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Biking In Snowmass & Aspen

Wow, Snowmass and Aspen are a bikers heaven - you'll find hundreds of roads and mountain bike trails for all skill levels. You can take a grueling ride from Aspen up hairpin turns to the top of Independence Pass, ride gently paved trails that follow the Roaring Fork River, or take the Gondolas to the top of Aspen or Snowmass mountain and ride any of the trails up or down the mountain. Maybe all of these hundreds of miles of trails is one of the reasons that you don't see any hefty or pudgy people, except for tourists like me, in the Aspen area - everybody seems to ride bikes to get to work, get some exercise, participate in a bike race, or just cruise to the local pub - my kind of biking!

Below are some of the Aspen and Snowmass biking trails that we rode or know about that are outstanding.

Snowmass Mountain Biking Trails - at the base of Snowmass mountain in Snowmass Village you have access to over 40 miles of trails ranging from scenic paths to gentle roads to gnarly single track. You can ride up any of the trails on your bike ascending over 1200 vertical feet to near the top of Snowmass Mountain but you'll need leg muscles that look like chiseled marble statues, endurance like a cheetah, and lungs like a whale. Or for a fee you can load your bike and body on the Elk Camp Gondola and ride to the the mid mountain at over 10,000 feet, ride some of the trails, and then take a thrilling bike ride back down the mountain on a variety of trails. There are trails from expert to beginner ranging from less than a mile to over 24 miles - make sure you pick up a trail map and study it so you don't end up on a trail you can't handle. You'll encounter magnificent views of the mountains, the valley and Snowmass Golf Course as you ride through carpets of wildflowers, thick rich forests, golden aspen leaves, and you might even catch a glimpse of some wildlife. At the top of the Elk Camp Gondola is a restaurant and deck overlooking the valley, a climbing wall, and an 18 hole golf course. When we were staying in Snowmass Village, it was hosting the Blast the Mass Biker Race, which Lance Armstrong won the previous year - fun to watch these superior athletes huffing and puffing up the mountain as I set on our balcony sipping a cold beer and munching on some appetizers! Check out this Snowmass Trail Map for more info. Snowmass Village has some bike shops that have an excellent selection of mountain bikes for rent - all of which are equipped with heavy duty shocks and disc brakes. Four Mountain has a good selection and reasonable rates.

Start of the Snowmass race up the mountainRiding down the Snowmass TrailsUp the gondola at Snowmass

Rio Grande Trail - this is a very popular trail for hikers, bikers, joggers, in-line skaters, and a few dogs as it follows the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad right of way and parallels the Roaring Fork River until it flows into the Colorado River. It's a 42 mile trail that runs from Aspen to Glenwood Springs - all of which is paved except for 6 miles of dirt trail. It's mostly flat with gentle ups and downs and offers views of the ski areas, small canyons, waterfalls, beautiful homes, farms and ranches, cottonwood groves, and more. On one of the rides on the Rio Grande Trail, we rode about 9 miles from Aspen south to the famous and funky Woody Creek Tavern for drinks and appetizers. It's a fun and scenic ride downhill and the margaritas are excellent, in fact they were so good we took the local taxi back to Aspen. Turns out this may be a common occurrence because right next door to Woody Creek is a retired gent with a huge SUV for shuttling bikers or hikers back home. I was amazed that he could load all six of us plus two kids, our bikes, and two kids bike trailers in his SUV and gave us a scenic tour back to the bike shop in Aspen.

Rio Grande Trail in AspenWoody Creek Travern along the Rio Grande TrailRoaring Fork River along the Rio Grande Trail

We have also ridden bikes north on the trail which winds up toward Independence Pass. A scenic paved easy ride (we turned around when it got too steep and the trail turned from paved to dirt) that follows the river past some beautiful Aspen homes. We also really enjoy riding bikes around Aspen, which is very bike friendly - in fact some of the streets are closed to through traffic and perfect for biking around town in awe of the unique and very expensive Aspen homes.

riding on the upper part of the Rio Grande TrailBeautiful pond along the Rio Grande TrailRio Grande Trail ride

Snowmass To Aspen - there is a new paved path that connects Snowmass to the Rio Grande Trail and Aspen. The path is steep leading out of or into Snowmass and after that it's an easy and fun ride. If you don't have a bike, you can rent one from one of the Four Mountain Bike Rental locations for a one way ride to or from Aspen or Snowmass.

Snowmass Rim Trail - mountain bikers revere this 15 mile trail that is a single track trail full of switchbacks. This is a challenging ride through scrub oak and aspen groves and with several miles along a narrow ridge top above Snowmass Village - spectacular views of the valley, Snowmass Mountain and Village, the golf course, beautiful mountain homes, and more. But don't take your eyes off the trail!

Riding the Rim TrailView of Snowmass Ski Runs from the Rim TrailView of Snowmass from the Rim Trail

Aspen & Snowmass Biking and Bike Trail Resources

Trails.com they have brief fee information on the trials and more detailed info on a fee basis
Aspen/Snowmass Website You can find bike trail maps for both biking on both mountains and lots more fun things to do
Aspen Mountain Trails Check out the trails on Aspen Mountain
Snowmass Mountain Trail Map You'll be overwhelmed by the extensive trial system
Blazing Adventures Guided Rides Blazing Adventures can take you on a variety of guided bike rides
Four Mountain Bike Rentals Four Mountain has excellent bikes and four locations in the area
Aspen Velo Aspen Velo is located a block from the Rio Grande Trail and an excellent place to rent bikes - great service, good bikes
Biking Trails Around Aspen The Aspen Chamber of Commerce site has a list and brief description of some trails

 

To learn more about this fun vacation in Snowmass, check these pages:

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