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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, beginner-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 Village 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, this route begins on the Prospect Trail, before a quick right turn onto the Village Trail.
The Village Trail is quite beginner friendly with almost no climbing, and non-technical, flowy singletrack. The upper stretches of machine-cut singletrack swoop and flow predictably along the mountainside for about a mile, before dumping out onto a fast descent down an access road.
Where the singletrack picks up lower down the mountain, a few more roots and small rocks will greet the rider, but the challenge is welcome after the easy cruising up high. After connecting on a stretch of pavement, the final section of singletrack could be a little rough for some beginners.
But for the intrepid riders who brave this section, the flowy, big berms and beautiful stretches of dark black dirt will more than make up for the slight challenge from the roughness.