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  1. #1
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    Colorado vacation recs needed

    Husband and I were planning to go to Crested Butte in July for mtb-ing and scenery/wildflower gawking. I was just about to make the plane res (to Denver and drive...we can get a non-stop from Charlotte NC to Denver). But....I started reading about the altitude, and think maybe I'd like to stay below 10k. My Colorado geography is poor, I don't know what areas would be at lower elevation. I know about Fruita, but that's even farther from Denver, our trip will only be 4 days, so if there were something great nearer to Denver/Boulder that would offer great mtb-ing, please fill me in. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    Husband and I were planning to go to Crested Butte in July for mtb-ing and scenery/wildflower gawking. I was just about to make the plane res (to Denver and drive...we can get a non-stop from Charlotte NC to Denver). But....I started reading about the altitude, and think maybe I'd like to stay below 10k. My Colorado geography is poor, I don't know what areas would be at lower elevation. I know about Fruita, but that's even farther from Denver, our trip will only be 4 days, so if there were something great nearer to Denver/Boulder that would offer great mtb-ing, please fill me in. Thanks!
    Fear not the higher elevation (altitude is actually a term that refers to distance above the ground, not distance above sea level. Elevation is distance above sea level. FYI.) Ye shall be rewarded with limitless beauty, and yea, your lungs will only hurt when you are moving.

    Seriously, just go there. Drink lots of water and be careful about getting so much beer in you that you're dehydrated the next day.

    Fruita is nice, but it's nice now. In July it can be (and usually is) hotter than the furnaces of hell. In July CB is a paradise. Unless you are some kind of jumbo 300 lb couch potato, 10,000 feet (or the 12,000 you will want to climb to in order to really be blown away by the mountain grandeur) will not kill you.

    Verily I say unto you.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  3. #3
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    July=high country, I agree with TomP go to CB

    On the way you could swing by Buffalo Creek and open up the lungs a little, great place to ride and lower elev.

  4. #4
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    I agree with the previous posters- Crested Butte is SO worth it. Even if you are coming from sea level. The singletrack will keep you smiling during your daydreams for months afterwards. And the whole area is just plain beautiful. It is worth visiting even if you don't bike!
    I drank the 29er koolaid- turns out it was POWERade

  5. #5
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    I currently live in San Diego and met some friends in CB last fall. Previously, I'd done a lot of hiking/climbing in the Sierras (from SD) and climbing/hiking/mtbing in the mtns of CO (living in Boulder) so I figured I wouldn't be hyper-sensitive to the elevation in a resting state. I trained/played/rode a lot leading up to the trip but the elevation was still a slap in the face when trying to keep up with my friends from CO. IMO, plan on operating at about 2/3rds your normal level (effort/distance/time/total climbing) at best.
    People react to lack of O2 quite differently. If you find the elevation in CB is too much the first night (poor sleep, head aches..), maybe bail out to Salida as a 'basecamp', which is a couple thousand feet lower than CB, and do daytrips to trails at higher elevations from there. That way you get a decent night's sleep and still experience some of the awesome riding and scenery of the CO high country!

  6. #6
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    Thanks, but I failed to mention this involves a medical condition that makes being above 9-10k feet a little risky. We normally ride around 3-5k and like to climb, aren't looking for easy trails, just ones with oxygen.

    So...if you have some lower elevation ideas, I'd appreciate it.

  7. #7
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    Salida, Gunnison...

    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    Thanks, but I failed to mention this involves a medical condition that makes being above 9-10k feet a little risky. We normally ride around 3-5k and like to climb, aren't looking for easy trails, just ones with oxygen.

    So...if you have some lower elevation ideas, I'd appreciate it.
    My town, Salida. We sit at 7,000 feet. Our classic local ride, the one Salida is really known for, is the Monarch Crest Trail. It winds along a ridge at 12K. But many people don't know that we have lots of very good riding that's 9,000 feet and below. Two sections of Rainbow Trail, one that rolls along between about 8500 and 9000, another (that many people ride as part of their Monarch Crest Trail routes) does top out closer to 9500, but it's really good.

    We also have local trail systems on both north and south sides of town that are below 8,000. Total of about 25 miles of singletrack in those systems below 8K.

    You might want to consider renting a 4wd. It's very typical around here to climb a jeep road that's steep and strenuous to get to the trail. Not true of the close-to-town trails here around Salida, but there's only about two days worth of those. The lower of the two Rainbow Trail segments has super-steep jeep roads on both ends. No way to ride up to it without a serious grunt climb above 8,000 ft. FYI.

    Gunnison is an hour away from Salida. It's also about 7,000 ft. Hartman Rocks is an extensive trail system starting a mile or two west of Gunny city limits, and I would imagine the highest point in it is between 8 and 9K. (and if you were staying in Gunny you could take a driving trip up after your day's ride to see the sights in CB, half an hour away. If you had even a moderate 4wd you could drive up and over Schofield Pass and see some pretty damned awesome scenery right from the road).

    I think Eagle, CO, down valley from Vail has some lower trails? Not my back yard though.

    EDIT: Also, as rroeder mentioned, Buffalo Creek. You could hit that on your way up here. It's probably 45 minutes from DIA? Either way, if you were going to Salida and/or Gunnison/CB you'd go right past anyway.
    Last edited by TomP; 04-18-2013 at 07:34 AM.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  8. #8
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    Fruita and CB are the same driving time (4 hrs) from Denver, so I would go with Fruita if you think you would like the riding there (I do!). There are so many trails close to Denver and Boulder (and Golden), that you could stay in any of those towns and drive to dozens of good trails in 5 minutes to an hour. Denver is high desert, and Boulder is in the foothills. I think Boulder would be the more interesting place to base out of- better views in town, walk around Pearl Street, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  9. #9
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    You could ride Buffalo Creek outside of Denver as has been mentioned, or go to Salida- also mentioned - and stick to lower elevations around there, or go to Gunnison and ride Hartman rocks and other trails around there.
    "Don't take life so serious, son . . . it ain't no how permanent." - Porky Pine

  10. #10
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    Wow...I've been looking at Salida pics while I'm supposed to be working and I think i'm sold. I'm a little worried the Monarch crest might tempt me too high, but it sounds like there's plenty to ride and stay "south" of 10k. An hour closer to Denver sounds pretty sweet, too, since it's a short trip.

    Anything else I should know? Does July work? I don't want it to be "hotter than the furnaces of hell"...that's what we'll be leaving behind in South Carolina. BTW, I enjoyed the reference on a local trails site: " You may be a single-speed badass in Asheville, but getting stuck at elevation when a snow storm piles through in June will make you regret your poor planning"

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    Wow...I've been looking at Salida pics while I'm supposed to be working and I think i'm sold. I'm a little worried the Monarch crest might tempt me too high, but it sounds like there's plenty to ride and stay "south" of 10k. An hour closer to Denver sounds pretty sweet, too, since it's a short trip.

    Anything else I should know? Does July work? I don't want it to be "hotter than the furnaces of hell"...that's what we'll be leaving behind in South Carolina. BTW, I enjoyed the reference on a local trails site: " You may be a single-speed badass in Asheville, but getting stuck at elevation when a snow storm piles through in June will make you regret your poor planning"

    Thanks again!
    July is usually pretty damned nice here. June can be a little hot (low-90s and dry as a match), but starting near the beginning of July normally there's a likelihood that the afternoons have started to cloud up with even the possibility of little afternoon rains. That may sound like a bummer, but it's actually pretty nice. Mornings are fuggin' beautiful in the CO mountains. Coming from the eastern time zone you'll want take advantage of your internal clock to be up and enjoying that. Get your ride in. Then go to The River's Edge or The Fritz and sit under an umbrella having a nice locally brewed malt beverage, and maybe watch a quick moving thunderstorm fly past.

    It's definitely warmer in Salida than it is in CB or somewhere else up high, but it's nowhere near as hot as Fruita/Grand Junction.

    July is also good because the town isn't very busy. In June there's a big river festival called FIBArk. All the motels and restaurants are packed, people everywhere. If you like that sort of thing, try to be here then. Maybe I'll rent you my house during that week, I like to make myself scarce when that freak show is going on. But some people do like that sort of thing (obviously).
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  12. #12
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    You guys smoke doobies?
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
    Where we should go,
    We just ride...

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    Re: Colorado vacation recs needed

    Im guessing Durango would be too far but its lower in elevation, has great riding, cool town when not riding, and is pretty top notch for scenery. Just throwing that out there!

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2

  14. #14
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    Fruita will be hotter than a sumb!tch in July. No humidity, though. Too bad about your medical condition. 8-11,000' is where it's at in Colorado in July. That's why riders come here in July.
    A blind man searches in a dark room for a black hat that isn't there. Dashiell Hammett

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    Quote Originally Posted by jugdish View Post
    You guys smoke doobies?
    she didn't ask anything about breckenridge

  16. #16
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    I'll chime in here. Fruita and Denver will be a little hot in July. OK Fruita will be REAL hot. Fruita is one of my favorite places, but it's alpine desert. with no shade. Probably about as hot as SC, but without the humidity. As XC guy says, 8-11k is where it's at in the summer in CO. There are some pretty good trails in Denver, albeit short. Apex, Matthew winters, Dakota Ridge. Other denverites can chime in.
    With a medical condition at altitude, how about lift service riding at Keystone or Trestle bike park in Winter park, both about an hour or so from Denver. Buffalo Creek will be OK, as it's wooded for the most part, except for the burn area, and it's about an hour from Denver as well. Twin elks in Evergreen is about an hour too. I hear there is riding in Colorado springs, but haven't ridden there. Classic Colorado riding in the high country usually starts with climbing right out of the gate for a while, so you may want to consider that. If you come to Breckenridge, (1.5 hrs from DIA) I can recommend some pretty nice rides (peaks trail, Colorado trail).
    I also have a house in Denver we rent if you guys want to use Denver as a home base and do 1 hr day trips, but it's near downtown so there isn't riding from it.
    Just my 2c.

  17. #17
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    Litespeedchick! Mountain Goat Epics here, originally from Asheville, NC and now in Colorado for almost 5 years. IMHO still try to go to Crested Butte. My favorite place to go in Colorado so far. I haven't been to Durango yet though it may be in the cards this year. Anyway, CB itself sits at just under 9,000 ft and while the really fantastic stuff does go a bit over 10k, there is some damn good riding right in town that stays under 10k.
    Other reasons to go to CB:
    its cooler
    Scenery right from town is fantastic
    Wild Flower peak season is right around July
    The town is your kind of town

    Salida, Fruita, and Buffalo Creek are all awesome. I'd rule Fruita out that time of year just because of the heat. Salida and Buffalo Creek can be hot that time of year as well but both have fantastic riding as has been stated.

  18. #18
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    GOAT!! I'ts Jeremy, right? small world. Thanks for chiming in. Where are you in CO?

    I'm very indecisive at this point. And amused that mountain bikers in general seem willing to accept risk of sudden death when it comes to good singletrack.

    I'm sorry to hear that Salida will likely be hot by Asheville standards, Jeff is looking forward to a few days out of the furnace in July. Can you suggest the names of specific CB trails that are at lower elevation?

    btw, notice the avatar? My 16 year old Litespeed is sulking in the basement right now. Pisgah finally beat my ass into submission and I got a full suspension bike a couple of months ago. Still haven't learned to ride it, yet. I was faster both up and down on the hardtail, but I don't feel as much like a bus hit me after a long day.

  19. #19
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    Heat is one thing humidity is another. That's the big difference between Colorado and coastal areas. The low humidity makes the heat a lot more tolerable! Plus gain a couple k feet in elevation and it's a lot cooler.
    "Don't take life so serious, son . . . it ain't no how permanent." - Porky Pine

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    You could stay in Denver and drive up to Brckenridge area and bike. That way you climb high and sleep low. Biking in Summit county is awesome and only a little over an hour drive from Denver.

  21. #21
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    What are some trails in Breck to do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanchez View Post
    What are some trails in Breck to do?
    I live in Breck.

    Peaks Trail, Breck to Frisco, and back, 10 mi each way. Probably my favorite trail, but only because it's 5 minutes from my front door.
    Any part of the Colorado trail, my fav is Middle Fork to Tiger Road RV Park.
    All the stuff up on Baldy Mountain (bakers Tank)
    Baldy Mountain down to moonstone, Jacks Cruel Joke, to town.

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  23. #23
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    Keep in mind the median elevation in Colorado is 6800 feet...

    If you are really worried because of some medical condition, perhaps you should buy some O2 bottles to take with you...
    Tact is for people not witty enough to be sarcastic...

  24. #24
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    Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by kchri View Post
    Keep in mind the median elevation in Colorado is 6800 feet...

    If you are really worried because of some medical condition, perhaps you should buy some O2 bottles to take with you...
    This is really true. For that matter...

    Is there some reason you are dead set on Colorado? There really aren't any US states where the high mountains tend to be as high as our high mountains. Montana and Idaho have beautiful, dramatic mountains. But up there a high pass is 7,000 feet. And it's cooler because it's further north.

    Not wanting to invite you to go elsewhere, but if sheer elevation causes problems, you've chosen to visit the single state in the USA that's the biggest problem.

    Just sayin'
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanchez View Post
    What are some trails in Breck to do?
    breck sucks, the riding is lame, the trails are not that fun, I wouldn't go there on vacation

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