Aspen and the surrounding area provide spectacular and sometimes quite challenging terrain for mountain and road bikers. You will want to keep in mind, a good part of Aspen is comprised of wilderness area – The list below will provide you with information for available rides. You can also call the local Forest Service office at 970-925-3445 or visit the National Forest website. Keep in mind: Mechanized vehicles are not allowed within the Wilderness boundaries and this includes Mountain Bikes –
Recommended Mountain Bike Rides
Smuggler Mountain Road – Follow Neal Street to King Street to Park Street to Smuggler Mountain Road where the trip begins. At the fork in the road (approximately 1 ½ miles), take a left. This road travels uphill for one and a half miles to the Smuggler Observation Deck. Going left will connect you with an entire network of trails: Smuggler Mountain Road to Hunter Creek Trail andSmuggler Mountain Road to Lenado Trail.
Rio Grande Trail – This trail begins behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Street. The first two miles are paved. The trail then crosses Cemetery Lane becoming a dirt trail at that point. The trail proceeds northwest to Woody Creek. For more information on this trail and a map please visit Lay Some Tread. (EASY) We recommend biking to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch in our Day to Defy Ordinary Itinerary.
Sunnyside Trail – The trail begins on Cemetery Lane. Follow Cemetery Lane from Hwy 82 where the road crosses the Roaring Fork River. Approximately ¼ mile beyond this point, you will see the trail beginning on the right.
Brush Creek Trail – The trail begins behind the tennis courts on Maroon Creek Road. It crosses Buttermilk Mountain and finishes in Snowmass. As this trail crosses private property, it is VERY important that bikers stay on the trail only. Failure to do so could jeopardize future use of this trail.
Mountain Biking Essentials list
Spare Tubes or a Patch Kit
Even if you’ve gone tubeless, I usually have at least one tube and patch kit in my pack on a long ride. It’s a little quicker and easier to replace a tube than patching a tube on the trail. If the popped tube is worth salvaging, I’ll patch it up later when I get home from the ride.
You can’t fix a flat tire without a pump. I use the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Pump because it’s very small and lightweight, but still powerful enough that it won’t tire you out just pumping up your tube. Or for an even more minimalist and time-saving option, a CO2 inflator is worth checking out. I’d recommend keeping a couple of full cartridges on hand if you’re going this route.
You can assemble your own, or pick up a pre-assembled kit. At minimum, it should include the following:
- Tire levers
- Allen wrenches
- Bike-specific multi-tool
- Chain tool. A multi-tool does in a pinch, but if you need it, you’ll be glad to have the specific tool. And speaking of chains …
- A few links of chain and a quick-link
First Aid Kit
You’ll probably need it when you don’t have it. Keeping a bike-specific first aid kit stowed away in your pack enables you to be at least somewhat prepared for the unexpected. One item that has come in handy time and time again is a towel. I like to throw a couple Lightload Towel pucks into my pack. They are as the name implies light 0.01 lbs, they take up almost no space and are surprisingly durable. Check them out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-iPiqGQ0c
On a long ride, one setback can leave you racing to beat sundown. A headlamp or handlebar light is good to throw in the pack. If I know I’ll be cutting it close, I’ll bring my NiteRider Pro 1200 along for the ride.
As many of us know from staring at forecasts all winter long, the weather won’t always turn out how you expect. When heading out on that all day ride, there are a few things I always try to carry with me.
Extra Layer or Jacket
A long sleeve jersey or a light cycling jacket with a bit of weather defense is a good choice. Depending on where you ride you may opt for more or less wind or water protection. For my longer rides I like to pack my Norrona Fjora Aero 100 Jacket because it is lightweight, packable, and breathable, yet still provides enough protection for the random storm.
Are you expecting a little mud or water on your ride? Socks are easy to throw in the pack and would be nice to change into on your lunch break or when things dry out.
It seems like every time I forget my gloves, I crash and cut up my hands. Keep them in your pack so you don’t make the mistake I’ve made too many times!
Even if it’s not a sunny day, glasses with clear or light-colored lenses are essential protection, coming in handy when you roll through a cloud of gnats or are banging through an overgrown trail. No-slip nosepads and grippy temples on sunglasses are kind of a must so they’re not slipping or bouncing around on your face. Interchangeable or, better still, photochromic lenses are ideal for changing light conditions over the course of a long ride.
Hydration packs are the best option for these long rides. But if you already have a regular pack and aren’t looking to get a new one, you can do what I did and just purchase a hydration bladder separately. For long rides, you’re probably going to want a three-liter one.
To go all day, it’s good to have more than just water. An extra water bottle with a Skratch Labs mix will keep you replenished and less fatigued so you don’t get sloppy at the end of the trail.
Aside from packing a sandwich for lunch, energy bars are good to throw in the pack. I usually bring a couple Clif Bars with me, but protein bars and energy gels will also keep you pedaling.
Your pack is stocked and ready to go, but there’s always that off chance you’ll need to get creative to in order to make it down the trail. Zip ties are at the top of the list when it comes to bike gear hacks—they’re small, lightweight, and can be used to fix all kinds of things—like busted derailleur hangers, flapping fenders, and broken shoelaces—well enough to get you down from the mountain.
Be sure to bring along the other gear hack hall of famer, duct tape. If a zip tie can’t fix it, duct tape probably can, from sticking things onto your bike to bracing or splinting injured body parts like wrists or ankles. There’s no need to weigh down your pack with a huge 60-yard roll; bring along one of these emergency-sized rolls or wind 4-5 feet around a golf pencil or small stick and throw it in with the rest of your gear.
My own personal don’t-leave-home-without-it item is my wallet. And not only for the obvious access to emergency funds; a business card tucked into my wallet once came in handy on a ride on the Wasatch Crest Trail. After a second flat on the same tire, I discovered a small slash in the sidewall (the replacement tube blew out because of that hole). It was a long way back in either direction, so we needed a quick fix. I took the card out of my wallet (which I just happened to have with me), folded it up, and placed it on the inside of the tire against the slashed sidewall. I aired up the second tube inside of that, and it held for the remainder of the ride. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to bring my wallet along instead of leaving it in the car, because it just might save the day.