Colorado Mountain Biking Adventures - Part 14

Colorado Trail out and back: If a shuttle is not available or 28.8 miles is too long, a good out-and-back option is found at 5.6 miles by going left on Forest Road 538 to Chair Rocks. This leg is about 2 miles total. Another option includes riding back on Forest Road 538.

Winter Park: Billed as "Mountain Bike Capital USA," Winter Park has created an impressive network of inter-connected and well-documented trails. The west side of the valley gets most of the attention, but trails on the east side deserve just as much. The described route covers both sides of the valley, and is considered an intermediate course. Other routes accommodate beginner and advanced riders with shorter and longer options. From easy, family-fun trails to the gonzo abusive "Wall of Death," there's a trail for every riding level.

Winter Park West: This side of the valley boasts the most single-track trails. One moderate and really fun route traverses the bottom portion of the trail network. From Winter Park, hop on the paved Fraser River Trail to go west on Church Park Road. Go left on Crooked Creek for 0.4 miles to catch the Northwest Passage Trail. Go right on St. Louis Creek then resume Northwest Passage. From here the trail connections are Chainsaw, Elk Meadow, D-2 and Vasquez Creek back to Winter Park. This is just one of the many available route combinations. Pick up a free trail map, available at any bike shop in town.

Corona Pass: Crossing 128 at about 4.0 miles, the historic Corona Pass Road follows the old railroad grade to the top of Rollins Pass at more than 11,000 feet. It climbs at a steady 6 percent grade past several historic sites, over high bridges and through the eye of the needle tunnel. This is a good out-and-back ride up to the Continental Divide, but can also be ridden to the east side of the Moffat Tunnel portal and into the town of Rollinsville.

Santa Fe Trail: The long and well-maintained route of the Santa Fe Trail is a prime example of trail-building cooperation between counties, municipalities and organizations. Beginning in the boundaries of the Air Force Academy, the beautiful, twisting trail meanders along Monument Creek and some interesting rock outcroppings. Short climbs and descents are easily negotiated before leveling off at about four miles. The converted train route is now flat and straight with a few hills and diversions, passing through the town of Monument and finally into lovely Palmer Lake. The path can be accessed at numerous parking areas. Well-placed historical markers lend interest to the ride as well.

Pikes Peak Greenway Trail: A recently completed trail joins the south end of the New Santa Fe Trail with the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. From the parking area at Ice Lake, go south as the new route follows Monument Creek down to Woodman Road. The existing Greenway Trail continues south through the heart of Colorado Springs to join the Fountain Creek Regional Trail. This central trail is the backbone of a vast trail system in Colorado Springs with access to numerous paved and dirt trails along the way.

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