I’m scheduling my first trip to Colorado in May and want some recommendations on which trails to hit. I’m spending approximately 3 days there and my girlfriend is going with me. She is definitely a Beginner to mountain biking and I consider myself an intermediate rider. I want to make the most out of our trip since we will only be there 3 days, will be driving from Texas and want her to have fun as well. I want to go where there are trails that we could ride together but then also hit trails that are a little more my speed and I could venture out on my own. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Lodging recommendations would be appreciated as well. Thanks and ride on!
Colorado is a big state. You don’t say where in Colorado you intend to go. Three of my favorite places to mountain bike in Colorado are Fruita, Salida, and Durango.
If you stay in downtown Durango, you can do all your rides right from your hotel or campground. No need to transport your bike by car to the trailheads.
If you go to Fruita, you can ride some amazing desert slick rock.
Salida also has some good downtown rides but the best reason to go there is to ride the epic above timberline Monarch Crest trail.
Where ever you go you should be aware that Colorado has had a big snow year. I don’t expect to see melt out at high elevations until July. Durango, Fruita, and near town Salida will be fine in May. The Monarch Crest Trail will likely be snow bound in May.
Also be aware of altitude sickness. If you come from Texas to a high altitude place in Colorado, you might find the air a bit thin for hard physical activity. Fruita is fairly low.
Thanks for the information Plusbike Nerd. I was considering Crested Butte and the surrounding areas as my riding destination. If you had to pick between Crested Butte and Durango which one would you choose?
I think you might find snow/mud in high altitude Crested Butte in May. Spring is typically the dry season in Durango. However, if both towns were dry, I’d still pick Durango. Here are some trail networks I recommed. Horse Gulch, Twin Buttes, Colorado Trail, Animas Mountain, Alien Run, Phil’s World. Many other great things to do in Durango also. Animas River rafting, Mesa Verde, Steam engine train ride, Historical Victorian Main St.
If you plan to go in May, Crested Butte and Durango aren’t going to be great options. With the snow pack this year you’re going to be looking at the Western Slope, Front Range, or one of the crazy places like Salida and Canon City where riding is accessible year round.
Any of the big alpine rides that Colorado is famous for will probably be snowed in until July this year. Three days in Salida though barely scratches the surface of in town and near town riding so that’d be my recommendation if you want to be in the mountains and ride.
Like Plusbike Nerd says, its a big state with many MB options in different places. I had a great experience in Fruita a couple years ago, and I think you could find a good mix for you and your girl in Kokopelli area and perhaps even 18 Road area. May would be a perfect time, and Grand Junction has some trails too. Even Moab isn’t that far away – maybe 90 minute drive.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>High country will be snowy or muddy almost all over the state, snowpack is over 100% of average everywhere. I’ve heard good things about canyon city which should be dry. Lake Pueblo trails will be dry. All of front range will be dry. This is of course barring the occasional spring storm. More info on what part of the state you are going to will help with more specific recommendations. Enjoy!</p>
Crested Butte is God’s gift to mountain bikers, but there is no way it will be rideable in May. Durango is hit and miss and a high risk if you’re driving from Texas- have a plan “B”. Fruita, Canon City or Colorado Springs are safer and have loads of riding.