2 week riding holiday in Colorado
Hi everyone, as a birthday present to myself I'm looking at taking a 2 week riding holiday to Colorado (i'm from the UK), so I was hoping to get some recommendations on places to ride.
I definitely want to go to Crested Butte as it sounds pretty special, and will ideally try and overlap with the Downieville Classic - doubt I will be able to race, but would like to enjoy the side events at any rate. Are the trails open in the area around the race (i.e. the trails the race isn't using)?
However, I'm not sure about staying in one place for the whole 2 weeks so other places to check out plus tips on getting around the state (with a bike) would all be welcome. I'm looking around the web at very sites on riding Colorado too, but I think it's good to get some more personal opinions.
I am principally interested in long descents - technical and fast - with the minimum of fire-road rolling. I used to ride in the alps a lot so I would say my skill level is reasonable. However, it's going to be over a year since I mountain biked properly so will have to see how much of those skills have remained.
Thanks, I look forward to your replies.
Originally Posted by AlexAbroad
I think you may be a little confused about the Downieville Classic? It's in California, not Colorado. Downieville, CA is about an 18 hour drive from Crested Butte.
I live in Salida, about 90 minutes east of CB. There's cool riding around here too, and I would suggest at least hitting the Monarch Crest Trail. Very singletrack intensive, most people hire a shuttle ride out of Poncha Springs, CO. If you fly into Denver, you'll be driving through Poncha anyway.
I also would suggest Durango, CO if you want to do more than one place.
You'll get more info soon.
You could easily spend 2 weeks in Crested Butte alone, but the whole state has excellent rides.
While in Crested Butte ride these for more technical descents:
Green Lake Trail
Farris Creek or 402
Some of the other traditional classics like 401, Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadmans, ect are pretty non-technical but still a ton of fun.
Other than Crested Butte, check out some of these rides...
Monarch Crest is a must do
Hermosa Creek + Durango + Phil's World, tons of awesome riding to be had
Fruita/Grand Junction, lots of desert riding (it would be pretty hot in July or mid summer though)
Buffalo Creek near Pine, CO
@TomP, wow thanks for that! Don't know how I got that muddled up. I might look into extending the holiday then, see if I can't do some time in Colorado and then over to Cali, or just remember it for a future trip. THanks for the other suggestions too.
@BDKeg Thanks for the trail recommendations. Based on what you say, may look at a week in Crested Butte and then a week elsewhere (see my reply to TomP). Will definitely look some of these places up.
You definitely can't go wrong by going to Cali as well, your biggest restraint will be time. You could easily spend a week in Durango and many other towns as well in CO for riding. Definitely go to new places and sight see/ride, don't stay in one place too long. If I had to choose just 1 ride in Colorado to do, it'd definitely be Monarch Crest, don't skip that ride.
Originally Posted by AlexAbroad
Also, I'm not sure what time of year you're coming out, but the heat can be a factor in summer for the lower elevation rides, but then again I don't deal with heat that well. Enjoy!
Arrive Denver, drive to Vail pass, hit Two Elks trail to Minturn, return to car, drive to Brekenridge for the night. Pick any two stages of the Brek Epic, and ride them, I suggest the stage3 Mt. Guyot, and stage5 Wheeler. Then onto Salida for shuttle of Monarch Crest. Drive to Gunnison for a lap of Hartman's rock, then onto Crested Butte for any of the excellent rides there, I suggest 401, and Reno/Flag/dead. Then down to Durango hitting the Colorado trail off the pass, Hermosa Creek, and explore their in town trails. If you still have some time and it's not too hot you can goto Frutia/grandJunction for some rides, and loop back north though Steamboat and Winter Park, and back to Denver. All of these towns have great trails, enjoy the trip.
If you know when you coming we can give better insight into what will be open and rideable. We are still snowed over in the high country, and 6-10 new snow forecast for Sunday.
Thanks @sbsbiker, that is extremely useful. I was thinking end of July/beginning of August timings-wise.
And thanks everyone!
Snow should be gone by then, but temps may keep you from riding in Frutia/Grand Junction. Enjoy the trip, and let us know if you need more information, lots of great rides here in CO no matter where you go.
I will have to respectfully disagree. 401 is barely worth a half day. Yes the views are great, but there is always cowsh!t down at the bottom.
Originally Posted by sbsbiker
And what is the fixation with Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadmans? Yes, the switchbacks on Deadmans were fun, but the rest of that ride is rutted out by motos and paved with fly-covered cow patties. Not worth the time.
The best ride in CB, IMHO, is Doctors Park. So awesome. You'll need a good GPS track or a guide, but you won't have to ride through cow sh!t.
I have to agree with Mister Beam here about Reno/Flag/etc. And I have to agree with him regarding Doctor Park. But to each his own. I disagree with him about 401. Certainly not worth skipping it just to avoid some bovine sign. My humble opinion. And poo can happen anywhere--there are cows grazing all over CO. Sometimes they hang out on a trail for a way and carpet it with jello pudding pops. I can't remember seeing any turdysomething on 401 when I was there last August.
Originally Posted by Jim Beam
I would recommend doing Downieville and NoCal on another trip. In general I advise people, especially people from places like Britain, to plan away from seeing too many places in one trip. Pick places that are fun for more than a day or two, and stick with no more than one every 3-5 days. The reason I say this specifically to a Brit, you will be amazed by how far apart are places here in the American West. For example, to follow sbsbiker's tour, assuming of course that you'll skip Fruita/Grand Junction because it's way too hot there in July/August, one day you would be going from Durango to Steamboat, and that's 7 hours. 350 miles. Further than the width of the british isles.
I personally could go to Durango and spend two weeks without getting antsy. Same deal with the combination of Gunnison and CB, especially when you consider some of the riding nearer to here to be local-ish. Canyon Creek for example--half hour from Gunny. Amazeballs. Besides the normal Classic Monarch Crest ride, do Agate Creek off the Crest.
sbsbiker definitely describes a pretty cool tour, but I would disagree with the approach of hitting so many destinations.
Sort of agree, 403 to 401 is my preferred loop.
401 is barely worth a half day
Keep in mind that the OP is coming from sea level, 401 is a great intro to CB riding and a way to see what you're comfortable with before you find yourself dragging ass on a big backcountry loop.
There's tons of great riding between DIA and CB/anywhere, you'll easily be able to fill your schedule.
Thanks again for everyone's input, I think i will just stick to Colorado for this trip - it gives an incentive to come back to another year to check out NoCal etc
Durango is an easy mountain bike destination. Many great rides within 5 miles from town, some of the best high country riding outside of town, a river to cool down, paddle or fish in, 5 local breweries, most with happy hours prices, restaurants and shopping for those who don't ride (or don't ride every day), several bikes shops, and pretty darn good weather.
The riding scene here is top notch, you can discuss trails with almost any local sitting next to you at one of the bars.
The only negative I would think for a vacation is elevation. You start at 6500' and go up. Our high country rides spend a fair amount of time above 12,000', depending on the ride.
Craig, Durango CO
"Lighten up PAL" ... King Cage
Thanks @cbrossman, my thinking at the moment is 1 week Crested Butte, 1 week Durango (though not necessarily that way round).
Elevation may be an issue, though I have not had significant issues in the past when going up to the alps from near sea level. Nonetheless, I'll be sure to take it easy the first day.
There are many great places to ride in Colorado. The only thing I'd recommend is to try to get in some rides that go above treeline. Not necessarily because the quality of the trails is so great - although some trails up there might be - but because of the uniqueness of being up that high in the alpine tundra.
Great trails are the Monarch Crest near Salida, part of the Colorado trail near Durango, The Wheeler trail near Breckenridge, The Guyot loop near Breckenridge, The Colorao trail between Searle pass and Kokomo Pass near Copper mountain ski area, Many of many miles of Jeep roads near Montezuma (not great riding for the trails themselves, but miles and miles of riding above 12,000'. There are lots of other above treeline jeep trails in the state), and others I'm not remembering now.
Many people will want to tout the places they live as the best place to ride. I live in Breckenridge and it's pretty hard to beat for easy access to literally hundreds of miles of high quality singletrack from right in town, but it's only one of many great places to base yourself and ride. You almost can't go wrong in any of the mountain towns.
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