Anyone who has ever ridden a mountain bike most likely knows that Colorado is home to some of the best mountain biking the US has to offer, maybe the world! It doesn’t matter what type of terrain you like or what your level of biking is. You can be from anywhere to a complete beginner to the most advanced biker and find a trail to suite your needs.
#1 Monarch Crest Trail
This is one of the best shuttle rides in Colorado and there is good reason for it. With over 31 miles of mostly mountain bike trails and all of the best views Colorado has to offer, this trail is a must! As a shuttle ride you’ll climb about 2,4100 feet and you’ll descend about 6,140 feet. The beginning part of the bike ride is above treeline and is not technical. You’ll top out at about 12,000 feet and then begin the first descent down fire road to Marshall Pass and continue on for the ride of your life.
#2 Buffalo Creek
Arguably the Front Range’s best bike trail system can be found at the Buffalo Creek Recreation Park, only an 60 minutes west of Denver. Groomed trails wind through burned landscapes, coupled with very technical diversions makes Buffalo Creek a test case for every type of rider. There are amazing, fire-ravaged scenes, roller coasters through thick timber, steep granite thrills and steep descents.
New parts of the park, like the Little Scraggy East have added variety while Raspberry Ridge and the expert Blackjack trails make bikers on long-travel bikes to reach down deep. I have seen some riders with electric bike conversion kits in this system to lengthen their range and ride duration.
Maps and info on Buffalo Creek can be found at the Front Range Mountain Bike Patrol (frmbp.org), which has helped develop the area’s network of trails.
#3 Crested Butte
Crested Butte has a long history behind it. It has one of the oldest mountain bike clubs in the US, CBMBA, the countries first mountain bike carnival, and even the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. I dont want you thinking it’s a thing of the past. Crested Butte’s Bike Park has 17 trails, 7 even of which are downhill only and over nearly 4,000 vertical feet of lift-accessed trails.
#4 Canyon Creek Trail
You start by riding up CR 888 following the road to Tomichi Pass. When the pass comes into view, make sure you watch for Canyon Creek Trail and take it to the left. You ride a short ways then it’s a one hour hike and bike to the top. The ten miles of downhill is so awesome! Then one more little hike and bike with some great switchbacks and then you are back on the road. I thought trail finding was simple but take a wrong turn is a real problem so get out the guide book and take a map.
#5 Beall Trail
Steamboat Springs mountain loves mountain bikers. This ski town gives way to bike town every spring as this north Colorado town transforms into a great biking destination. The mountain bike trails at the ski resort are perfectly groomed tracks carved by bikers who spend as much time jumping as they do on the trail with their rubber on the trail.
In the town, Emerald Mountain is the go to ride for people who live there. If you have an about an hour before dark, you’ve have time to get a good workout climbing Emerald. With the addition of the Beall Trail the backside of Emerald turns the hill into a truly great mountain-biking destination and another feather in Steamboat’s biking cap.
So there you have it, 5 incredible places to mountain bike in Colorado. Get out there!