Colorado Gets First Gold Level Ride Center
The Roaring Fork Valley was recently designated as a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). It joins Steamboat Bike Town and Vail Valley on the prestigious list, but it is the first area in Colorado to be given the Gold Level designation.
Summer guarantees more usable trails but it also promises more people. Conversely, spring offers fewer trails but at the same time you are likely to have them to yourself. Steamboat is the exception with practically no trails available in spring, but we’ve included a few suggestions so you can plan ahead for summer!
Roaring Fork Valley
At the head of the valley, Glenwood Springs has milder winters and as such will have accessible trails earlier in the season. Trails near Glenwood that will likely be open at some point in spring include the mammoth Ute Trail that skirts the Flat Tops Wilderness en route to Meeker 80 miles away. For something a little less epic, but no less fun, try the 3.4-mile Grandstaff Trail. Further down valley in Carbondale, the Red Hill Recreation Area has 17 miles of trails at lower elevation trails that will also likely be open in early spring. South of Carbondale, the 20 or so miles of trails that make up Prince Creek are also going to be accessible around the same time. Down valley in Aspen, trails will likely not open until the tail end of spring or even into summer. When they do open, head for the upper portion of the Hunter Creek Trail for a fast descent with great views. The paved 42-mile Rio Grande Trail connects the entire valley and is a great way to get around.
The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association are your go-to experts for the valley. Visit rfmba.org.
Extending from Eagle in the west to East Vail in the east - and including the communities of Wolcott, Edwards, Avon, Minturn and Vail - the Vail Valley has it all, including plenty of awesome mountain biking trails.
Eagle has over 100 miles of singletrack with something for everyone with trails that wind through high desert, groves of aspen trees and dense evergreen forests. Town-owned open space trails open in the middle of April while BLM trails in the area such as Boneyard, Redneck Ridge and part of Haymaker Trail are open year-round. Visit the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association for more info at vvmba.org.
A lot of trails in this area will be under seasonal closures and muddy trails should be avoided, so be sure to check trail conditions before you head out. However, there are trails in Eagle and Edwards that will likely be rideable in mid/late March including Boneyard and Redneck Ridge, and Haymaker trails (first two loops) in Eagle and
Berry Creek and Mesquite trails in Edwards. In April a few more will likely open up including West Avon Preserve Trails in Avon.
The third IMBA-designated area is Steamboat Bike Town. Steamboat Springs almost certainly won’t have any trails open until the summer, but there are a good number of trails that are groomed for fat biking that will likely last through March. There is a chance that by May trails on the south side of Emerald Mountain will be open (the Emerald Mountain Trail Trails System has more than 24 miles of non-motorized multi-use trails). For more details visit routtcountyriders.org.
For more information on trails in Colorado’s three IMBA-designated areas and across the state, check out mtbproject.com which also happens to be supported by IMBA.
The IMBA is the worldwide leader in mountain bike advocacy, and the only organization in the U.S. focused entirely on trails and access for all types of mountain bikers in all parts of the country. Since 1988, the organization has taught and encouraged low-impact riding, grassroots advocacy, sustainable trail design, innovative land management practices and cooperation among trail user groups. IMBA U.S. is a national network of local groups, individual riders and passionate volunteers working together for the benefit of the entire community.
Ride Centers feature extensive trail networks that have been designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and are built by professional trailbuilders and local volunteers. From backcountry adventures to shuttle-served gravity trails, and from expert-only to family-friendly, you’ll encounter the best the sport has to offer.
Colorado is under a statewide Stay-at-Home order, meaning you should stay home unless performing a critical activity, including participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties.