Where to Downhill Bike in Colorado?
By Emily Krempholtz
This might surprise you, but with all these mountains at our disposal, downhill sports are kind of Colorado’s thing. In the winter, we flock to ski resorts to hit the slopes, but in the summer, when the snow melts, many of these resorts switch gears and become a haven for downhill mountain biking. Mountain biking offers the opportunity to feel the wind rush past your face as you fly down hills as well as an opportunity for the mental challenge that comes with navigating obstacles and technical features like berms, boardwalks, and jumps. Here are some of the resorts and bike parks in Colorado that offer an opportunity for adrenaline on your bike this summer.
Snowmass Bike Park
Snowmass Bike Park offers over 3,000 vertical feet of bike trails that extend for over 50 miles of epic terrain. The forests and meadows look completely different than they do when the slopes are covered in snow, and the trails have a variety of terrains and difficulties. If you’re looking for a real challenge, check out the three Vs—Viking, Vapor, and Valhalla—which offer a ton of fun technical challenges. There are only seven IMBA Gold-level Ride Centers in the world, and Snowmass Bike Park is one of them. To reach the bike park, take the Elk Camp Chairlift up to Snowmass Base Village.
Trestle Bike Park
You might recognize the name Trestle as the home of Colorado’s annual Freeride Festival, which is the largest freeride MTB competition in the United States. Located in Winter Park, you can ride the trails at Trestle for just $45, where you’ll gain access to their 40+ miles of awesome trails for any skill level. Reservations for Trestle need to be booked at least 48 hours in advance, so make sure to plan ahead before heading out to Winter Park.
Keystone Bike Park
Keystone routinely ranks in the top five for MTBparks.com’s Rider’s Choice park in Colorado. With 34 impeccably maintained trails that feature both gentle and steep descents, berms, rock gardens, jumps, and a huge wooden feature known as “the Yacht,” Keystone Bike Park has over a hundred miles of singletrack where everyone from beginners to professionals will find something to love. They even have an instructional program for all ages, as well as camps for kids.
NOTE: Keystone, as well as all other Vail Resorts Bike Parks (such as Vail Bike Park and Evolution @ Crested Butte) are closed until further notice due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned though, because like many other resorts in Colorado, they are hoping to open at some point.
Copper Mountain Bike Park
Though for a while their season was up in the air, on July 4 Copper Mountain Bike Park finally opened for the summer, though they are enforcing some strict COVID-19 regulations to keep everyone safe as they fly down the trails. You can take the Woodward Express chair lift daily to the top of the mountain between 10am and 4pm, or ride the service roads if you prefer to ride uphill, though be warned, you’ll be heading up steep grades at 11,000 to 12,000 feet.
Powderhorn Bike Park
Powderhorn, located about 40 miles east of Grand Junction in Mesa, has a good mix of trails for beginners and advanced riders, with multiple tracks on some trails that are of various difficulties, so if you’re a beginner riding with a more advanced friend, you won’t have to worry about feeling left behind or holding them back. Powderhorn’s location also means winter arrives there much later than some of the other downhill bike parks at higher elevations, so the season is much longer. It’s not uncommon for riders to still get some great biking in as late as October.
Purgatory Bike Park
Back in 1990, Purgatory Bike Park was the home of the inaugural World Mountain Bike Championships, which should give you an idea about how great their trails and terrain are for mountain biking. Trails at Purgatory feature everything from berms, tabletops, boardwalks, and rollable downhill terrain that’s a blast to ride no matter what your skill level. It’s also home to some of the steepest tracks out there, with some intense terrain that is constantly being maintained and modernized.
Beaver Creek Bike Park
Beaver Creek is an exception to the closure of most of Vail Resorts’ bike parks this summer. As of July, Beaver Creek is open to riders, and though they don’t have as many mountain bike only trails as some of the other downhill biking destinations on this list, it’s still a beautiful place to go for a ride, and is great for beginners or those looking for a more gentle experience.
Telluride Bike Park
The mountain bike trails at Telluride can be reached via the Village Express Chairlift. Riders will find four beginner and intermediate trails, which are brand new and expertly maintained, as well as the older but no less fun advanced trails with their technical features and challenges.
Downhill Biking in 2020
These eight bike parks are just a handful of the options Colorado has to offer. re are a ton of other great bike parks in Colorado, but not all of them are open this summer. Many, like Vail Resorts, are remaining closed for safety reasons to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but may open later in the summer if it’s deemed safe. Some resorts, like Steamboat, have already announced that they will not be opening in the summer of 2020 at all. On the other side of that coin, any of the parks listed above might close at a moment’s notice if the pandemic worsens again, so be sure to check their websites and call ahead for more information if you’re not sure.