Winter Park, Steamboat Springs, Snowmass, Carbondale, Durango
Photography, Words & Video: Tory Powers
Colorado is easily one of the best locations on the planet for mountain biking. To truly experience and show everybody how good Colorado really is, we took a five-stop trip through the best riding the state has to offer. From north to south, and east to west, our path was Winter Park, to Steamboat Springs, to Aspen / Snowmass, to Carbondale, to Durango. We rode completely different styles of trail in each location and got to ride in some spots that even us locals hadn’t heard much about.
Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park
Our first leg of the trip started at a familiar Colorado destination: Winter Park + Trestle Bike Park. Trestle is one of the world’s largest bike parks, with over 40 miles of gravity trail and an expansion of another 10 over the next few years. Trestle is known for being a progressive mountain with beginner to expert terrain and the largest rental fleet in the US.
We couldn’t help but celebrate a perfect day of riding with one of the local’s favorite spots - Pizza Pedl’r.
Look forward to next year when their new gondola will take you to the top in 5.5 minutes, less than half of the time it currently takes.
Steamboat Springs and Steamboat Bike Park
Just under 2 hours northwest of Winter Park into the Rocky Mountains lies Steamboat Springs. A very famous ski town is now known as “Bike Town USA.” With over 500 miles of single track, it’s no wonder.
Our first day consisted entirely of backcountry. We went to the Bear Creek area and started at around 10K feet, above treeline. With nearly 360 degree views, the abundance of mosquitoes was basically forgotten. We were blown away to see that the entire first section was like a chunky minefield. Think Moab slick rock but exactly the opposite of slick. Lines everywhere. Upper Bear Creek is a double black, but there are countless trails in the area for all skill levels.STEAMBOAT BIKE PARK
Sadly we were put on rain delay until 12pm, which shifted to hail delay. Colorado’s summer weather can change in an instant. This rain and hail ended up creating amazing riding for when the sun popped out not 30 minutes later, switching back and forth between light rain.
We basically only rode two trails, and that’s all we needed. Flying Diamond, their jump trail, which is expected to go top to bottom or about 3k of vertical, and Bucking Bronco, another jump trail with some freeride wood features.
Amy, who has spent a ton of time in Whistler over the last year, explains Flying Diamond as being a “better Dirt Merchant.” Pretty high praise.
Nostalgic to myself and the others who used to race the Mountain States Cup back in the day, Snowmass has come a long way. Now hosting things like the EWS and BME, their bike park is the real deal. Snowmass is known for its “moondust,” which is some of the softest, finest dirt you’ll find. And like our guide Tyler Lindsay said, “The South Park episode of Aspen is pretty accurate,” so take that with a grain of salt.
Their bike park is nearly 3000 vertical feet, with 14.5 miles of trail and immediate access to another 80 miles of modern and classic XC/DH trails. They’re approved to build another 13 miles of trail over the next couple of summers along with a dedicated beginner skills park mid-mountain.
Just a measly 40 minutes north-west of Aspen / Snowmass lies Carbondale, a true hidden gem that isn’t talked about much in terms of the Colorado riding scene. The entire town sits in a valley with Mt. Sopris jutting up seemingly out of nowhere. It’s a true sight. With Sedona style Red Hill on one side of town, and fast gullies on the opposite, it’s the perfect place to ride everything.
We got hooked up with Aloha Mountain Cyclery, which had the most hospitable and generous team we experienced on the whole trip. Plus, their shuttle vehicle is super rad, even if it may be one of the most incapable shuttle vehicles out there. But hey, looks are everything.
The last leg of our trip was Durango. We took the route that heads through Ouray, one of the most remote, yet beautiful mountain towns, on what they call the Million Dollar Highway.
Durango makes you feel like you’re in the old west. But in a good way. Not the gun-slingin', sheriff dodging kind. The buildings are dated, but they are full of history. On top of it being an interesting town with lots to do, there are over 300 miles of trails only 30 minutes from downtown. The best part of this is that a lot of it you can ride to directly from wherever you’re staying.
We met up with cross country Olympian Travis Brown, so we were prepared to get our butts kicked hard. He took us up to Engineer Mountain Trail, a staple of Durango. With 2400 feet of elevation gain, and a summit of nearly 13000 feet, you feel like you’re on Everest. Of course, while we were huffing and puffing our way up, Travis acted like it was a morning stroll.
None of us had spent a lot of time down in Durango, so we didn’t really know what to expect. Being nine days into a trip, our bodies surely didn’t feel like riding. However, when we got to the summit, it’s like somebody flipped a switch. Nearly 360 degree views and being all the way above treeline was absolutely spectacular. Every color of wildflower lined the trail and it was by far the best view on the entire trip.
We went for another ride in the evening, but this time it was just outside of town. We went up to ride Haflin trail, which Amy claims is one of the best trails she’s ever ridden. You get to experience lush, green with fast steep sections at the very top, and eventually get into more Sedona style riding by the time you get to the bottom. Make sure your brakes are bled, though, because you’re gonna be on them.
Just because we all call Colorado home, we aren’t biased by saying this is some of the best riding in the country. Amy travels around in an RV, and Kevin coaches across the country, but yet still find themselves loving Colorado the most. There aren’t a lot of places that you can drive a couple of hours to experience a totally different style of riding, and there are even less that you can do that all in one town of one trail. However, Colorado has all of that. It may be a popular location to ride your bike, but with how expansive and diverse the terrain is, running into people isn’t as common as you’d think.
Colorado sucks, don’t come here.
- Sincerely, a Colorado nativeColorado Mountain Biking Trails
Pinkbike would like to thank:Trestle Bike Park at Winter ParkSteamboat Springs Bike Park Snowmass Bike Park Carbondale and Aloha Mountain Cyclery Durango
Presented by Colorado Tourism.
To learn more about biking in Colorado or to book a trip, visit www.colorado.com
Riders: Amy Shenton @djamyapplesauce & Kevin Stiffler @coachkevinllb