By Nick Legan
When traveling to a big city there’s no reason to leave your mountain bike at home. If you find yourself near any of these places, know that your mountain bike tribe has laid the groundwork for some of the best riding you’ve never heard of. From full-blown bike parks to hidden singletrack, heading to a metropolis doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a concrete jungle. Ribbons of dirt and green spaces crisscross most urban areas.
This is just a small sampling from the biggest travel locations in the western part of the country. Many more exist in nearly every city. Finding it is often as easy as asking a local bike shop.
Home to Yeti Cycles, Spot Bikes, Proudfoot Cycles, Feedback Sports and miles of quality trails, Golden is an unheralded mecca for mountain bikers. The fact that Coors Brewing and several craft brewers are also based there is simply icing on the mountain biking cake. Founded during the Colorado gold rush along the banks of Clear Creek, the town retains a historic feel. Hotels and food are plentiful in the downtown area, a good point of origin for many of the town’s best mountain bike rides. Eric Hockman, the technical representative at Feedback Sports, pointed us to his favorite trails and eateries.
North Table Mountain Park offers a quick escape from town with fun, flowy trails and close proximity to Golden’s bike park. These are some of the least technical trails in Golden, but they still deliver big fun.
There are 20 miles of trails within the city and Apex Park sits along Lookout Mountain Road and offers just under 10 of those with incredible views. You can ride up the 2.8-mile Apex Trail from its trailhead in town, accessing Enchanted Forest Trail and others along the way. This area offers more-rugged riding, with technical rock sections. But the reward is a view of the Front Range mountains from Colorado Springs to Boulder, with the skyscrapers of Denver to the east. (On odd-numbered days, the Apex Trail is uphill only, so it’s best to hit this area on an even-numbered day).
Where to park:
North Table Mountain: The west trailhead is located on Highway 93 just north of Hog Back Drive. This is also an easy ride from town.
Apex Park: The trailhead at the base of the climb is near the intersection of West Colfax Avenue and Heritage Road. Look for the amusement park that you ride by at the start of the trail. If staying in town, ride there!
Hit Pangea Coffee Roasters downtown for a quick espresso on your way to the trails.
Golden has several cycling-themed eateries, Mountain Toad Brewing and Trailhead Taphouse among them. New Terrain Brewing Co. is attached to the Proudfoot Cycles factory and is located next to the Golden Bike Park and North Table Mountain trails.
Golden Bike Shop, the town’s full-on MTB headquarters located downtown, is your best bet for trail information and bike work.
Where to stay:
Do a bit of planning when booking your hotel and you can ride from the lobby to many of Golden’s best trails. Locals prefer to ride from downtown to escape the hassle of crowded parking lots and to get a paved warmup before the steep climbing begins. Many bike paths lead to trailheads, so riders can avoid sharing roads with cars.
Park City received IMBA’s first Gold-level Ride Center designation. With accolades like that and 450 miles of trails, the 45-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City is well worth it. It’s an outdoor community that has matured into something special. Because of the easy access to SLC and its airport, it gets big crowds, but the locals are passionate outdoorspeople, not just opportunists. While it’s no longer the sleepy town it used to be, being a resort town has its perks, as the past 20 years of trail expansion has proven.
For a decent intermediate rider, be sure to ride all or part of the iconic 22-mile Mid-Mountain Trail. It spans the valley at 8,000 feet giving views and riding that is peerless. During peak times, it’s worth hitting early in the morning to avoid congestion.
The Wasatch Crest Trail is a little more advanced, with slightly more technical terrain, but with views of both sides of the range that will drop your jaw. No lift ticket is needed for either trail if you’re willing to shuttle or pedal up to them.
Where to park:
Park at the base of the Park City Mountain Resort and climb up Armstrong Trail to intersect Mid-Mountain near its midpoint. Otherwise you can park at Deer Valley to ride the entire trail.
Parking for the Crest Trail is possible at elevation to avoid climbing from town. It’s also a great shuttle ride. Call White Pine Touring for help there.
High West Distillery & Saloon is this author’s favorite Park City spot for a stiff drink. Yippee Ki-Yay is one of their limited-release spirits, a rye whiskey that has been aged in barrels that previously held wine. Davanza’s Pizza is a quick, cheap option with PBR tallboys on offer. If you finish your ride in the Kimball Junction part of town, Park City Brewery or Maxwell’s both offer tasty victuals, the former thanks to rotating food trucks.
White Pine Touring has been in business since 1972 and can repair your bike if need be or save you the hassle of flying with a bike by renting you a Specialized, Santa Cruz, Juliana or Rocky Mountain. Eric LaPerle, manager, is happy to help with any mountain bike needs.
Where to stay:
Resorts in the area offer top-dollar lodging. If you’re looking for a more personal feel, stay at the Treasure Mountain Inn Hotel. It’s run by great people who are also avid cyclists, and it happens to be right across the street from the Wasatch Brew Pub and a 10-minute walk to High West.
We realize there are great inner-city trails everywhere. Have stories and info about your favorite urban singletrack that you’d like to share? Email [email protected] and we’ll publish a few on our website. Please include a photo (or several) and make sure the trails you write about are legal.
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