11 Reasons to Mountain Bike in Grand County
Where can you find easy access to 600 miles of mountain biking trails just 90 minutes from Denver? From nice and mellow to pure...read more
Crystal-clear alpine lakes, verdant forests and grandiose mountain peaks mingle with gloriously blue skies in Grand County to create some of Colorado’s most iconic landscapes. There’s no better way to experience them than on two feet or two wheels — and you can't go wrong with the following tried-and-true options.
Near Grand Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Length: about 1 mile, easy
This popular loop trail is ideal for all skill levels and offers opportunities to spot some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s most famous wildlife, including moose, deer and foxes. Along the route, views of a majestic waterfall, sprawling valley and the mountains in the distance will all vie for your attention. Have your camera ready — and hike in the early morning or on weekdays to avoid heavy trail traffic.
Length: about 3 miles one way, moderate
Amble along the Colorado River through pine forests into isolated Gore Canyon, where 1,000-foot rock walls tower will above you. The route passes several campsites and pine forests and becomes steeper and narrower as it enters the canyon toward the river. Look for the railroad tracks for Amtrak’s California Zephyr, and notice how the rapids become more and more turbulent as you approach the river bank.
Near Fraser and Winter Park
Length: about 7 miles one way, difficult
Crazy-beautiful 360-degree vistas of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Gore Range make the trek to up to Byers Peak’s 12,804-foot summit worthwhile. Be prepared for the long walk to the Byers Peak Trailhead (Tip: Bike there from your car, then lock up your ride at the racks near the trailhead.) and the steep switchbacks on the first couple miles of the trail. Visit during the height of summer when the trail is peppered with wildflowers.
Multiple access points in Grand County
Length: Varies, difficult (elevation gains can be over 17,000 feet)
A true life-list worthy endeavor, the CDT stretches 3,100 miles from Canada and Mexico — with about 800 miles of the pathway winding through Colorado and more than 130 miles running through Grand County. Access points include Berthoud Pass in the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, which gives hearty hikers the opportunity to amble for about 100 miles through the remote alpine landscapes of the Never Summer and Indian Peaks wilderness areas, and Illinois Creek Trailhead in Grand Lake, leading to the 30-mile portion of the trail that travels through Rocky Mountain National Park.
Length: about 8 miles, easy
With more than 600 miles of trails and two downhill bike parks — Trestle and Bike Granby Ranch — it’s easy to understand why Winter Park has earned the nickname Mountain Bike Capital USA™. St. Louis Creek, a figure-eight loop, is a great introduction to mountain biking for families. Start at Fraser Outdoor Activity Center and traverse a mix of singletrack and roads.
Near Winter Park
Length: about 9 miles, moderate
This loop trail system is a must for bikers who love singletrack, boardwalks and creek crossings amid breathtaking sights of Winter Park and the Fraser Valley. Highlights include the Southfork, which offers fast downhill action, and Ditch Trail, which allows bikers to ride in an old irrigation ditch. Bonus: Come back in the winter, when the trail transforms into a haven for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Length: about 19 miles, difficult
Flat and flowing cruises, descents through meadows and forests, and plenty of climbs add a nice variety of terrain to the Fraser West Trail, which combines multiple routes into one longer, two-looped ride. Soak in lovely panoramas of Byers Peak and other mountains cradled by evergreen woodlands and aspen stands, which turn stunning golden hues in the fall.
Length: about 16 miles, difficult
In the scenic Stillwater Pass area adjacent to Grand Lake, this backcountry trail climbs more than 2,000 vertical feet to 11,000 feet above treeline. Those who endure the steep, thigh-burning ascents are rewarded with smooth cruises through mountain meadows and cool singletrack creek crossings. The wildflowers are stunning in the warm-weather months, and the area is also popular with hikers, campers and off-roaders.