10 of the Best Mountain Bike Trails in Colorado

Rounding up 10 of the very best trails in one of the best regions for mountain biking on planet Earth.

Mountain Biking Moderate, Difficult, Severe

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The 804 Loop, Crested Butte, CO. Rider: Greg Heil
The 804 Loop, Crested Butte, CO. Rider: Greg Heil Photo: Marcel Slootheer

Description

If you analyze mountain bike destinations not just on a local level (or a state level, or a national level), but if you actually compare areas of the world on a global scale, you'll quickly realize that only a handful of regions truly have what it takes to rank as one of the world's best mountain bike destinations.

If I had to assemble a list of the top five regions globally that provide premiere mountain bike trail access, Colorado would no doubt be near the top of the list. My other choices for a top 5 list? British Columbia, New Zealand's South Island, Switzerland (or the Alps more generally, if a region that big still counts), and Scotland. When it comes to the Colorado Rockies, any claims made about the state, or any comparison leveled between destinations… Colorado can compete.

Colorado boasts some of the best mountain bike trail access on planet earth. Thousands of miles of singletrack trails run through the soaring peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the low deserts, the foothills, the verdant valleys, and the suburban parks of the Front Range megalopolis. The average quality of the singletrack is staggeringly high, with dozens of epic rides that will make you think, "this might just be the best mountain bike trail I've ever ridden in my entire life!"

While Colorado does offer deserts and foothills and valleys, it's best-known for its high altitude singletrack strung across some of the tallest peaks on the continent. Pedaling through high alpine tundra, meadows filled with wildflowers, or even ripping down the slopes of a 14,000-foot mountain peak, is all par for the course in Colorado and somehow even becomes commonplace.

If you were to take one of Colorado's mediocre high-alpine rides, one that gets a consistent review of "eh, it's ok, but have you heard about THIS TRAIL!" and transplant it into any other mountain bike destination in the world, it would likely be one of the best trails in that destination. So when the bar for singletrack quality in Colorado is set so incredibly high, it takes some serious chops to qualify as a top trail.

With that high bar in mind, I present to you 10 of the very best trails in the state of Colorado. There's plenty of room for debate on this list, and again, there are hundreds of world-class mountain bike rides in Colorado. But if you're looking for a hitlist to get you started, a best-of-the-best list to guide you as you explore this epic state, begin your quest with the incredible mountain bike trails found in this guidebook!

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