One of the huge advantages of mountain biking is that you get to see the world from a whole new perspective. You get to choose sights that most people could really only dream about. You get to spend a lot of time out in nature. But to really call yourself a mountain biker, you need to actually find a few real mountain trails to tackle. If you want breathtaking scenery and a huge choice of trails, Colorado is the place to start. So, it is a great place to go for your next vacation. But where do you start? There is so much ground to cover that even avid bikers that have lived there their whole lives still have some exploring to do.
To help you out a bit, we’ve narrowed it down to the top bike trails. Be sure to start off with any of these on your next vacation, and you are bound to have an exhilarating experience.
Buffalo Creek Mountain Bike Trail
This is a great way to test your skills. It is a vast trail that includes some really challenging sections. For the more advanced rider, check out the double-black-diamond Raspberry and Blackjack Ridge. There are also some interesting singletrack options and, for those who want a first-class flow experience, Little Scraggy trail should be on the agenda. The big advantage of Buffalo Creek is the sheer number of potential trails. It is a high-altitude location, but with a much longer riding season than most. The climate is relatively mild from spring to early autumn. The camping grounds are really good, and the people responsible for maintaining the trails have done a top-class job.
Colorado Mountain Bike Trail
The full Colorado Trail is a beautiful and challenging 500 miles long. Unless you have trained hard for it, and you have a lot of time to follow it while on vacation, we recommend starting off with part of the trail, something more manageable like the Durango to Silverton portion. This section is challenging enough to make it worthwhile but still manageable enough if you are going to camp out there and need to lug a pack with your tent, etc. The views are awesome, you have really well-laid out single track, and there is not one wilderness bypass on the site. This trail was completed while testing the Diamondback Clutch for review.
Alternatively, you can choose shorter sections within this for day rides. Bolam Pass to Molass Pass is one such day trip, for example. You can stay in the nearby town of Durango to start out with. The town has quite a nice buzz to it.
Doctor Park MTB Trail
You probably have heard of Crested Butte before and its rather well-known trail – the 401. Instead of tackling the 401, though, give Doctor Park a go. This is something of an undiscovered gem in Colorado and offers amazing views in conjunction with a giddying descent. This is mountain biking at its best, and it is not flooded with too many visitors.
The single track descent is amazingly smooth and will have you rocketing down the mountain.
There is a lot to see on the way down with a range of different ecosystems due to changes in the microclimate. There is one caution, here, though -- you do have to be on the lookout for fallen or felled trees along the way.
Lunch Loops MTB Trail
If you can only do the Colorado trip once in your lifetime, make a break for Lunch Loops. It consists of 40 miles of track that ranges in difficulty from beginner to advanced. If you are a fan of technical rides, Holy Cross, Free Lunch and the Ribbon will knock your socks off. If you are still a beginner, the Kid’s Meal trail is ideal. There are also plenty of other options to try out for beginners, so this is an excellent place to get your kids interested in the sport as well. Do consider heading over to this trail for the best variety that this state has to offer.
The trails are awesome, with many being easy to complete as a day trip. You can also tackle the trail from end to end if you like – it makes for an exquisite ride and backpacking experience. The scenery is outstanding, and there are many different ecosystems spotted along the trail.
Monarch Crest Mountain Bike Trail
This is actually a conglomeration of different trails that make up a network of 35 miles. The Rainbow Trail and Silver Creek Trail are particularly gorgeous, but you are not going to battle for beautiful sites anywhere along this trail. Descent is not for the faint-hearted. You don’t have to stick to the main trail if you would prefer not to.
Agate Creek, Starvation Creek, Green’s Creek and Fooses Creek all offer the same kind of breakneck speed descents with a lot of extra fun and technical aspects thrown into the mix. Part of what makes this option so appealing is that there is always something different to see.
Ride along the top of the Continental Divide, and you get some idea of what the ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses must have seen from Mount Olympus. There are a couple of cautionary notes here – check the weather carefully and don’t plan to stay out all day. Thunderstorms in these mountains can blow up in seconds and catch you unawares. Secondly, if it is your first time out there, take more food and water than you think you will need – you are bound to take longer on the trail than you estimate.
If you decide to stay over, Salida has some great places to eat, and the locals are very hospitable. There are also a few bike shops in town, so you don’t have to worry about supplies.
Overall, biking anywhere in Colorado is bound to be fun and interesting. It is one of the most beautiful states in the country and has swathes of unspoiled wilderness to explore. With trails to match every level of expertise, you will never regret your decision to take a ride in this beautiful state.
Map of all Colorado’s Mountain bike trails
Here’s a great video covering the history of mountain bike riding in Colorado, it’s where it all started!
Colorado mountain bike tours
If you are looking for guided MTB tours, we recommend the following websites: