Mountain Biking Aspen, Colorado
Mountain biking in Colorado is becoming more popular every year, and with ski resorts now catering to mountain bikers providing lift service downhill and cross country riding this is even more the case. Aspen is home to literally hundreds of mountain bike trails and has something for riders of every level.
You can leave your private piece of real estate in downtown Aspen, head up Smuggler for a heart pumping 20 minute warm up and have access to some jedi style mountain biking. Classic trails including Hunter Creek and Iowa Shaft cover pine forests and wide open valleys dotted with scenic log cabins from decades gone by. Dedicated locals led by Aspen Architect Al Beyer have opened up three new trails also access by Smuggler, including the Tootsie Roll and Lolipop, think new school friendly roller coaster rides complete with an elevated bridge over some marshy terrain. These guys know what they are doing and these are incredible fun rides. Still have some legs and lungs remaining, then keep going on up to Four Corners, at this point you really feel like you are out there, cause you are. From here you can hit The Hobbit, Jedi Trail, Secret and Super Secret as well as Shadyside and the legendary Sunnyside enough options to keep die hard biker busy all season. The Sunnyside trail is especially amazing in the fall as it rides the mountain above Red Mountain through a very large Aspen forest that glitters gold, overlooking the town of Aspen with views up Indepencance pass, up Castle Creek, up Maroon Creek and straight at Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands, truly a beautiful site.
The other side of the valley offers great rides on Buttermilk for a quick workout after work, and ties into trails running out of Snowmass. The area around Snowmass itself is covered in trails including one of the best singletrack trails to learn on the Rim Trial. If you have skied Snowmass in the winter this trail is the equivalent of riding a perfectly groomed blue cruiser. A very challenging singletrack that locals love is the Governement trail, this trail actually goes all the way from Snowmass to Aspen in 13 miles and is the course for the famous Golden Leaf half marathon. The Golden Leaf was voted one of the top ten scenic trail races in the country!
The actual ski mountain of Snowmass has become a mountain bike meca, the new gondola lifts your bike up to Elk Camp where you can take any number downhill and cross country trails. Valhalla is especially popular with donwhillers due to its numerous jumps and banked walls, including a 25 foot high wood coaster banked wall.
Ready for something even more adventurous, there is a ride that goes from Aspen to Crested Butte that covers Richmond Ridge, Taylor Pass and Star Pass for 40 miles of mountain biking madness out into the heart of the wilderness. This is a right of passage for hard core bikers and something not to be missed if you are up to it!
Maybe something a little more tame is what you had in mind, take a cruise out the path to the Northstar Nature Preserve on the East side of Aspen, a lovely cruise with great views.
Aspen has something for every one in terms of mountain biking and is just one more thing that makes this place so special.