! This narrow trail swoops down fast towards Breckenridge but then heads back north and passes the Keystone Ranch. Someday I'd like to stop and see the Keystone Ranch but I'm always having too much fun zipping through the meadow. The trip is about 12 miles, or about 3 hours. I don't have an odometer on my mountain bike.
7. CRESTED BUTTE. Moderate, Difficult.
Okay, riders who have been to CB pretty much compare all other singletracks to CB trails, and there are too many great ones to list here. If your unfamiliar with the area, get a trail map. My favorite trail in CB is the bomb down Teocalli Ridge. From town it's a long haul. It tops out at 11,200 feet, and it will burn your forearms and brakes. Though it's deteriorated into a bit of a trough, it's still one of the rowdiest rides I've been on. You can make the trip out to Brush Creek fun by taking Upper Loop or Upper-upper Loop, but make sure you save plenty of power for the long climb up to Teocalli. On the way back, throw in Strand Hill for fun. It's about 35 miles round trip from Crested Butte.
6. SUNNYSIDE, Aspen. Moderate.
This is a local favorite, shown to me by a local in 1991. Sunnyside features superb narrow singletrack through aspen groves with mature trees as big around as telephone poles. This trail traverses Red Mountain and great views of Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells, Aspen, and, if you look carefully, Starwood, await you. The initial climb up Smuggler Mountain Road may weed out some folks but keep going to the radio tower, turn left at the first doubletrack, and things will get easier, I promise. Some forest service signs should point you towards Lenado or 4 Corners. Do not head up the Sunnyside shortcut -- it is anything but a shortcut. At 4 Corners go left and follow forest service signs. The trail zips through the aspen and down some great twisting sections and suddenly pops out of the woods in the middle of sage, red dirt, and sunshine. This section of the trail gets a lot of uphill traffic from the opposite trailhead so watch for hikers. Also -- with the permission of property owners -- this trail crosses some expensive driveways, so please stay focused on the trail. It's about three hours round-trip from Aspen.
5. GOVERNMENT TRAIL, Snowmass Village. Moderate.
If you're feeling good after Sunnyside, head to the bus station in Aspen and get on the bus to Snowmass Village and ride the Government Trail back to Aspen for another thrilling ride that's about 80 percent downhill. After the bus ride, find Wood Road and head up past a gate (and the occasional live-trap for bears) where the dirt road begins. Look for a forest service sign for Government Trail and put on your helmet if you haven't already. I think it's 9 miles back to Aspen. This trail is an absolute hoot. Superb singletrack with an occasional technical rocky section or creek crossing. After zipping across ski slopes at Tiehack, the trail used to come out near the swimming pool and high school, but development has changed it a bit. All trails end at the Cooper Street Pier anyway, don't they?
4. KENOSHA PASS TO GEORGIA PASS, Park County. Difficult.
This is a huge ride, 22 miles round-trip -- all on trail. Up high (Georgia Pass is 11,585 ft) there is considerable exposure to bad weather. This is a popular section of the Colorado Trail and on weekends it's busy with hikers, backpackers, and a lot of mountain bikers. Park off 285 near the Kenosha Pass CG, but don't park in the CG or you'll have to pay for day use. The trail begins directly across the cattle guard and left. This is a wonderful tour of alpine scenery and aspen groves. A few creek crossings and a long gradual climb will take you to tree line. The summit of Georgia Pass is another mile. Keep going and you'll eventually end up in Breckenridge -- or turn around and prepare for the ride of your life. Keep in mind the huge descent near the beginning of the ride is a huge climb on the way back. Exposure to weather has been a concern here for me once or twice. The trip takes four to six hours.
3. MONARCH CREST, near Poncha Springs. Moderate (with a shuttle).
This has become a must-do for singletrack addicts. If you shuttle (most do) from Poncha Springs to Monarch Pass it's around 25 miles, mostly flat or downhill. If you ride this massive loop from town -- which I have done once -- you never have to feel guilty about taking the shuttle ever again. From the summit of Monarch Pass back to town is a high-altitude odyssey, a good part of which takes place on the stunning Continental Divide trail, at times over 12,000 feet. There are a few options from Marshall Pass on the way down, but I have always continued south to the Rainbow Trail, which is a long, rowdy descent to a dirt road that leads to US 285 and back to Poncha. The trip takes three to five hours with the shuttle. The distance is 25 miles or so.
2. JEFFERSON COUNTY OPEN SPACE, Jefferson County. Moderate to Difficult.
There are maybe a dozen Jefferson County Open Space parks with great mountain biking on multi-use trails. The proximity to the Denver area -- and the fact that up to now, there are few, if any, restrictions on mountain bikes -- make JeffCo a model for other municipalities trying to manage trails. My favorites are Mount Falcon near Morrison, Apex and White Ranch near Golden, and Bergen Peak near Evergreen.
1. TELEGRAPH TRAIL SYSTEM, Durango. All levels.
Home to the legendary race weekend known as the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, as well as numerous pro road and mountain bike racers, Durango is, in my opinion, the cycling destination town in the Colorado high country. Mountain bike trails for all abilities start from every side of town. Most notable is the Telegraphy Trail System, constructed by Trails 2000 volunteers for all trail users. This array of well-thought-out singletrack loops makes the most of the area and provides a memorable mountain bike experience from a few miles to as many as you want. If you're lucky enough to be in Durango for a few days, check out Junction Creek trails, Animas trails, and Lightner Creek area, as well as the Durango Diner (but give yourself a few hours to digest before attempting any strenuous rides).
But wait, there's more! Another 7NEWS photojournalist is also a mountain biker.
EJ's Favorite Mountain Bike Rides:
1. Rampart Reservoir; Woodland Park, Colo. 2. 401 Trail; Crested Butte, Colo. 3tie Buffalo Creek Trail; Buffalo Creek, Colo. 3tie Waterton Canyon/Colorado Trail; Jefferson County, Colo. 4. Three Sisters; Evergreen, Colo. 5. Peak to Peak Trail; Summit County, Colo. 6. Winter Park Resort; Winter Park, Colo. 7. Shrine Pass; Vail, Colo. 8. The Boy Scout; Glenwood Springs, Colo. 9. Monarch Crest; Monarch Pass, Colo. 10. Jefferson County Open Space Parks; Jefferson County, Colo.
Jim's list mentioned there were too many great trails in Crested Butte to name, well Rob Stickland
with the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association has created his own list. 1. 401- Crested Butte 2. Hartman Rocks- Gunnison 3. Flying Dutchman, Needle Creek Res- Gunnison County 4. Drs Park- Almont CO 5. Colorado Trail, Silverton Durango 6. Canyon Creek, Whitepine CO 7. Teocalli Ridge, Crested Butte CO 8. Dyke Trail, Crested Butte, CO 9. Strand Hill, Crested Butte, CO 10. Sun Park, Gunnison, CO
Viewer Marty Caivano, Boulder, CO.
had a few more to add: Joe's Ridge and Kessel Run in Fruita, so much swoopy fun it's silly! Pet-e-Kes to Holy Cross in Grand Junction...some fun, techy riding in a fascinating landscape. The loop of Reno Divide, Flag Creek, Bear Creek, and Deadman's Gulch trails in Crested Butte, the downhills will blow your mind, and force you to pick the dead bugs out of your teeth from the perma-grin you're wear.
We want to hear from you. Do you have a top 10 list of favorite bike rides/trails you're willing to share? Or just a couple locations? E-mail me and we'll include it here, email@example.com
. (Since this is in our Discover Colorado, we'd prefer if you stick to Colorado locations)
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