Warm days, Cool Nights, Hot Trails.
Not so Wintery Winter Park - Lift-served Trestle and GranbyTRESTLE BIKE PARKTrestle Bike Park
is the lift accessed Downhill Mountain Bike Park in Winter Park Resort. Accessed by three lifts Trestle offers 40 miles of trails. 14 trails are dedicated 'downhill' while the remainder are 'Enduro style.' Bottom line is that there are options to suit all preferences. Be warned that lines start early to get your rental gear on the weekends. Having said that the staff are very fast at moving the line along.
Trestle’s season runs from June to September with exact dates being condition-dependent. They open promptly at 9:00am if you need to rent one of their demo bikes from their impressive and immaculately maintained fleet which includes; Trek Sessions, Transition TR500, Enduro FSR Evo, Specialized Demos, Intense Uzzis, Scott Gamblers, Norco Aurums, or Giant Glorys. You can even get a deal if you book online
! You can also book for half a day as we did so we could do some pedalling in the afternoon. With their reasonable day ticket rates of $44.00
we were surprised it wasn’t busier what with it being a bluebird weekend day of riding. Check out their website for daily deals
and other events going on – there’s really too much to discuss here.
Trestle Bike park was also home to the 2016 Colorado Freeride Festival
(previously Crankworx Colorado), so you know they aren’t afraid of pushing the limit. Also for 2017 they are expanding their terrain with three new trails that opened up in the fall; a black flow trail – Upper Boulevard, and two blue flow trails – Spicy Chicken and Dyno Bones. The 10.2-mile Backside Trestle trail (built by Gravity Logic) should open next year to offer even more downhill terrain.
Winter Park Resort’s base area was built by Intrawest so it has that Whistler feel. It’s a smaller walking village with a cool main meeting area where they have festivities happening on weekends. The Chili Fest was happening when we were there with lots of vendors participating and a community family-friendly vibe. GRANBY RANCH
Thirty minutes, or 20 miles north of Winter Park is Granby Ranch
. Formerly known as Sol Vista, Granby is a privately run 5500-acre resort that partners with the Headwaters Trails Alliance
to create community trail connections. Granby’s community participation also involves general social good as it also donates to the Grand Foundation
to improve the quality of living in the Grand County area.
Granby Ranch came to be when private investors purchased five ranches with the intention of building a ski resort in the 1960′s. In 1995 the Ranch was purchased by a Brazilian family. Since then they have expanded their ski terrain, built a golf course, and developed a lift-assisted mountain bike park with adjoining XC trails and some dedicated gravity trails.
Greg Mazu’s company has been involved with developing trails in the Granby DH and XC network
through his company Singletrack Trails
. With 36 trails accessible by the lift, 14 of them are considered dh-oriented trails. Granby illustrates the diversity of Winter Park area riding all in a discrete geographical location.
Granby is well mapped and signed. There is no charge to ride the trails and the public is welcome to use the area by bike, or on foot. The only charge is to use the chairlift
which has reasonable prices – for example, a one lift ride to access higher trails is $10. A whole day ticket to do laps is $26. Lunch at the base is also reasonable with BBQ and beers running about $10.
Trail access to many of the surrounding communities is also integrated – for example through publicly maintained trails to houses via Route 85/87 junction. We were told that biking visits spike mainly on the weekend but on the weekday when we rode we saw very few people. The biggest group using Granby appears to be wedding parties who enjoy the views from atop accessible via the chairlift. Base elevation of Granby is 'only' 8202 ft.
We took a post-lunch opportunity to sample lift-served riding. Admittedly most of the trails are more of the intermediate variety but it's an economical way to get lots of vert. The chairlift takes you up 1,000 feet which doesn’t seem like a lot but it does put you above the surrounding flats and gives you amazing views to the surrounding continental divide and below to the Fraser drainage. Again, while there are downhill trails per se, the primary usage of the chairlift appears to be more trail-bike oriented. That's fine since the trails are well built and maintained.Granby xc lapsGranby dh lapsWHERE TO EAT
As we were travelling light we decided to eat out for breakfast and dinner. The options in town are plentiful and portions are American-size. Our first day we ate at Carvers
, a nice little place on the main strip. Breakfast was huge and tasty.
Another breakfast option is at the Rise and Shine
bakery which had decent food but with unexpectedly indifferent service.
We had Dinner at Denos
. It’s a popular place on the highway strip and deservedly so. Really good value for money at happy hour with enough for dinner!
Another breakfast option is at Randis Grill and Pub
. They are expanding to breakfast and THEY know had to add Avocados!WHEN TO VISIT
Winter Park is the closest resort to the concrete parking lot disaster that is Denver (a city that would be much improved by a closed-surface nuclear detonation if I've ever seen one). Yet people brave even another half hour of road-rage on I-70 to get to Summit County driving right by the Berthoud Pass/Winter Park turnoff and miss out on these very cool trails. Winter Park trails are among the earliest trails in the higher Colorado plateau to melt out from snow with some trails being rideable in mid-May. The heart of the season is in summer of course but it is in September (sometimes as late as early October) when the fall colours come into fall glory. Coincidentally the fall colour season is when accommodation prices drop and restaurants are much less busy.
The only thing perhaps lacking from the area is high alpine access with legal trail riding prescribed by the presence of many wilderness areas prohibiting access to the nearby Continental Divide Trail.
. However, what you have in the Winter Park area is exceptionally close proximity to a network of interconnected trails. The sheer convenience of riding on such an interesting network with variety is enough reason to visit - and you should.
If you missed it, check out part one here.