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Thread: Aspen Beta

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    Aspen Beta

    My wife and kids are headed out of town and I'm looking for a good riding destination within 3-4 hours of Golden, that is new to me. Aspen is one area that gets mentioned a lot, but I don't know much about the riding. Last year when riding 'bonedale I picked up Mountain Biking: Aspen to Glenwood to get some ideas. Unfortunately, I'm finding it lacking and looking for suggestions.

    I prefer XC terrain, but am not opposed to moderately technical. I primarily ride a 29er HT and have a 5.5" dually. My ideal ride would be 20-30 miles of flowy ST with 3-4000 vert. I despise road but will do it if the ride justifies it (i.e Cement Creek for Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadmans, 401, Drs Park, etc). I'll be solo, so shuttles are probably out. I absolutely loved Mushroom Rock in bonedale last year!

    Also, any beta on dispersed camping? I'll be solo in a van so don't need much (a river to live by, maybe?). Camping looks sparse near Aspen.

    Muchas gracias!
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    I am relatively familiar with Aspen riding. I live in New Castle and try to get up there at least once or twice a summer to ride. I would say that not having locals insight like some Aspenites may I have found that for a mid length ride like you are looking for you have three obvious options. 1 - create some kind of loop out of the trails in around the Four Corners area of Aspen. I have my own way of putting loops together but a local shop could probably have a better idea. I think you can easily put together a 20-30+mile ride out there with minimal road riding. 2 - I typically string together all of the obvious trails in Snowmass Village for a 20-30 mile loop. Again a ski area map or a local shop can help you there, very simple in my mind. 3 and lastly, although not in Aspen proper the Arbaney Kittle loop is probably my desired trail if you are into longish, climby, backwoods type trails. If you need help on this one send me a message and I can help you further.

    As far as camping not sure, I know there is camping up Indy Pass road on Hwy 82, although never camped at any of the sites.

    Good luck

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    Thanks for the suggestions Foote30! I'll check out the Arbaney Kittle loop - may send you a PM if I'm having problems getting info from my guidebooks.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    I live here in Aspen. I ride a bunch. My suggestion to you and it's a big ride is:

    ride up Buttermilk (25 min road ride, sorry but all our rides start with road) to the Goverment Trail to An Aerobic Nighmare to Tom Blake trail, accross the village (snowmass village) pick up Rim trail (both sections) across roundabout to Skyline Trail (aka Droste) back to airport/buttermilk parking lot. 30 miles or so 3K-4K of climbing. all single track but for the road up buttermilk. let me know if you have questions!

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    Cool - thanks! I can handle 25 min of road.

    Can you recommend a good bike shop in aspen/snowmass to pick up a map and some directions?

    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd braun View Post
    I live here in Aspen. I ride a bunch. My suggestion to you and it's a big ride is:

    ride up Buttermilk (25 min road ride, sorry but all our rides start with road) to the Goverment Trail to An Aerobic Nighmare to Tom Blake trail, accross the village (snowmass village) pick up Rim trail (both sections) across roundabout to Skyline Trail (aka Droste) back to airport/buttermilk parking lot. 30 miles or so 3K-4K of climbing. all single track but for the road up buttermilk. let me know if you have questions!
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Cool - thanks! I can handle 25 min of road.

    Can you recommend a good bike shop in aspen/snowmass to pick up a map and some directions?
    we have a few bike shops. The Hub is on Hyman ave near the fountain. the easiest to find.

    you can also get with me when you are here and I can give you some help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd braun View Post
    I live here in Aspen. I ride a bunch. My suggestion to you and it's a big ride is:

    ride up Buttermilk (25 min road ride, sorry but all our rides start with road) to the Goverment Trail to An Aerobic Nighmare to Tom Blake trail, accross the village (snowmass village) pick up Rim trail (both sections) across roundabout to Skyline Trail (aka Droste) back to airport/buttermilk parking lot. 30 miles or so 3K-4K of climbing. all single track but for the road up buttermilk. let me know if you have questions!
    That loop would be my choice! Killer terrain and equally killer scenery. Arbaney Kittle is huge, lots of hike a bike if you start in Basalt and pretty easy to get lost up there. That would not be high on my todo list, especially if you are solo. The Hunter Creek area also has tons of great loops, Sunny Side, Hobbit etc.and is close to town for post ride brews. I will have to put a plug in for Scout Trail down here at our end of the valley for a fun 20 miler and you can end your ride at the brewery door. As for car camping - there have been lots of bears giving campers problems up valley - watch your food storage.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    That loop would be my choice! Killer terrain and equally killer scenery. Arbaney Kittle is huge, lots of hike a bike if you start in Basalt and pretty easy to get lost up there. That would not be high on my todo list, especially if you are solo. The Hunter Creek area also has tons of great loops, Sunny Side, Hobbit etc.and is close to town for post ride brews. I will have to put a plug in for Scout Trail down here at our end of the valley for a fun 20 miler and you can end your ride at the brewery door. As for car camping - there have been lots of bears giving campers problems up valley - watch your food storage.
    Thanks for the info! Think I will try that loop. I've always wanted to ride Scout Trail. Is it pretty much a shuttle only ride? Or, is there a way to loop it?

    Oh and thanks for the heads up on the bear issues. I'm a firm believe in a clean camp.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    That loop would be my choice! Killer terrain and equally killer scenery. Arbaney Kittle is huge, lots of hike a bike if you start in Basalt and pretty easy to get lost up there. That would not be high on my todo list, especially if you are solo. The Hunter Creek area also has tons of great loops, Sunny Side, Hobbit etc.and is close to town for post ride brews. I will have to put a plug in for Scout Trail down here at our end of the valley for a fun 20 miler and you can end your ride at the brewery door. As for car camping - there have been lots of bears giving campers problems up valley - watch your food storage.
    great call on Scout. I ride it multiple times a year. Just not in the summer. very hot. Epic ride but spring and fall is when I ride it. That is why I didn't mention it. As for camping which I failed to mention. You should be able to find a spot mid week at campgrounds around the area. bears are everywhere for sure. people have been know to sleep in trucks/van in town over night, just be very discreet. like i said. PM me when you are coming and I'll help you.

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    Cool - thanks, Lloyd! I might take you up on it Looks like a great loop, I can see everything but the new skyline trail in my book.

    I'll prob save Scout for another trip - I don't do well in heat.

    Think I'll do the Snowmass loop you described one day and then something a little shorter in Aspen another (sunnyside, shadyside, hobbit,etc).

    Thanks for the info!

    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd braun View Post
    great call on Scout. I ride it multiple times a year. Just not in the summer. very hot. Epic ride but spring and fall is when I ride it. That is why I didn't mention it. As for camping which I failed to mention. You should be able to find a spot mid week at campgrounds around the area. bears are everywhere for sure. people have been know to sleep in trucks/van in town over night, just be very discreet. like i said. PM me when you are coming and I'll help you.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd braun View Post
    I live here in Aspen. I ride a bunch. My suggestion to you and it's a big ride is:

    ride up Buttermilk (25 min road ride, sorry but all our rides start with road) to the Goverment Trail to An Aerobic Nighmare to Tom Blake trail, accross the village (snowmass village) pick up Rim trail (both sections) across roundabout to Skyline Trail (aka Droste) back to airport/buttermilk parking lot. 30 miles or so 3K-4K of climbing. all single track but for the road up buttermilk. let me know if you have questions!
    Good idea, but I'd park in the Buttermilk parking lot, for free, and ride 5 minutes of pavement over to Tiehack, and catch Government, where it crosses the road near the base of the Tiehack lift. You can find the trail near the intersection of S Meadow lane and tiehack road. Google maps.

    Edited to add, you can park within about 200 ft of the trail, for free in the summer.
    Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Thanks for the info! Think I will try that loop. I've always wanted to ride Scout Trail. Is it pretty much a shuttle only ride? Or, is there a way to loop it?

    Oh and thanks for the heads up on the bear issues. I'm a firm believe in a clean camp.
    Lloyd is right about it being hot - I always get an early start in the summer to do the climb in the shade as much as possible. Once you are on the singletrack you are totally shaded however.

    It can be done as a loop which involves a little asphalt, more gravel road, and then the good singletrack on Forest Hollow - starting in town you ride the Rio Grande Trail out to Red Canyon Road - head up from there, then up to the CR 120 trailhead. There is an alternate option that does not drop back down Scout Trail into town - you just stay on the Lookout Mt. trail - and then ride back through private property to Red Canyon - much better ride IMO, but technically private and you do miss out on the massive steep white-knuckle descent back to Town. If you're out in the fall PM me and I can give you the details or maybe meet up with you.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    there are a few iterations of tour de' snowmass you could do... a few minutes on a free bus will get you in to snowmass. Start at the mall and ride Rim, Highline (you can add skyline), Tom Blake, Anearobic, Government, and pick your downhill....

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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat View Post
    Lloyd is right about it being hot - I always get an early start in the summer to do the climb in the shade as much as possible. Once you are on the singletrack you are totally shaded however.

    It can be done as a loop which involves a little asphalt, more gravel road, and then the good singletrack on Forest Hollow - starting in town you ride the Rio Grande Trail out to Red Canyon Road - head up from there, then up to the CR 120 trailhead. There is an alternate option that does not drop back down Scout Trail into town - you just stay on the Lookout Mt. trail - and then ride back through private property to Red Canyon - much better ride IMO, but technically private and you do miss out on the massive steep white-knuckle descent back to Town. If you're out in the fall PM me and I can give you the details or maybe meet up with you.
    cutthroat. got any beta on the alt trail back to red canyon? I'd like to try that some time! thx

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    Lloyd - check your PM for the description.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post

    Also, any beta on dispersed camping? I'll be solo in a van so don't need much (a river to live by, maybe?). Camping looks sparse near Aspen.

    Muchas gracias!
    Lincoln Creek would fit the bill.

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    Thanks for the info guys. Couple of quick questions. Is the terrain in Snowmass/Aspen suitable for a 29er HT? Or, is it pretty tech? I've got a 5.5" dually, but the rear derailleur spring is about shot.

    Also - Does Lincoln creek fill up pretty fast on Fridays? I'll prob get down there around 8PM on Fri night. Debating camping in Prince Creek the first night or driving further to get closer to the goods. I'm fairly certain I can get a spot at Prince Cr. Basalt Mtn might be another option...if anyone has any recs.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Thanks for the info guys. Couple of quick questions. Is the terrain in Snowmass/Aspen suitable for a 29er HT? Or, is it pretty tech? I've got a 5.5" dually, but the rear derailleur spring is about shot.

    Also - Does Lincoln creek fill up pretty fast on Fridays? I'll prob get down there around 8PM on Fri night. Debating camping in Prince Creek the first night or driving further to get closer to the goods. I'm fairly certain I can get a spot at Prince Cr. Basalt Mtn might be another option...if anyone has any recs.
    A 29erHT will be fine - the up-valley terrain is typically more smooth singletrack, you won't find much riding like Red Hill, although Snowmass has more DH style options where a FS bike is best. You shouldn't have trouble getting a camping spot.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

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    Cool, thanks! The HT was fine on Red Hill - so should be good to go.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    Good idea, but I'd park in the Buttermilk parking lot, for free, and ride 5 minutes of pavement over to Tiehack, and catch Government, where it crosses the road near the base of the Tiehack lift. You can find the trail near the intersection of S Meadow lane and tiehack road. Google maps.

    Edited to add, you can park within about 200 ft of the trail, for free in the summer.
    Sorry if I'm missing something. But whether I ride up Buttermilk Rd or Tiehack, isn't it about the same distance to Gov't? They both look a little over a mile.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Sorry if I'm missing something. But whether I ride up Buttermilk Rd or Tiehack, isn't it about the same distance to Gov't? They both look a little over a mile.
    I start at the bottom of the tiehack lift and traverse over to bmilk rd. That is the easiest. It's more than a mile. fyi

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Sorry if I'm missing something. But whether I ride up Buttermilk Rd or Tiehack, isn't it about the same distance to Gov't? They both look a little over a mile.
    Parking at Tiehack, puts you within 75 yards of the Gubmint single track. The only difference is, do you wanna climb dirt road or single track? Six of one half a dozen of the other, but I always prefer the one track.

    Just my $.02. YMMV
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    I camped at Griz Res. this weekend. While driving up Friday at 6pm there were only 2 camp sites open out of the 22 on lincoln creek rd. it will be a crap shoot if you get a site there at 8pm on Friday. FYI

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    Yeah, I found that out Friday night. Got in kinda late and ended up sleeping in my van on a pullout on Lincoln Cr. Fortunately, had a reservation for Difficult CG for sat night.

    Man, you guys have some awesome riding in Aspen/Snowmass! I did your recommended loop...mostly. Instead of coming back on Skyline I came back on Govt. Not sure it was the smartest decision I have made...I was pretty spent after that climb up An Aeorbic Nightmare and didn't really get to enjoy the descent into Aspen. Rim trail was my favorite, Tom Blake a close second.

    Thanks for all the beta! Do you mind if I post a TR? Don't want to break the 'circle of trust'.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Yeah, I found that out Friday night. Got in kinda late and ended up sleeping in my van on a pullout on Lincoln Cr. Fortunately, had a reservation for Difficult CG for sat night.

    Man, you guys have some awesome riding in Aspen/Snowmass! I did your recommended loop...mostly. Instead of coming back on Skyline I came back on Govt. Not sure it was the smartest decision I have made...I was pretty spent after that climb up An Aeorbic Nightmare and didn't really get to enjoy the descent into Aspen. Rim trail was my favorite, Tom Blake a close second.

    Thanks for all the beta! Do you mind if I post a TR? Don't want to break the 'circle of trust'.

    Post that TR. I'd love to see it. Gov't back is sick, especially after the "nightmare" up! We usually ride the gondola back up to grab Gov't back. Nice way to power through. Isn't Gov't one of the best? Glad you enjoyed our trails, we have more....come back next time and do the north side of Aspen! Looking forward to the Trip Report.

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