Are you looking for your next adventure? Cycling in Summit County continues to be a popular sport and leisure activity! Whether you’re looking for the workout of Grays Peak Trail, a tranquil ride through the Blue River Trail, or the scenic views of White River National Forest, there’s an array of bike paths you can try.
Whether you’re a seasoned mountain biker or an amateur, the mountain biking trails of Summit County are sure to please. If you need to rent a mountain bike, there are also some bike rental shops that can give you a great deal. If you’re in the area, make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing mountain bike trails.
The summer season may be a tad bit shorter than what Moab, Sedona, and other lower-elevation cycling meccas can offer, but summit county makes up for it by providing riders with excellent mountain bike trails and stunning vistas.
A bike ride on any of the mountain biking trails in Summit County will likely be more involving than what you’d experience elsewhere. Among other things, that can be attributed to the thinner air, varied and challenging terrain, and spectacular views.
It, therefore, didn’t come as a surprise when Summit County took first place on the list of best destinations in Colorado for mountain biking compiled by Singletracks.com.
The following is an insider’s guide to the best trails in Summit County that are sure to maximize your cycling experience this summer.
Technically referred to as the Wheeler National Recreational Trail, this biking trail spans a distance of 10.3 miles. It begins in McCullough Gulch and traverses the Tenmile Range to Copper Mountain.
Several miles are above 12,000 feet. Unlike other mountain biking trails, it takes extra effort for you and your mountain bike to overcome the highs of this trail. That means that this isn’t the place to take your friends who are visiting from an area with a low altitude. And certainly, stay off the trails if there is a risk of thunderstorms.
This is a big mountain adventure requiring preparedness, strength, endurance, and expert cycling skills. So, make sure to pack plenty of food and water, lather on some sunscreen, and don’t underestimate the potential for foul weather.
While Silverthorne, CO may not be the most popular mountain biking spot, the Ptarmigan trail is certainly worth checking out.
The trail stretches 8.4 miles and it climbs over 3000 feet in 6 miles to a broad, flat summit with panoramic views across Williams Fork, Gore, and Ten Mile ranges. Longs Peak, Red Peak, Torreys Peak, Grays Peak, and Buffalo Mountain are just some of the visible peaks you’ll get to experience when you embark on this trail.
Tenderfoot Trail / Oro Grande
Stretching 6.4 miles, the Old Tenderfoot Trail is tucked away on the east side of Dillon. It has gotten a reboot recently when some volunteers extended it to form a loop, so grab your mountain bike and don’t worry about having to turn around!
For mountain bikers, the new loop provides spectacular views of the Tenmile, Dillon Reservoir, and Gore ranges. If you choose to, you can also combine it with the Oro Grande trail.
The Oro Grande trail is a solid early-season riding option, with a fun and fast mix of double and single tracks. It’s a rolling four-mile path that serves as an excellent introduction to the sport.
Miners Creek Trail
The Miners Creek trail stretches 4.7 miles. This is the same trail that Olympians use. But while you may have the honors of sharing the trail with nationally renowned mountain bike racers, getting there will put both your lungs and legs to the test and push your limits.
Whether you’re an experienced mountain bike rider or an amateur mountain bike rider, this trail can be a fun way of testing your limits. It’ll push you and your mountain bike to your extremes!
The trail is a root-strewn, moderately technical, loam fest descending from an elevation of 12,300 to 9,100 feet that spans a distance of 10 miles. The best part about this trail is the spectacular scenery, providing riders with views of open meadows, aspen stands, and dense pine forest.
Aspen Alley trail spans a distance of 1.3 miles. It’s a favorite for two reasons: its swooping layout, and the breathtaking aspen forest through which riders explore.
You can ride the trail either up or down, but most bikers prefer to descend it. The trail was reworked by Breckenridge a few years ago, increasing the distance of the mountain bike trail.
Fall is the busiest time of the year for the trail, and for good reason. The single-track is lined by tall trunks that can make you feel like you are riding through a white, gold, and orange tunnel. Beauty aside, you’ll have to keep your eyes on the winding trail. That’s because Aspen Alley has tight corners.
The trail measures 7.8 miles and is located on the eastern side of the Tenmile Range all the way from Frisco to Breckenridge. It hosts the annual Summit Mountain Challenge series and is a popular route for local mountain bike riders looking to get from town to town without having to use the pavement.
Matter of fact, it’s busier than any other local trail. And there are a couple of reasons for that. For one, its climbs are short, and a significant part of the trail is smooth and flat. Secondly, there are some great mountain views at the trail halfway point.
The Colorado Trail is truly a natural wonder. The 486-mile long route goes over eight mountain ranges, five river systems. What’s more, it traverses six wilderness areas and six national forests.
Furthermore, every year, additional switchbacks, markings, and bridges are added, making the trail more accessible to bikers, hikers and backpackers. However, the trail can sometimes be challenging for any level of mountain bike rider at first because of its length, altitude, and sheer ruggedness. So be sure to prepare and pack wisely before embarking on it.
The Colorado Trail comprises 28 segments that range from 11.4 miles to 32 miles. Elevation gains along the different segments span anywhere between 1,040 to 4,520 miles. It can take you up to 20 days to complete the entire trail with a mountain bike.
Popular sections for mountain biking are near Durango and Denver, and segments near Buena Vista Town, Marshall Pass, Kenosha Pass, and Marshall Pass. If you are an experienced biker, try segments such as Durango and Molas Pass.
While most segments are open for bikers, biking is prohibited in the Wilderness Areas. The Wilderness Areas include Collegiate Peaks, Holy Cross, Lost Creek, and Weminuche.
If you’re looking for a dynamic and thrilling outdoor activity this summer, mountain biking should be at the top of your list. The peak season to hit the trail is during summer. Whether you’re looking to try one of the trails on this list or other trails like the Horseshoe Gulch Trail or the Barney Ford Trail, it’s a great option.
Mountain bikes can be expensive, so if you don’t have your own, don’t worry about it! Stop by one of the local bike shops to rent out a mountain bike or fix any issues with the one you have.