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When most mountain bikers think of using a lift, such as a chairlift or a gondola, in order to ride their mountain bike, they automatically think of dropping into an intense downhill mountain bike park.
But what if you could use a lift to access flowing, intermediate-friendly cross country trails that finish with a fast, lengthy descent? That’s exactly what you’ll find at Telluride’s Mountain Village on the Prospect Trail. The free lift-accessed vert thanks to the gondola that runs from Telluride, over the top of the ridge, and down to Mountain Village, is truly free.
The Telluride gondola is possibly the only absolutely free lift in the United States that anyone can ride without a lift ticket. After taking the gondola to the top of the ridge, the Prospect Trail peels away from the main resort on flowy, machine-cut singletrack goodness.
Despite the ride to the top, this trail will still require you to work with short, steep climbs.
Those climbs pay off with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains as the singletrack crosses the ski runs.
Telluride is one of the most visually-stunning mountain towns in the United States, so bring your camera for a few snaps! Where the trail drops back into the trees, the swoop and flow of the machine-built singletrack will have you hooting and hollering as you rip along the side of the mountain. Eventually the singletrack turns down, and you get to enjoy the free lift-accessed vert on a ripping, high-speed descent.
This section of trail feels older and less refined than the machine-built singletrack up high.
Chunky rocks will punish your suspension and could challenge the skills of intermediate riders.
For those uncomfortable with the chunk, simply slowing down and negotiating this portion of trail more slowly will make the ride more attainable.
While this section is rough, there aren’t any massive features or rock obstacles. Once back down to the lift, judge how you’re feeling, and if you need more pedaling, just head back up for another lap!