If you are pondering your next mountain bike, gravel riding or family vacation destination then consider Snowmass! The gravel riding and mountain bike opportunities in Snowmass, Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley are like leaves falling in Vermont. Throughout the summer and fall, numerous trails, country roads and bike paths offer visitors and riders the opportunity to ride, climb and descend in one of the most iconic mountain biking areas in the United States. This is a bucket list destination for any cyclist, mountain biker or outdoor enthusiast.
IMBA Gold Standard
The Aspen Snowmass / Roaring Fork Valley IMBA Ride Center is a GOLD LEVEL Ride Center! Following an evaluation during 2019, for 2020 they are Gold. To put this into perspective, this is 1 of 5 Gold Level Ride Centers in the United States and 1 of 7 in the World. That makes it pretty special.
What is an IMBA Ride Center? The Ride Center designation represents the IMBA Model Trails Program’s recognition for large-scale mountain bike trail systems & destinations that offer something for every rider. Bring your full arsenal of bikes to these destination-worthy areas. From backcountry adventures to lift-served gravity trails, and from expert-only to family-friendly, you’ll soon learn why world-class athletes flock here.
Cross Country and Trail Riding | Mountain Biking Snowmass
This is where the area REALLY shines! With over 300 plus miles of singletrack trails and setup for riders of all levels, you will need a few days to explore. From basic asphalt trails that run from the village into Aspen to riding along ridges that will send chills up your spine, the area has you covered.
Best of all you can leave right from Snowmass village and be on singletrack in a matter of minutes. One of the more popular loops in the area seems to be the Snowmass Loop. 24 miles long and 95% singletrack this loop will take you up just under 10,000′ and challenge riders with 3,000′ of climbing. Along this loop, you will see the iconic Maroon Bells, have the ability to compare Strava segments to pro-athletes and finish up on the picturesque Tom Blake trail. Plan on 3 hours for this loop and take plenty of water and food.
Check out bike.gosnowmass.com for trail maps, ride ideas and more for mountain biking Snowmass.
The Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop
An incredible linking of Colorado classic trails, epic mountain views, and miles of fast descending await those who take on the challenge of riding 60+ miles while climbing and descending nearly 10,000 ft in the mountains surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village.
From aspen and dark timber forests to sage fields and grassy meadows bursting with wildflowers, the ever-changing landscape on this route serves as a worthy canvas for a continuous procession of modern and classic trails. From flowing on ribbons of smooth dirt, to negotiating the rock gardens of the famous local classics, finishing this ride in a day rewards those with patience, fitness, skill, and experience. Take lots of food, water and tools. Read more on MTB Project.
Road and Gravel Riding
You might need to get a couple of miles outside of the Snowmass area to ride some Colorado gravel but it won’t be far. There are a ton of road and gravel combination routes.
If you want a little more road than gravel, you can head out of Snowmass and ride to the summit of several iconic road rides, including the 28-mile climb from Snowmass Village to the top of Independence Pass (Colorado’s fourth highest paved road), at 12,095 feet above sea level. You may pass this on your way into town. Maybe the most famous road ride is the 17-mile climb from Snowmass Village up Maroon Creek Road to the iconic Maroon Bells.
Want some gravel? Check-out the 18-mile ride from Snowmass Village into Ashcroft Ghost Town; and the route from divide road through Old Snowmass for a mix of gravel and road riding – frequented by pro cyclists as a late-summer training ride.
Snowmass Bike Park
So we talk about how the cross country trails shine, well so does the Snowmass Bike Park. While pike parks are not our big thing, we’ll leave that to the folks at PinkBike, but spending the day at the park is a must-do. Sit back, ride the lifts up and scream back down some 25 miles of purpose-built downhill trails. Dropping almost 3000 vertical feet from the top of the Elk Camp Chairlift down to Snowmass Base Village will be a rush. Relax on the Gondola back up, maybe have a little lunch and do it again.
The Snowmass bike park offers a full complement of trail offerings to every level and style of mountain bike rider. From the smooth and gentle banks of the Verde trail to the technical singletrack of Animal Crackers. From being able to ride them with a 9-year-old to trails that will leave you thinking “what is wrong with that person?”
Your best bet is to check out this complete list of trails for the Snowmass Bike Park or even better yet, experience them on Aspen Snowmass’s extensive YouTube channel.
What About My Family?
Taking along the family or only able to ride a few hours a day? Tucked in among the trees and rocks are an alpine coaster, zip lines, biking trails, rope challenges, and climbing walls. There are ponds to fish in, creeks to hike along, places to enjoy nature alone or with the family. An incredibly helpful staff and passionate guides will help you find your next adventure. You’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do.
The best thing about climbing up into the hills and mountains above the Roaring Fork Valley is that after you descend on amazing trails, you’ll have your pick of post-ride activities from shopping, cold beverages, hiking, paddleboarding or even go to the local pound and take a puppy for a walk. Here on a Thursday mid-summer? Head up to Snowmass for a live music concert outdoors on the slopes while watching the sunset become starlight.
The Limelight Hotel
Inside the Snowmass Village is the Limelight Hotel, comprised of 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences. The hotel also offers ski-in/ski-out access in winter and close-to-the-gondola access in summer — all right in the heart of Snowmass Base Village.
If you are looking for a sweet, modern upscale experience then check out the Limelight Hotel right at the base of the mountain. You can ride, run and hike to pretty much all of the trails from the front door. Great food options are offered in the lounge, or venture into the village for an array of food options. Fuel up for your daily ride or adventure with their continental breakfast; you won’t leave hungry!
Other amenities include a fitness center, hot tubs, pool, green space for kids, game area and more!