Colorado Mountain Biking

Best in the World?

Writing a page on Colorado Mountain Biking can be a little humbling. How many trails are there in the state of Colorado? How long would it take one person to ride all these trails?

While I have limited experience riding Colorado trails ... I can reflect on the ones I have done. Overall I have found the mountain biking to be incredible, beautiful, and diverse. Crested Butte ... high meadow flowers, Durango ... riding through thick forest, Grand Junction ... technical rock riding, etc.

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Do you have some Colorado Mountain Biking Information to share? Can you tell our readers about some of the areas I have yet to visit? Can you suggest some trails for all of us to try? You can share that information with us here.

From the dry, desert like conditions of Fruita, to the high mountain wildflower fields of Crested Butte, I have found Colorado Mountain Biking to be the best ... anywhere.

Crested Butte Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Hall of Fame and Museum

In addition to laying claim to the top mountain trails in the world, Colorado also houses the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame ... and most likely was the location of the very first mountain biking event.

In 2009 I got to go on a fabulous 4-day, Colorado Hut-to-Hut mountain bike trip called the Tabeguache. We started the trip by getting shuttled from low lying Fruita, to the top of the Uncompahgre Plateau, which sits along the western edge of Colorado.

Mountain Bike Trail Map

The map below shows the extent of my Mountain Biking in Colorado. By clicking on an icon you will get the name and location of the ride, an option to link to the ride's Story Page, or get driving directions to the trailhead.

Overall the terrain for this trip started out as thickly forested highlands, then passed down canyons to prairie type grasslands, and finally ended up in desert-like conditions near the Gateway Resort. This trip alone would convince any biker of the high quality of Colorado Mountain Biking.

Biking the Uncompahgre Plateau
Drew and Caleb on Divide Forks Trail

In the summer of 2010 Cindy and I traveled to Durango, Gunnison, and Crested Butte Colorado. Each of these areas offered terrain much different than the others.

Durango to Silverton Railroad Durango to Silverton Railroad

Durango is a beautiful city split in half by the Animas River. The city itself offers many places to ride ... with its many river parks, pedestrian bridges, and river side bike paths. The city also boasts arguabley the best train ride in the western United States. Any biker going to Durango has to take a day off from biking and ride the train, especially if you are traveling with your wife or girlfriend

Colorado Trail Southwestern Endpoint Southwestern Endpoint of the Colorado Trail

While in Durango I got the chance to ride the Horse Gulch and Overend trails, and also the southern end of the 483-mile Colorado Trail. The highlight was the Colorado Trail, which starts near Denver and ends in Durango (or vice-versa depending on the direction of travel). I was not able to do the Hermosa Creek Ride as it was flooded out the week we were there. The Overend and Horse Gulch areas were both a small system of trails adjacent to the town of Durango.

Southern View from Gudy's Rest on the Colorado Trail
Mountain Bike View from Gudy's Rest

Both these systems were fun, yet not what I would picture if asked to think about Colorado Mountain Biking. For an overview of the riding in this area click: Durango Mountain Biking.

We came across a pleasant surprise in Gunnison. At the recommendation of the worker in the Tourist Information Center in town I decided to give Hartman Rocks a try. The conditions there were high desert ... chaparral, sand, decomposed granite, and rock, with just enough cactus to keep me honest. This BLM trail system of over 200-miles was well marked, and well maintained. Occasionally the singletrack dropped into a ravine ... where this mountain biker was treated to a grove of tightly bunched aspens.

Typical Beaver Pond in Colorado
Deadman's Gulch Trail Beaver Pond

I got to ride here for a few hours ... I could have spent several days engaged in this type of Colorado Mountain Biking!

When I was planning a trip to Colorado I wanted to go to the area with the best trails. I found a site that asked readers to rank their favorite Colorado Mountain Biking trails. With such a large state, so many trails, and so many mountain bikers, no wonder their were so many different opinions as to the top trail. Despite the discrepancy as to the best trail, there were some trends.

Colorado ... Breathtaking Views
Gothic Valley-Crested Butte, Colorado

I noticed that many of the highly ranked trails were from a place called Crested Butte. In head-to-head comparisons, Crested Butte trails were consistently chosen over others. So I decided to go to Crested Butte and try some of those trails.

Waist High Wildflowers!
Crested Butte-Dyke Wildflowers

What I found was (arguably) the best collection of mountain biking singletrack in the United States, maybe the entire world.

These rides all headed out to higher country, which looked like it belongs in the Alps. Crested Butte's nickname is "Wildflower Capital of Colorado." Riding a singletrack ribbon through these fields of wildflowers helped convince me Colorado Mountain Biking is the best!

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  1. North Umpqua Trail
    -Roseburg, Oregon
  2. Wasatch Crest
    -Park City, Utah
  3. Trail 401
    -Crested Butte, CO
  4. Flume Trail
    -Lake Tahoe, Nev
  5. Gooseberry Mesa
    -Hurricane, Utah
  6. Horsethief Bench
    -Fruita, CO
  7. Rock Creek Canyon
    -Mammoth, CA
  8. Noble Canyon
    -San Diego, CA
  9. Cathedral Rock
    -Sedona, Az
  10. Ute Creek
    -Grand Junction, CO
  11. Sunset Trail
    -Flagstaff, Az

Timely Tip




Who's Joe?

Joe Unden

That's me, Joe Unden, your guide on this site. Since 2005 my favorite activity has been mountain biking. In 2011 I decided I wanted to share my biking experiences with others online, to make it easier for people to learn about the trails I love.

You can learn more about me and what has led to this site here.

And, if you've got a mountain biking question you want to ask me, feel free to use the button below.