Northwest - Vail
Vail Mountain Resort
Type: Mountain Bike
Base elevation: 8,200 ft.
Highest elevation: 11,250 ft.
Vertical drop: over 3,000 ft.
Total climb: what ever you can handle.
Vail Colorado has a motto: "there's no comparison". This slogan doesn't limit Vail to its skiing, real estate, 5 star or 5 diamond accommodations. No, there is more to Vail.... Once the snow melts and exposes the ground to the suns rays, Vail explodes with vibrant color from the green aspen trees to a full spectrum of wildflowers and the area turns into a summer destination for high country enthusiasts. Home too many weekly and annual summer events the on mountain happenings are nearly endless.
Vail is loaded with trails for every member of the group- from the novice to the true pro. There is lift accessed terrain for all to enjoy. If riding to the top is your thing, you can also achieve this. Some trails are uphill specific, hiking only and downhill only. Please refer to trail maps. The '94 Downhill trail is a must ride for the seasoned rider. Used during the 1994 World Cup that was held at Vail, it has been maintained for the wildest of the bunch. Other must ride trails include the Grand Traverse from Eagles Nest located mid mountain at an elevation of 10,350 ft. This trail is truly one to ride and intermediate riders on up should be able to handle this. Distance is only 5.3 miles of beautiful single track and will expose the rider to the back bowls of Vail with views that are sure to astound all. Mid Vail Escape has some sweet singletrack with views of the Gore Range and 2.2 miles of singletrack. Lion Down is an all downhill ride featuring singletrack and doubletrack options. At 6 miles in length, this trail will not disappoint. This ride starts at the Eagles Nest / Adventure Ridge complex at mid mountain. There are so many ways to ride the mountain that it could take hours to complete. Bike rentals are available in the Vail Village or Lionshead at reasonable rates.
Located on the back side of Vail, home to the Back Bowls that always impress the winter sports enthusiasts, some little known trails exist. They are well marked and will have you leaving the ski area requiring a shuttle from nearby Minturn or an uphill return. Two Elks Trail and Commando Run will expose you to some of the best singletrack in the White River National Forest. Well marked, maintained, and traveled you will need to be prepared with food and water. Part of the U. S. Forest Service, maps are available if needed. There are more than 30 miles of additional riding back here so prepare your self for anything. The trail has great cover with trees sheltering you from the sun and potential weather that can move in at a moments notice. The singletrack is awesome. This area may also be accessed from I70 at the Vail Pass summit. Parking is available for shuttling into Minturn and on Vail pass itself.
Copper Triangle - Copper Mountain, Leadville, and Vail Pass.
Type: Road Ride
Start elevation: 9,700 ft.
Highest elevation: 11,318 ft: Fremont Pass.
Total climb: 5,981 ft.
Total distance: 78 miles.
The Copper Triangle is also known as the Colorado Classic. The organized ride is in its 5th year now. The course has been around for years and travels over some of the best road riding Colorado has to offer. Starting from the parking lot of Copper Mountain Ski Resort which is located at I70 and HWY 91 (between the town of Frisco and east of Vail Pass), the route ascends. Travel south or up HWY 91 toward Leadville. There is just enough shoulder room for cars to pass in the beginning of the ride and then the road opens up quite nicely. Remember to stay single file if in a group. You will find yourself gently ascending up to Fremont Pass at an elevation of 11,318 ft, the highest point of this ride. Along the way you will encounter some beautiful alpine views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. You will also notice some of the historic mine relics along the way. Once you have reached the summit of Fremont Pass, the west or south side, the head waters of the Arkansas River begin to travel south from the melting winter blanket. This is a fast descent with plenty of shoulder room leaving you the ability to enjoy the speed and views. The road levels out some and you can spin your way to Leadville. There are plenty of places to refill your water bottles or get a sports drink in your tank. From Leadville, take HWY 24 towards Ski Cooper and the town of Minturn. This section of road has minimum traffic and a wide shoulder. You will climb to Tennessee Pass at an elevation of 10,424 ft. Here you should take a moment to honor the 10th Mountain Division Memorial at the summit. Once you are back in the clips, continue on HWY 24 along the Eagle River towards Minturn. Remnants of Colorado's mining history will again greet you as you descend into town. While you're in Minturn, you may need to refuel for the final climb over Vail Pass and there are plenty of options here. At the edge of town, you will find the bike path that leads eastward to Vail traveling next to I70. Cross the bridge and proceed into Vail. The path turns to road through West Vail, Vail, and East Vail sections. On the east end, it becomes the path again and crosses under the interstate and is then on the north side of I70. The ascent up the path is wonderful as it traverses the Gore Range rising above the valley floor. The path is very well maintained and safe. At the top of Vail Pass, an elevation of 10,666 ft, there is a rest area where you will find water and restrooms. The descent towards Copper Mountain is fabulous. The path travels between east and west bound I70 in a basin along a creek. The path, also know as the Ten Mile Canyon Recreational Trail, will take you directly in to the west end of Copper Mountain Resort and turns into Beeler Pl. You can ride Beeler or stay on the path to your vehicle or lodging. Copper has many fine eating establishments at the base. Minturn offers some fine home grown food as well, and Vail to the west or Frisco to the east will offer more than enough to satisfy and cyclists post ride cravings.