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Colorado Mountain, Road & Cruiser Rides

Tackle Colorado biking with these suggested rides for all skill levels and terrain, from steep road climbs with thrilling descents to easy, riverside cruisers and everything in between in popular towns like Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, Aspen, Crested Butte, Denver, Boulder, Steamboat Springs and more.

Mountain Biking near Vail
Mountain Biking near Vail

Click to jump: Arapahoe Basin, Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Denver, Fort Collins, Golden, Gunnison, Snowmass, Steamboat Springs, Monarch Mountain, Vail, Woodland Park

Aspen
• Beginner/Cruiser: One of the most popular cruiser routes in Aspen, the easy-riding Rio Grande Trail mirrors an old railway route on an eight-mile riverside path. Stop at the waterfall and to watch rafters rush the rapids.
• Intermediate: Smuggler/Hunter Creek Loop starts at the base of Smuggler Mountain Road for an intermediate to advanced mountain-bike climb. Singletrack and historic mining roads descend past old mining cabins with great Elk Mountains views.
• Advanced: Pedal Aspen’s most iconic road ride to Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed peaks in North America. This 11-mile, all-uphill trek passes through lush aspen groves to the twin-peaked bells. aspenchamber.org

Arapahoe Basin
• Beginner/Cruiser: The paved Ten Mile Path from the town of Frisco to Copper Mountain. A perfect place to view the fall foliage and rushing spring runoff. Want to make it a tougher trip? Continue through the Copper Village to where the path makes its way up Vail Pass (it’s 6 miles to the summit with an average grade of 3.5 percent).
• Intermediate: The loop around Lake Dillon is approximately 20 miles. There’s one serious climb up Swan Mountain Road (a previous USAPC venue). There are undulating hills on the Frisco side, a ride across Dillon Dam and plenty of detours to the Frisco Adventure Park and towns of Frisco, Breckenridge and Dillon for a bite to eat.
• Advanced: Ride like the pros and feel the burn as you ascend from Dillon to the summit of Loveland Pass (and you can stop at A-Basin for lunch and a celebratory beer on the weekends in the summer!). The climb to Loveland Pass summit is filled with switchbacks and steep grades, but the views from the top are totally worth it. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep on the way down – they like to hang out on the rocky edges of the road. Bring a wind layer as the weather at the summit can be variable. 

Copper Mountain
• Beginner/Cruiser: For an easy ride, head to the Ten Mile Creek trail. This all-downhill ride begins behind the Conoco gas station at Copper Mountain and ends in the town of Frisco. To lengthen the ride, the trail continues past Frisco and to Breckenridge.
• Intermediate: Copper has a great network of mountain biking trails located right on the mountain. Bike uphill or take the American Eagle lift to haul bikes up to mid-mountain for a small daily fee. Copper’s trails are geared toward the beginner to intermediate mountain biker looking to further their skills. Redtail and Elk Alley trails are intermediate rides that connect the base of the resort to mid-mountain.
• Advanced: For those seeking a heart-pumping ride, both Vail Pass and Fremont Pass offer uphill rides. Vail Pass is accessible via a paved path out of Copper’s West Village and is about 5 miles up to the summit. A ride to the summit of Fremont Pass is 11 miles from Copper and is accessible via Hwy. 91 located just east of the resort. coppercolorado.com

Steamboat Springs
• Beginner/Cruiser: The 7.5 mile Yampa River Core Trail is a paved haven for cruiser bikes, winding along the scenic Yampa River past parks and hot springs and through vibrant downtown Steamboat Springs.
• Intermediate: Sample the singletrack and downhill trails at the Steamboat Bike Park on Mount Werner. More than 50 miles of trails for all levels greet mountain bikers, from freeride and flow to lengthy loops, all offering sweeping views of the Yampa Valley.
• Advanced: Go where the pros ride and take the Coal Mine Loop on your road bike, passing over terrain well-known to the USA Pro Challenge riders on Routt County Road 33 and around the stunning Stagecoach Reservoir over 53 miles of rolling road. steamboat-chamber.com

Fort Collins
• Beginner/Cruiser: The Poudre Trail meanders along the Poudre River for 10.10 miles. It currently runs between the Overland Trail at Lyons Park and the Environmental Learning Center on East Drake.
• Intermediate: From Laporte Ave., head north on Overland Trail for a few miles and an easy climb before descending toward the cement plant and heading east. Three rollers on Douglass Road can be challenging but fun; cross Terry Lake Road and weave around a few ponds and the Fort Collins Country Club before heading back into Fort Collins (map). 
• Advanced: Begin this 50-mile ride at the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir for a few challenging climbs before dropping down into Masonville. South of Hwy. 34, take the Carter Lake Loop for a steep climb and switchback descent (map). visitfortcollins.com

Golden
• Beginner/Cruiser: Clear Creek Trail is a family-friendly multi-use trail, with long portions that hug the creek margin and lend the feeling of passing through an eastern forest. It connects with another major Denver-metro-area trail, the South Platte River Trail, which makes it possible to stay on a bike path from Golden to Littleton or Golden to Brighton.
• Intermediate: A short but strenuous climb up one of the locals’ favorite hills, this version of the beloved Lookout Mountain ride includes a steep but shorter back-side loop and a bonus climb. Total elevation gain is about 1,600 feet. The descent has the potential for danger, like any mountain descent. Ride within your limits and make sure your equipment is functioning; watch for rough road and potholes on the lower part of the descent.
• Advanced: Golden Gate – Coal Creek Classic: Perhaps the most difficult climb on the Front Range takes you to the beautiful, undulating terrain of the Peak-to-Peak Highway. Tackle another difficult climb on Hwy. 72 before the cruise down Coal Creek Canyon. Several long, difficult climbs can seem relentlessly steep and psychologically unhelpful false summits and fast descents provide only partial relief on this tough half century. visitgolden.com

Breckenridge
• Beginner/Cruiser: Cruise through Breckenridge and pick up picnic ingredients at The Bond on Picnic Loop. Exploring the town is a simple task via bike lanes and shared roadways.
• Intermediate: The French Gulch area offers short loops for every skill level, as well as access to a vast trail network. Whether you connect to the singletrack or keep it short for an afternoon loop, expect to see glimpses of the area’s mining past.
• Advanced: Swan Mountain Road, a classic intermediate Breck road ride, takes you above Lake Dillon for views of the Tenmile Range. Ride it out and back or continue into Dillon, across the Dam Road and return through Frisco.
gobreck.com

Denver
• Beginner: The Greenway Trail is perfect for a leisurely afternoon cruise. The paved path follows the South Platte River for almost 30 miles, passing Confluence Park, Hudson Gardens and more.
• Intermediate: Bear Creek Bike Trail is a 20-mile route that follows the South Platte River to the town of Morrison and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, offering an opportunity to bike around the famed 70-million-year-old outcropping.
• Advanced: One of the most popular bike trails in Denver, the Cherry Creek Bike Path runs along the South Platte River for more than 40 miles to Franktown, passing by Cherry Creek Shopping District and Cherry Creek State Recreation Area. visitdenver.org

Snowmass
• Beginner/Cruiser: Casual cruisers love the paved ABC Trail, which winds around town for two and a half miles. Cruiser bikes are also an easy way to get around town.
• Intermediate: For more advanced riders, Valhalla is the mountain’s most challenging downhill trail, thrilling even the most seasoned riders with more than 1,400 feet of vertical drop, berms, jumps, bridges, tabletops and rainbows.
• Advanced: The legendary 20-mile climb up 12,095-foot Independence Pass heads east on Hwy. 82, passing the Independence ghost town. This climb’s massive elevation gains and hairpin turns are only suited for experienced road riders. aspenchamber.org

Crested Butte
• Beginner/Cruiser: At 10 miles round trip, Lower Loop is one of the town’s most popular trails and an excellent choice for wildflower-viewing and a picnic by the river with the fam.
• Intermediate: Trail 401 is a 24-mile round-trip classic for high-alpine riders with Gothic Valley views and singletrack to challenge riders ready for the 2,800 feet of cumulative elevation gain.
• Advanced: Doctor Park is a looped mountain-bike adventure with a downhill, aspen-wooded plunge into Taylor River Canyon that’ll get your adrenaline up. visitgcb.com

Gunnison
• Beginner/Cruiser: Van Tuyl Ranch trail meanders through a working ranch, along the Gunnison River and under the palisade, appropriate for townie bikes, fat-tire bikes, hand cycles and road bikes.
• Intermediate: Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area is 60 miles of high-alpine desertscape singletrack paradise. Go as easy or as hard as you like on the rolling terrain that the locals bike, hike and Nordic ski on.
• Advanced: Ride the ridiculous 131-mile Queen Stage of the 2011 and 2012 USA Pro Challenge over the dirt ascent of 12,126-foot Cottonwood Pass. After a tough climb and a fast descent comes another beautiful but grueling, narrow and steep climb up Independence Pass toward Aspen. visitgcb.com

Monarch Mountain
• Beginner/Cruiser: The Salida Town Tour winds through historic downtown Salida; follow the city streets and paved bike paths, refuel at local eateries, ride by the Arkansas River whitewater park.
• Intermediate: Salida Mountain Trails is a web of singletrack loops right from downtown. The stacked loop trails become more challenging as you get higher up and farther away from the trailheads. Spiral Drive is a favorite for the views.
• Advanced: For some of the country’s best single track, the Monarch Crest Trail, starting at the top of Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet hugs the Continental Divide for diverse riding and incredible scenery. nowthisiscolorado.com

Colorado Springs
• Beginner/Cruiser: National Natural Landmark Garden of the Gods Park has a mix of paved and off-road trails that weave you amid bright red-hued vertical spires and interesting rock formations like “Kissing Camels” and “Balanced Rock.”
• Intermediate: A 36-mile trek connects the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway and the Fountain Creek Regional Trail from the town of Palmer Lake through Colorado Springs to Fountain, with detailed maps at trail intersections to tell you how far you’ve gone.
• Advanced: Section 16 trailhead has been a favorite for hikers and bicyclists since the 1970s. The six-mile Palmer-Red Rocks Loop trail gains 800 feet of elevation and loops through beautiful mountain scenery. visitcos.com

Woodland Park
• Beginner/Cruiser: Tour the 14-mile paved round trip from Woodland Park to Manitou Springs via the Centennial Bike Trail. Stop at the midpoint for a picnic at Manitou Lake.
• Intermediate: For mountain bikers, Lovell Gulch is a good introduction to the area, with beautiful views, moderate climbs and easy-as-you-go downhills.
• Advanced: With 800 feet of climbing along 12.5 miles, the rolling ride around Rampart Range Reservoir parades past Pikes Peak views and is one of the area’s top destination rides. woodlandparkchamber.com

Vail
• Beginner/Cruiser: Vail Recreation Path runs from West Vail to East Vail. The paved path is ideal for cruisers and stretches for 15 national-forest-surrounded miles.
• Intermediate: Vail’s popular Grand Traverse begins at Eagle’s Nest. The intermediate five-mile trail starts out easy, looping through Game Creek Bowl, and then becomes increasingly difficult as it wraps around the top of Sun Down Bowl. Mountain bikers can exit at Wildwood for incredible views.
• Advanced: Vail Pass is a 38.6-mile route perfect for those up for a challenging ride. If you prefer to coast the whole way, Vail offers shuttle service that will take cyclists to the top of
the pass to ride downhill into the village. visitvailvalley.com

Boulder
• Beginner/Cruiser: The Boulder Creek Bike Path is the premier cruiser ride in town, meandering for five miles along Boulder Creek and through the historic district with spots for picnics, wading, tubing and strolling.
• Intermediate: Valmont Bike Park is the largest free urban bike park in the U.S., with 40 acres of off-road riding, competition-grade cyclo-cross racing trails, big dirt jumps, dual slalom tracks, pump tracks and slope-style trails.
• Advanced: The USAPC is loosely based on the fabled multiweek Coors Classic bike race of the 1980s. One of the most anticipated stages of the race was the Morgul-Bismark, a 13-mile loop located south of Boulder. It’s still considered a classic American road bike ride. bouldercoloradousa.com

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