What’s your EPIC Colorado trip?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What’s your EPIC Colorado trip?

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    • #308802

      I planned a trip to Breckinridge 20 years ago and it fell through. So I’m finally making it a priority this year to make it out there. Call it a bucket list type of trip. I live in Wisconsin so its gonna be a real treat. My crosshairs are on Breckinridge again. My question is, am I making a big mistake going to one destination? Or is the Breckinridge area a good mix of what Colorado has to offer? I’m planning on driving out there so travel isn’t an issue but I don’t want to spend my vacation driving neither. If anybody knows of a great place to stay, let me know. Thanks everyone.

    • #308898

      I would recommend going further west. Crested Butte if you want the mountain experience or Fruita for the desert experience.

    • #308899

      I think it depends on how long you plan to stay and what kind of terrain you’re looking to ride while you’re here. I think if you make a real trip of it and stay for 1-2 weeks Breckenridge is not enough.

    • #308903

      I’m planning on spending a week. So I could easily split it up. Hoping to at least do Kenosha pass and Monarch Crest. A mix of easy rides and more difficult would be good. I’ll be going in August.  Thanks for the advice!

    • #308915

      If you’re going as far south as monarch there are several good trails around Salida. I would also look into a day trip over to Aspen/roaring fork valley area pretty epic day rides there.

    • #308949

      Any trip to Colorado should include the Monarch Crest Trail near Salida.  I consider the Monarch Crest to be one of the great Epic rides.  Salida also has other great rides, a historic downtown, and rafting on the Arkansas river.

      Durango is probably the best destination Mountainbike town.   If you stay in town you can access dozens of great trails without having to drive your car to the trailheads.   Just ride from your hotel.  In addition,  there are lots of other things to do in Durango besides riding like steam engine train rides, rafting, Mesa Verde, historic main street, and five brewpubs.

      My third favorite place to ride in Colorado is Fruita which has some of the best slick rock and desert riding in Colorado.

      Ultimately, I think you’ll have more fun riding in these places than you will at the high altitude ski resorts like Breckinridge, Winter Park, Crested Butte, etc.


    • #309181

      There is so much great riding out here that you can’t go wrong.  You could easily spend a week riding in any number of places – Crested Butte, Durango, Fruita/Grand Junction, Salida, Steamboat Springs, etc.

      If I was coming to Colorado from the east, I would start with a warm-up ride at Buffalo Creek.  Little Scraggy is a really fun 13 mile loop with a little bit of everything.

      Salida is two hours from Buffalo Creek and I would spend a couple of nights there.  If you’ve got the legs and lungs, you can ride Monarch Crest the next day.  If not, hang out by the river or hit some of the trails that are accessible from downtown.  Salida has good restaurants and several options for accommodations.

      Crested Butte is another two hours from Salida and I would spend the rest of my time there.  Colorado has so many epic places but the scenery, the town, and the trails make Crested Butte hard to beat.  Personally, I will not be disappointed if Heaven is summer in Crested Butte.  401 is a great place to start.  After that, just ride as many trails as your body can handle.  You won’t regret it.

      Fruita is around 3 hours from Crested Butte.  The riding here is totally different, but Horsethief Bench is worth the drive if you have the time, or just need to spend a day off the bike.  You could easily spend the entire week around Fruita and Grand Junction, but it can be really hot in August.

      This is just my opinion.  As Bike Nerd said, Durango is a great town with awesome trails.  You could easily spend the entire week there, but it may not be worth the extra drive on a trip from Wisconsin.  You could also spend a great week in Steamboat Springs.


      The only real mistake you can make is not staying for two weeks.  Enjoy!!

    • #309186

      Thanks everyone for your input! I’m digging the ideas. It’s a good distraction right now.

    • #309852

      @dlawson had the best advice as it was specific and direct. Crested Butte has amazing riding, scenery and food. The town itself is amazing. The only downside is the altitude is going to effect you so be prepared to take your pace back a notch. Look up Colorado Backcountry if you wanted to spring for a guide, shuttle or just need some trail advice. The owners, Ben and Janae, are world class riders and year round residents. Nobody knows the area like they do.

      FWIW, I have family in Durango and go every year for (2) weeks. It does have many riding options for sure and Phils World in Cortez is nearby but overall for RIDING, I like pretty much everyplace else mentioned better…Fruita, Grand Junction, Crested Butte, Steamboat. I’m no weather expert as I’ve never been to Fruita in August but it might be scorching down there at the time of year.

    • #309854

      Firstly, as has been mentioned, a week doesn’t give enough time if high altitude is involved. Also of note, it wouldn’t give enough time to maximize the experience and spread out over a number of the great places mentioned above.

      With a couple weeks and a vehicamobile, a bloke could spend a day or two in several places and take in so much in terms of great riding from high country forested trail systems to desert rides. Cannot recommend a two week trip highly enough to make it so much more fulfilling and memorable.

      Coming from close to sea level to high altitude can have consequences like altitude sickness that shouldn’t be trifled with. Stay off the hooch for a couple days… Acclimate! Seriously…

      Best wishes on your trip plans, Rdrydr!


    • #309880

      @Rdrydr954, if you only have a week, I think you would do quite well to land in the Breckenridge region.  There are a ton of great trails in Summit County, and it truly is a beautiful area.  You can easily extend out from Breck to the Salida area and do the classic Monarch Crest Trail (and others maybe).  If you have the stamina and a way to do the shuttle, definitely look at doing the Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge ride on the CT.  Of course, if you had the time to get as far as Durango, the San Juans from Ouray to Durango provide as beautiful a landscape as there is in CO.  That is a long drive though.  If there, I would ride north of Durango on the CT etc., not the in-town trails.  The in-town trails are good, but there is much more of an adventure factor as you get away from town.  That would seem important on a trip like this.  Also, I don’t want to be a downer on anybody’s party, but of what I have seen in the Crest Butte area some of the trails seem worn and overused.  The scenery is exceptional, but the trails themselves seem tired and old to me.  I would hate to see you come as far as WI and experience something less than hoped for.

    • #310283

      With such short vacation time available, I would worry about being able to acclimate enough to enjoy the riding.  I live pretty close to sea level.


    • #488503

      I really appreciate all the feedback. We’re tossing around the idea of driving to Denver and renting a camper. I don’t think we’re gonna venture to the western part of the state. I think we’re gonna focus on the Salida/ Crested Butte area. Anybody camped around those areas? Preferably near a trailhead where we can ride some loops.

    • #489164

      Buffalo Creek Recreation Area has camping spaces very close to the trails.  Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area has camping along the Arkansas River near Salida.  Hopefully, someone with experience camping around Crested Butte will chime in.

      Summer camping here can be busy, so make reservations if you can.  There are many first-come, first-serve spots but it could be a little nerve racking trying to line them up on your first trip.

    • #503382

      Well, I’m back!
      What an awesome experience! I wish I didn’t wait so long to get out there. We drove to Golden and got up the next day and hit up Dakota ridge and Red rocks. Ended the day by coming down from Lookout mountain right into downtown. Perfect except for the smoke in the air from some of the fires in the area. Packed up and headed to Crested Butte. The views were nothing short of spectacular. We did the 401 loop which was pretty challenging for me. Trail seems to be getting a little beat up but still a great ride. Again the views were amazing. Very cool. Did Strand hill the next day and enjoyed it as well. Great flow track. Next we were off to Salida. Such a great vibe when you get into town. The bike shops, bars, and restaurants are all top notch and want your business. We stayed at Tudor Rose in a chalet and I wouldn’t do it any other way. We we’re driving around doing a little recon and getting the lay of the land and bumped into a gentleman who’s on the trail committee. We happen to be looking at the map by one of the trail heads and he asked us if we needed help finding anything. This guy gave us a couple weeks worth of information in about 20min. So we rode some of the Methodist trails the first day. Great system, well marked and maintained. The next day I did the Cottonwood tour. Best ride of the entire trip! I can’t remember giggling while riding it. Definitely put it on the top of your list if heading to the area. Thanks everyone who chimed in with information. I just scratched the surface as far as places to ride out there, but you have to start somewhere. Right?

    • #503524

      Hey Rdrydr954. Thanks for sharing how your trip went. Glad you a great time.  Hope you get another chance soon.

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