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The entire family can enjoy a day of cycling. If you choose a local path in the city or want some high country trail, you will be ready. So pack up the kids, fold up the trailer and get ready to tag-a-long....read more.
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The weather in Colorado can change in no time at all: snow one day and sunshine the next. Yes even in the middle of summer and especially at altitude...read more.
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Our website was established in 2008 and we are looking forward to providing outstanding information about cycling in Colorado. Our specialty is in the area of Mountain and Road biking. We also strive to include options for family rides or for any non-riders of the family (while mom, dad, sister or brother may be enjoying their favorite road or trail). This ensures that families can recreate together in the surrounding region. Feel free to contact us at: thom@switchbackcycling.com
» Featured Rides
Early September brings new meaning to the term Gold Rush in Colorado. When the Aspens turn from green to gold you know winter is close behind. Riding in the high country of Colorado will give you rich rewards. As you pedal through amber canopies of leaves and crisp autumn days, the Colorado high country is like no place else. By now you have peaked in riding skills and ability and you are ready to continue on with serious riding. Whether on the road or singletrack, this time of year brings changes and changes fast. Snow in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon, or anything in between. So dress warm, have layers to add or subtract and get ready to roll out. Check out our featured ride, Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass
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Our Tire Talk blog is also the place for our readers to blog about ride conditions they have encountered. This will be your opportunity to contribute to the cycling community throughout the state.
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Northwest

Winter Park-Fraser

Winter Park and the Fraser River Valley

Winter Park and the Fraser River Valley are home to Mountain Bike Capital USA. Located 75 miles from Denver on Highway 40 is the heart of mountain biking. Nestled in Grand County and the Arapahoe National Forest is some of the finest biking in the state, mountain or road. {Berthoud Pass is documented below this post.} Within the region are the towns of Winter Park, Fraser, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling. Winter Park is home to the Trestle Bike Park and is well documented on this site as is SolVista Bike Park at Granby Ranch.

The Fraser Valley has over 600 miles of marked and unmarked trails that will provide great riding for the novice and/or family ride (with trailer in tow) to the all day epic rides that will test skill and endurance of the fittest. The best and most well traveled route for families is the Fraser River Trail, at just over five miles in length. This paved trail is a point to point from Winter Park resort to the town of Fraser, or vice/versa. I prefer the Winter Park to Fraser route, its downhill with an elevation loss of just over 500 ft. It is well marked and pleasantly follows the Fraser River itself, passing beaver dams and beautiful scenes of nature. Wildlife encounters are always possible. There are benches and restrooms along with information plaques about the area to educate your group about the surroundings. This is a popular trail for runners and inline skaters also so keep to the right and allow passing on the left. An abundant amount of the trail is covered by evergreens but most is exposed to sun and wind, so be sure to have water and sunscreen on board. There are many other options that the family can enjoy on the dirt that are easily accessible by car and foot. Most dirt roads accommodate bikes and pedestrian traffic.

Now for two wheeled off road biking. Mountain biking here can last hours and the trail will seem endless. The trails that are marked are well traveled and in great shape all season long. Winter Park taps into these in its race series on occasion. Trail length varies, some as little as 1.5 to over 17 miles. Ridden as loops, out and back or in point to point, the combinations are endless. Some of the most popular are the Flume Trail, Blue Sky, WTB, Elk Meadow, Creekside, Chainsaw, Sunken Bridge, Twin Bridges, and Tipperary Creek. Elevation gain and loss can be well over 1,000 ft so be prepared.

It is quite advantageous to grab a map at the Chamber of Commerce, located across from McDonalds. Also, there are some good bike shops that rent bikes and are willing to give insight. In The Village located at the base of the resort your best bets are the Trestle Bike Park rental shop or Bike Source. Each will offer great tips and trails to explore. Many trails from the resort can take you to the Fraser Valley without having to buy lift passes and are great point to point rides. When in Fraser, don’t miss Totally Wired Cyclery, this bike shop is something to see. “Bikes on Caffeine” is their motto and they live up to it quite well. While planning your adventure at the shop, you can have great cup of coffee with a snack or gnash on some great treats at Rocky Mountain Roastery (they share common space together). In addition, wireless internet is available for all of you who need to be continuously connected.

Winter Park: Trestle Bike Park (TBP)






Type: Mountain Bike
Base elevation: 9,000 ft.
Lift served elevation: 10,700 ft.
Highest accessible elevation: 11,200 +
Distance: seemingly endless*

Winter Park is known around ski country as “Colorado’s Favorite”. It also known in the summertime as Mountain Bike Capitol USA, a name it not only lives up to, but exceeds in all aspects. The mountain is home to over 28 miles of lift served free ride terrain with new trails being added annually. Trestle Bike Park (TBP) is the newest addition to the resort: adding jumps, big drops, and elevated stunts. Winter Park is also home to Crankworx Colorado showcasing slope style, dual slalom and UCI downhill racing events. It is in its 5th year and 2012 won’t disappoint. The bike park is accessed by the Zephyr and Olympia lifts. Once you are on top of the mountain the choices are endless. There is a summer season pass available for 2011 for $249(ages 13 years and up), also a junior pass( 12 years and under for $129). The daily pass is only 37 dollars. TBP has an awesome fleet of bikes featuring manufacturers such as Kona, Santa Cruz, Yeti, Trek, Specialized, Scott and Cove. Also offered are full face helmets and body armor for additional cost. TBP has gone all out with trail design to keep things flowing, incorporating natural and manmade features. TBP has made it possible for all riders to enjoy the endless riding. Don’t be fooled, there is some expert terrain that is worth the Double Black Diamond rating and not for the novice. If you need some coaching, TBP has that covered too. TBP 101 will get you rolling with your most basic skills check and coach you all the way to the pro level . Riding at the Park, as it is known to the locals is nothing short of breathtaking. Reaching elevations of over 11,200 ft. you are sure to test your fitness ability. There are endless combinations of descending this mountain. Some of the trails are “downhill only” allowing you to rip it up if you choose. If lung burning climbs are your bag, access is no problem by following some sweet singletrack to the summit and tearing your way down.

Winter Park is also home to some of the finest mountain bike racing anywhere. The Epic Singletrack Series is a huge success with over 300 riders from all abilities from beginner to Pro week after week. With seven races per season, you’ll be sure to find one you will like. Each year it starts with the annual Hill Climb Kick Off- if you’re not in race shape you will know it when you summit over 2,000 ft later. After the Hill Climb race, they offer cross country race courses that challenge every level. Most races begin and end at the resort itself; however, they have linked their courses to the Fraser Valley and sometimes end away from the ski area. The Fraser Valley is home to over 600 miles of marked and unmarked trails. The Tipperary Creek Race has been named as a Top 10 XC course in the USA. Some of the routes are snowmobile and XC skiing trails while others are pure Colorado singletrack. At the base of Winter Park, there is even a pump track for all ages, (helmets required) that is free. Winter Park also has great activities, like an Alpine Slide, miniature golf, bungee/trampoline, a maze, zip line, gold panning and lift served hiking opportunities. You can also chair up to the Lodge at Sunspot located at the top of the Zephyr Express for a high altitude lunch.

Once in the Valley, you are able to camp just about anywhere and enjoy the tranquility of your own forest. Plan your next ride from the solitude of your campsite if you so desire. In addition, the Winter Park base area and the town of Winter Park offer very affordable rates for rooms and many outstanding locally owned eating and drinking establishments.


Winter Park to Berthoud Pass: 11,307 ft.

Type: Road Ride
Start elevation: 9,000 ft.
End elevation: 9,000 ft.
Total climb: 2,307 ft.
Distance: 24 - Total miles out and back





The Town of Winter Park is host to numerous activities year round and cycling to or from Winter Park is definitely one of them. The ride that is a must do travels from downtown to the summit of Berthoud Pass along HWY 40. While pedaling along the highway you will find the shoulder has plenty of room for the cyclist to enjoy the approaching Continental Divide. In early summer you will hear the sounds of water cascading from the blanket of snow left at winter seasons end, before it tunnels under the road surface. Wildlife may be encountered including deer, marmots, and the occasional moose. Watch out for some loose gravel and rocks that may have slid down from the embankments. Don't worry they are easy to spot. Once you have reached the summit, take in the grandeur that you now rise above. You will see the trails of the old Berthoud Pass Ski Area on either side. Although the lifts are long gone, you are still able to hike up for a little back country skiing. Now that you have caught your breath, you may want to put on a jacket or some arm warmers for the fast switchback laden descent. Going down the pass is quite a rush, so hold on tight because pedaling may seem optional till the last curve. When the road flattens out you will have a gentle downhill grade back to town. Now that your head is clear, keep your eyes on the road and your thoughts on the family fun you will be having back in town.

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Do you know of a great ride that is not listed with us? Have a great ride story? Know of a great town for family fun?
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