Cool crisp fall air and fewer people on the roads and trails can make biking this season some of the best you’ll experience all year. If you want to get in one more ride in the Rockies before the snow flies, here are some ideas:
Road bike options:
There are many routes to enjoy in Rocky Mountain National Park. For a challenging, but rewarding ride from YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center, head east out of the property on Hwy. 66. Use the turnaround just after the Y in the road at Hwy. 36 and head west into the park via the Beaver Meadows entrance station. Continue riding west toward Trail Ridge Road. At Deer Ridge Junction, hang a right and head downhill, through Horseshoe Park, past the beaver ponds to the Fall River Visitor Center. From there you can head back to see the views from the other direction or make it a loop and head into Estes Park for some refreshments, then up Hwy. 36 and back to YMCA of the Rockies. This route is approximately 20 miles with some decent climbing. Keep in mind the elk are rutting and the leaves are turning so the park is busy. Early morning or late afternoon are likely to be your best bets.
If you’re visiting Grand County, enjoy the beauty and avoid Hwy. 40 using County Rd. 5 between Pole Creek Golf Course and Fraser/Winter Park. Take County Rd. 5 south off of Hwy. 40 to access Pole Creek Golf Course. Parking there, head east on County Rd. 5 through rolling hills and twisting roads. At Hwy. 40 just north of Fraser, get on the bike route for a short distance, then jump on the bike trail for some safe, smooth pedaling all the way to Winter Park. Enjoy some food and beverages, then head back the way you came.
Mountain bike options:
Snow Mountain Ranch offers miles and miles of mountain bike trails, ranging from wide, easy roads to more technical single track. A day pass can be purchased for $20 at the programs building where mountain bikes are also available to rent. Day passes can be used for a variety of other activities on campus as well. Current overnight guests and members can ride for free.
For a destination ride, head out of the Snow Mountain Ranch property to access the Granby/Fraser dirt bike path at the entrance. Head west to enjoy a winding, rolling ride into Granby or east to climb and roll into Fraser.
As always, dress in layers and be prepared to stop for photo ops along the way.