riding park and natural trails in Colorado in july?

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    • #236444
      Hello everybody,
      I’m your newest forum member. I became a fan of singletracks.com when I was doing a road trip through the US last year and googled “best mountain bike trails in <state>” and found all the info I needed for each state.  Thanks to you I had a blast on gems such as White Mesa in Albuquerque and Winsor in Santa Fe.
      9-22 july I’ll be in Arizona (i already know and love the flagstaff trails), and either the week before (july 2-8) or after that (july 23-29) we plan to hit colorado, where i’ve never ridden before so I need some help.
      I hope to ride bike park which I’ve never done before. I’m looking for roller coaster flow trails with small jumps and drops, and want to hit some natural trails as well. (e.g. phil’s world in cortez, sittle scraggy trail loop in pine, monarch crest and maybe the ribbon in redlands)
      Probably will spend a couple days in crested butte since it has great trails and also a bike park
      My questions:
      1) should I be concerned about rain/thunderstorms? in which of the mentioned locations? would early or late july be better?
      2) i presume heat will be a concern. would early or late july be better?
      3) anyone familiar with the bike parks? evolution looks good, but keystone might be better? are both parks operational in july? is there another CO bike park I should be looking at?
      thanks folks! Greetings from Malta.
    • #236472

      Always, always, always bring a rain jacket on day trips in the Colorado Rockies.  Even in July, afternoons are usually accompanied by a passing thunderstorm which can bring hail, lightning and cold rain.  Half hour later all is clear and blue sky, so not having a rain shell of some kind is a mistake.  Dress and prepare for a 30 degree temp swing throughout the day.  Have fun!

    • #236512

      All the parks in July should be open.  Like it was mentioned already thunderstorms happen constantly during the summer especially in the mountains.  As for bike parks one of the bigger ones is winter park.  As for heat it depends where you are to what you can get, higher up generally the cooler it will be, so for Crested Butte you’ll be looking at some where in the 70’s.  Hope this helps, if you have any other questions let me know.

    • #236531

      dieter_be, obviously no shortage of trails to ride in Colorado.  I’m sure other’s here can expand a lot more of what’s in Colorado than I can.  For me (and my limited input). most of my Colorado riding exposure is around Vail.  We have a place in Vail and go there each 4th of July week.  A lot of trails (80+ trails of all type) right in Vail.  Spreading out a little (~20 miles), and you’ll never run out of trails.  Nearby Frisco (east of Vail) is also a good area.  Just keep in mind both of these areas are very popular during the month of July, especially the week of the 4th.  In fact, some Vail locals tell me that July is now their busiest month of the year, and the 4th of July week their busiest single week!  But it’s easy enough to find solitude just a few miles away.  Crowds dissipate quickly going west from Vail.  Stop off at the Minturn Saloon in Minturn (west of Vail) for a post ride relax.  Get the Quail and Enchilada plate.  And like triton189 said… prep for possible rain and temp swings.  No exaggeration there!  If you do go during the 4th, Vail does a decent little 4th show.  Just plan to reserve or pick an outdoor table someplace early.

    • #236532

      The rain issue has been covered.

      Parks- CB and Keystone are my 2 favorite parks in Co., But….. when you state your looking for rollercoaster and more flowy style riding, they are not the 2 that come to mind.  They have some, but you will be relegated to greens and blues mostly.  Snowmass, near Aspen, is loaded with that type of trail, Winter Park, Brekenridge (not a true DH park, but awesome), Grandby Ranch would also offer more.  All of the parks will have great local trails surrounding them, so that is not too much of a concern.  Like your choices of extra trails, can’t go wrong on any of them.  When you ride Little Scraggy be sure to hit the other trails right down the road(Buffalo Creek Area).  One note about CB, it has the most amazing surrounding local trails.

    • #236548

      Hello, I lived in Flag and CO (front range) and spent time outdoors during summers. They are similar in afternoon weather moods, so the mentions of afternoon storms are useful.  Also the temp swings can be quite dramatic in CO, in the Mtns and the plains. But point I would emphasize is be aware of lightning aspect in CO.  I lived at about 8k feet near Pikes Peak HWY.

      Every summer it seemed there were tourist lightning strikes on Pikes Peak.   It seemed always to be hikers descending in mid afternoon to late afternoon hours.  One buddy who was a camp guide during summers always said something like “up at dawn, zoom by noon”  .  I think May and July are the wettest months, not sure about lightning, but seemed like July my little mtn. apartment was always reverberating during July during the afternoons.  Gorgeous summers in the CO. Mtn areas, have fun.

    • #236556

      Hey azdb.  How the heck are you, you old kook?  =)  I’ll explain more by email, but I should be around CO this fall some.  You should come up and stay awhile and go ride some aspen trails with me.  Then I plan to be down in AZ in maybe late Nov and early Dec.  So maybe we could do a ride together then also.  Let me know how your calendar looks.

      • #236661

        abso-friggen lutely…..second week in Oct booked, but beyond that, we will work it out!……awesome…

        Ill be in touch….

    • #236681

      Thanks for your advice everyone. Very helpful 🙂


      blue/green flow trails are probably fine for me.  I’m new to flow trails, never really done berms before etc. I’m also a beginner at jumping.  But i’ll do some more research on the specific trails they have and watch some videos. thanks for the tip.

      . assuming with flag you mean flagstaff AZ, am i reading you right, what’s been said for thunderstorms and rain in CO also goes for flagstaff? that’s a bit surprising. I was expecting flagstaff to be hotter and significantly drier.

      • #236795

        Yes, I am saying Flagstaff and say 8k feet in the CO front range can be quite similar.  I lived 10 years combined in both locations.  My place in Flag was about 7k feet and 8k in CO.  I have zero background in weather, Mongwolf is basically a forestry scientist with immense familiarity with both settings.

        I lived literally in the front range mountains near Pikes Peak.   Similar afternoon weather patterns, afternoon thunderstorms.  Similar temps as well.  Flag is basically 68-85 Farenheit  for highs and low 50’s for lows in July with Monsoon storms.   I grew up in Phx so the 85 F temp is relative for different folks, for me no problem.  On the CO end, lets say you are in a Mtn town, it will be a bit higher than Flag, I would guess the range for Temps would be 62-79 F avg range.   The temps will be about the elevation.  The top of the highest peak in Flag is 12k+  and as you know, 14k ers abound in CO.  If you are in a town in CO that is 8k, but you are exploring the surround mtns, then yes it will be much cooler, you can be riding around at 10k easily in CO.

        You could plop Flagstaff in CO and would not know it is AZ.    When you ride in basically Sedona or lower, then you start hitting the hot summer temps.

        Have fun.  Both are God’s country in my opinion, awesome…

    • #236715

      Lots of coverage on the rain/lightning and specific trails, but based on your timeframes and the trails you mentioned… you’ll definitely want to consider heat. While Flagstaff is relatively high elevation, most of Arizona will be unbearable that time of year. Also, Phil’s world in Cortez will be extremely hot, and even Little Scraggy at Buffalo Creek will be warm during the time. That said, the higher elevation trails you mentioned like Monarch Crest and Crested Butte will be excellent that time of year. For those higher trails, later in July might be better so you can be totally sure that they’re melted out. But with the snow year we’ve been having, I expect they’ll be melted by late June–but you never know.

    • #239431

      @Gdb49 can you elaborate on what you said “Brekenridge (not a true DH park, but awesome)”

      Breckenridge looks like an interesting option, because it’s close to Frisco and Keystone as well.

      From what I found they have a lot going on: a skills area called the freeride area, there’s the “wellington bike park” and pump track in Breckenridge (free, no lift.) but then there also seems to be a resort with lift access, though i read mixed reviews of it. So what do you think of the bike park with lift, and what did you mean with “not a true DH park” ?

      BTW guys, I discovered a neat trick on google. apparently you can type e.g. “pine CO weather july” and it gives you avg lows, highs, and rainfall for the month. This way I’m building out a spreadsheet of all locations and trails i’m interested in with temps and precipitation expectation.

      And you guys were right, there seems to be amazing natural trails pretty much everywhere. Looks like i shall hit several locations in CO 🙂

    • #239654

      You could spend a lot more than a week between Cortez and Durango. In Cortez check out haunting Sand Canyon, an ancient Anasazi village site with ruins, you may feel the spirts. Telluride has FREE lift service but not really a bike park, awesome town. Alta Lakes to town a cool ride. Penatente is a bike playground north of Del Norte at 8800′. Grand Mesa is cool, 12000′ near the Crest but mosquitoes are nasty with 300+ lakes on the mesa. Fruita is a blast but low elevation so morning rides suggested.

    • #240718

      Thanks for all the help folks.

      I booked some sweet locations and am beyond excited for all the beautiful riding this summer 🙂

      If anyone’s interested or wants to meet up for some intermediate level riding:

      cortez: july 6-8

      fruita / grand junction : july 22 – 25

      Dillon (keystone, frisco, breckenridge): july 25-30

      july 4/5/6: TBD. could be anywhere between denver, grand junction and cortez




    • #240886

      Sorry Dieter, didn’t see your question until now.  If I were riding Breck, I’d bring my trail bike not my DH bike.  The area is awesome, just focuses on trail more than DH- not an insult in the slightest, just a style difference.  Sounds like a great trip, have fun.

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