Mountain Biking--Vail Valley Advanced Trails
Commando Run: Up to 50 miles. Commando Run trail has two routes that intersect with myriad path options. One route goes up Mushroom Run on Vail Mountain in Lionshead. Bikers should ride up Eagle’s Nest and then take Grand Traverse to Two Elk, continuing up to the top of Chair 12, scaling through a crack in a rock wall to the left side. To get to the rock wall, cyclists will ride down a single-track path until it dead-ends at the rock wall. The ride is about two hours. There is a section where cyclists must hike-bike up to the rock wall, which is about 25 feet in height. At the top of the rock wall, the trail continues east to Benchmark, the highest point on Vail Mountain. Riders who head east at the top of the rock wall will come to a fork. The fork to the left trails down Mushroom Run and drops off to Village Trail to Golden Peak. The fork to the right intersects with Two Elk Trail. At Two Elk Trail, riders can choose between two more routes. Two Elk to the west on the right side takes riders into Minturn. The ride is about 12 miles on a single-track route. Two Elk to the east on the left side takes riders back down to Interstate 70 in about 2.7 miles. Or, riders can climb up Benchmark and descend down Mill Creek Road to the town of Vail on a double-track trail. The routes on this trail are endless. Cyclists also have the option of heading toward China Bowl and then climbing back out and riding through Vail Mountain. Directions: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Vail Exit 176. Turn right onto South Frontage Road and park in the Lionshead parking lot.
Cougar Ridge: Cougar Ridge begins on top of Eagle’s Nest. Ride east 0.15 miles to access the Grand Traverse trail. Turn right and ride 2.0 miles of rolling terrain that contours around the inside of Game Creek Bowl. The trail then travels along the spine of Sundown Bowl before coming to the intersection with Cougar Ridge. Stay right and head west toward the descent. There will be one short climb before the downhill begins along a steep and rutted road. The route traverses back and forth several times before reaching the bottom. Turn left at the intersection with the Game Creek trail. The ride ends at Game Creek Trailhead. Directions: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Exit 176 Vail. Go west to the Lionshead parking structure. Ride up Vail Mountain to Eagle’s Nest to start the ride.
Meadow Mountain: 12 miles. Start riding at the south end of the Meadow Mountain parking lot. Ride through the gate and up the doubletrack road. Enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains from the lower meadows. At 2.7 miles there will be an intersection of FS 747 and FS 748. Stay right and continue on FS 748 (aka Line Shack). The road continues to climb upward for another 2.2 miles to a Forest Service hut. The last part of this section before the hut will be steep. Look for the Whiskey Creek trail (FS #2348) just behind the hut to the west. Enjoy the 3.46 mile descent through aspen groves and open meadows down to the drier oak brush hillsides above Eagle-Vail. The trail ends just above a box culvert that goes under I-70. Turn right and shoot down the hill through the culvert to access Hwy 6. Turn right and ride 3.0 miles back to the start of the ride at the Meadow Mountain parking lot. Directions: Drive Interstate 70 west to Exit 171 Minturn. Turn right and drive southeast towards Minturn on US Highway 24. Look for the Meadow Mountain parking lot on the right.
Red and White: 11.4 miles. The Red and White trail is a day-long ride for families in search of playing with their 4WD off-road skills. The road trail is graded with washboard in which riders need to be cautious at times. At the trailhead, riders will notice a decrease in traffic but riders must remain on the main road. At times, the road can be muddy. After the first 2-3 miles, riders will come across an intersection, and after turning right, riders will travel over Muddy Pass, and then veer left down through June Creek. Muddy Pass is slightly more difficult but if riders stay on the path close to town, the ride will be only about an hour more. Directions: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Vail Village Exit 176, heading west on the frontage road for about 1 mile. Turn right at Piney Lake and Red Sandstone Road. Take the road another mile following it to the right as it makes a half-turn. Continue up the mountain. At Piney River Ranch, follow a dirt road to a fork and turn right. Red and White Road Creek or Muddy Pass can be accessed from here.
Buffehr Creek: 16 miles. Start at Lost Lake Trailhead and ride south for a short distance on FS 700 to FS 734. Turn right and follow the road for about 1.75 miles to another fork. Look for the Buffehr Creek Trail sign. Riders will turn left here and follow the road as it changes from doubletrack to single-track. The single-track descends through thick trees and heads toward an open meadow. Riders will continue downhill, under power lines and back onto a road. Riders will then travel through more trees as the road turns into doubletrack. The start of the doubletrack is marked with Forest Service signs. Eventually, the route intersects with the North Trail and begins a loose and rocky descent. Riders should take care as they make a right handed switchback in the middle of this section. Reaching the bottom, riders will cross Buffehr Creek and traverse around some beaver ponds to another intersection with the North Trail. From here, riders can exit straight to the Buffehr Creek Trailhead or continue right on the North Trail towards Davos. Directions: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Exit 176 Vail. Head west on North Frontage Road and turn right on Red Sandstone Road, FS 700. Drive 3.25 miles to the junction of FS 700 and FS 786. Stay left and continue 3.8 miles on FS 700 to the Lost Lake Trailhead. Parking is available here.
Paulie’s Plunge: Most people warm up by riding from the Elk Lot to Centennial Lift at the base of Beaver Creek. From here, start the ride on Cinch. Ride up the hill toward Allie’s Cabin. After passing it, riders will come across a series of switchbacks. At the second left bend look for a red box on the left, off the road. Paulie’s Plunge starts here. Be ready for a technical ride right away as riders are tossed into a rutted descent with quick turns and obstacles. The single-track eventually mellows out and riders will enjoy the rest of the descent through dense forest and swooping turns. After crossing Stone Creek bridge, the trail turns rocky for a brief time. Soon after, follow the trail left and descend into a small gully. At the next intersection, stay to the right and finish the ride on easy single-track that ends in the cul-de-sac on Eagle Drive. Follow this road back to Highway 6. Return to the start by riding the highway back to Beaver Creek. Directions: Drive on Interstate 70 to Exit 167 Avon. Go south along Avon Road, turn right on Highway 6 and park in the Elk Lot for Beaver Creek.
Beaver Creek Challenge: The Beaver Creek Challenge is 1 1/2 hours of steep climbing and 1 hour of descending. Start at the Beaver Creek Elk Lot. From the parking lot, ride to the main entrance of Beaver Creek by following the line of country flags. Pick up the bike path along Village Road and continue riding up towards the village. You will ride under the Elkhorn chair lift and past the Strawberry Park chairlift on your right. Just past the lift, turn right on a gravel service and ride up and around the switchback. Look for a trail sign and single-track on the left immediately after the turn. Ride the Stack It single-track, a tough climb, up to the Village to Village trail. Turn left and ride the Village to Village single-track to the Beaver Lake Trail. Turn right, climb a short hill and then turn on Dally Service road. Ride past Chairs 10, 11 and 9. Just past Chair 9, pick up the Allie’s Way single-track on the right. After a mellow traverse through the woods, the trail intersects with the Cinch service road. If you’re tired by now, turn left and go home; otherwise, start climbing up Clinch to Spruce Saddle. From Spruce Saddle, head northeast to start the Corkscrew single-track, a trail that is both fun and technical. Corkscrew crosses Dally and eventually puts you back out at Cinch. There is another bail-out option here by picking up the Aspen Glade single-track across the road. Otherwise, continue climbing up past Allie’s Cabin to Paulie’s Sister (TR 2350). The single-track starts straight ahead just past Allie’s Cabin as the road turns right. Ride 0.80 miles through some tough climbing before coming to an intersection of three trails. Take the left option to access the Eastern Hillside trail (TR 2347) and ride down to Beaver Creek Village. Please note: continuing straight crosses private property and is not advised. Directions: Take I-70 to exit 167. Head south to the Beaver Creek entrance. Turn right on Highway 6 to enter the Elk Lot parking.
The A Ten Loop: Start at Starbucks in Edwards. Ride east 0.80 miles on Highway 6 to Arrowhead Dr. Turn right and ride 0.82 miles to Cresta Rd. Follow road for 0.30 miles to the bottom of the ski area. Veer left onto a doubletrack going up the hill. The route changes to single-track and works its way up to a service road. Ride for a short distance on the road and then turn right back onto single-track. Ride for another 0.65 miles through the trees before coming to a bridge. Go under the bridge and turn left. The route turns back to doubletrack for a short time and then changes to single-track again. After a few switchbacks, riders will come to a junction. Turn right here and head south. Ride for about a mile through the aspen and pine trees. This section is really spectacular during the fall colors. Beware of one creek crossing through here – it’s made of logs and looks a little sketchy. At the next intersection turn left and ride 1.15 miles through aspens and meadow towards a saddle. Once on the saddle, enjoy the view of Gold Dust Peak and the surrounding mountains. Turn right and ride a short distance before the hike-a-bike begins. Hike about 0.5 miles uphill through the oakbrush. Get back on the bike and head north toward Homestead. The descent is a fun slalom through aspen trees, high meadows and oakbrush. The trail ends at the water tower above Homestead. Ride down Gold Dust Dr to Homestead Dr. Turn left and look for opening in fence. Turn right and ride the trail down the gully to Edwards Business Center. From here, follow Edwards Village Dr to Highway 6. Turn right again and ride back to Starbucks. Directions: Drive Interstate 70 west to Exit 163 Edwards. Drive south on the Interstate 70 access road to Highway 6. Turn left and drive a short distance to the Riverwalk Center. Starbucks is located on Highway 6 on the east side of the Riverwalk.
Baryeta Cabins: 19.2 miles. The Baryeta Cabins ride begins at the Blue Memorial Rest Area in Edwards. Riders should turn left out of the rest area and head toward U.S. Highway 6, turning right to Lake Creek Road. Turn left at Lake Creek Road, passing some of the valley’s horse ranches. Turn right at West Lake Creek Road, passing over East Lake Creek before beginning to parallel West Lake Creek. Riders will come across a portion of the trail where there are five curves in a row. Riders will continue a climb for about 1.5 miles before West Lake Creek Road turns into a dirt road. Bikers then will ride about 1.1 miles and veer right up a 4WD road, sweeping uphill to the left. The road climbs in a series of switchbacks along Lake Creek before riders hit a steeper and rockier ascent. The road levels briefly and then riders will continue to climb steeper pitches. Three miles up the road is a fork to the left that heads to an old dilapidated cabin. But this old cabin is not part of the Baryeta Cabins. Riders will veer right and follow rolling terrain to the end of the road, the destination of the old miner’s cabins. Directions: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Edwards Exit 163. The rest area, Blue Memorial Rest Area, is about 0.4 miles south of the exit toward Edwards.
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