Aspen and the surrounding area provide spectacular and sometimes quite challenging terrain for mountain and road bikers. Below is a list of trails from easy to difficult rides. Some things to remember: mechanized vehicles are not allowed within the wilderness boundaries and this includes mountain bikes - keep in mind, three-fourths of the Aspen district is comprised of wilderness area - so use this list below for available rides. For additional information, please call the local Forest Service office at 970-925-3445 or visit the National Forest website.
A map of hiking and biking trails, historic sites, fishing easements, parks, and more in Pitkin County is now available online and via a free mobile app. Check out the site here or download the app: Pitkin Outside.
Aspen Trail Finder is a great resource for trails, maps and current conditions, including pictures.
Check out this article by RootsRated - The 7 Biggest and Best Mountain Bike Trails in Aspen Snowmass
Mountain Bike Suggestions
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 and Smuggler 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 (EASY). With only 24 hours in Aspen, we recommend biking to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch.
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/Government 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.
Sky Mountain Park - A 2,500 acre area made up of the Droste Parcel and Brush Creek Ranch which connects Aspen and Snowmass Village. There are 3 main access points: Buttermilk Ski Area, Brush Creek Intercept Lot and Snowmass Village Town Park. Check out our 360 tour on this awesome trail system.
Aspen's neighboring town Snowmass Village has a variety of mountain bike trails to offer, some of our favorites include the Rim Trail, Tom Blake Trail, and the Government Trail. Click here for Snowmass Trail Information.
Road Biking Suggestions
Ashcroft/ Castle Creek Valley - Follow Hwy 82 west from Aspen. Go to the round-a-bout and take the Castle Creek Road exit. Approximately 11 miles up on the left will be the ghost town of Ashcroft. The road remains paved for about 1½ miles beyond that point. Castle Creek provides the sound track to your ride among the Aspen Groves.
Distance: 12 miles one way
Estimated Time: 1 Hour Up
Rider's Tip: Watch for wildlife on this route, you may get to see bear cubs or elk from the safety of your bike seat.
Points of Interest: Ashcroft Ghost Town, Pine Creek Cookhouse
Independence Pass - Heading east from Aspen on Hwy 82, the road climbs to the top of Independence Pass (12,095 ft.). The trip to the top is approximately 20 miles, passing the ghost town of Independence on the way. Please be extremely careful as this road is very narrow and has car traffic in the summer.
Distance: 20 miles one way, riders can turn around at any point and come back to town.
Estimated Time: 2 Hours Up
Rider's Tip: Best to ride this route during the weekdays as weekends have a higher volume of car traffic on the narrow winding road.
Points of Interest: USA Pro Challenge featured this climb in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 races, Independence Ghost Town, & The Grottos Ice Caves
Maroon Bells - This road begins west of town on Hwy 82 at the second traffic light out of town. The road takes you a distance of approximately 10 miles to the beautiful Maroon Bells. There is light traffic on this road in the summer as it is only accessible by bus between the hours of 8am and 5pm making it a rider's paradise; showcasing vistas of Pyramid Peak as you wind your way to the top.
Distance: 10 miles one way
Estimated Time: 1 Hour Up
Rider's Tip: Between the hours of 8am and 5pm this route is closed to vehicle traffic with the exception of busses. It's a riders dream!
Points of Interest: T Lazy 7 Ranch, Maroon Lake
Old Snowmass & The Monastery: Follow Hwy 82 west from Aspen. Take a right at the stop light onto Cemetery Lane. Cemetery Lane becomes McClain Flats road showcasing views of the entire Aspen/Snowmass Valley. McClain Flats becomes Upper River, followed by Lower River Road. Lower River Road will dump you out at a stop light intersecting Hwy 82. Cross over the highway and follow Snowmass Creek Road until it intersects with Capitol Creek Road. Follow Capitol Creek Road until the Monastery. Trace your steps back to town. A lengthy rolling scenic route makes this a ride not to be missed.
Distance: 30 miles
Estimated Time: 3 Hours Round Trip
Rider's Tip: On the way towards the Monastery from town you will think the return trip uphill will be grueling, but it's not as bad as you imagine.
Points of Interest: Woody Creek Tavern, Old Snowmass Monastery
Ride like the Pros: In 2013 Aspen & Snowmass Village hosted a 66 mile circuit race (three 22 mile laps) for stage 1 of the USA Pro Challenge. Should you feel so inclined to take on the route just like Chris Froome, Peter Sagan, Tejay Van Garderen and others here is the route information:
Riders started on Main Street (Hwy 82) in front of Paepcke Park heading west out of town through the S-curves, past the roundabout and continued on Hwy 82 to Owl Creek Road, where they took a left and traveled on Owl Creek Road until Brush Creek Road. (Note that at the base of the steep descent on Owl Creek Road, there is a left turn, don't take it and continue straight. If you end up on Highline Road you have missed the turn off). At the Intersection of Brush Creek Road and Owl Creek Road the riders turned right onto Brush Creek and continued down making a left onto Medicine Bow Road. Look for a right hand turn onto Upper Ranch Rd which then runs into Juniper Hills Road which crosses over Highway 82 onto Smith Hill Way. Continue up Smith Hill Way & heartbreak hill until you reach McClain Flats Road. Continue the length of McClain Flats which runs into Cemetery Lane. Near the top of Cemetery Lane make a left hand turn onto Power Plant Road which then turns into Smuggler Street. Continue down Smuggler Street making a right onto First Street traveling 3 blocks until taking a left onto Bleeker Street. On Bleeker travel 4 blocks until you reach the intersection with Mill Street, turn right onto Mill and then another right onto Main Street. This is a 22 mile loop and the riders raced this loop for 3 laps.
Four Wheel Drive Roads
Summer Road - The road that runs up the face of Aspen Mountain. Biking is allowed on the road only.
Richmond Hill - Starts at the top of Aspen Mountain and runs south along the ridge. To access this road, take either the Summer Road, the Little Annie Road, or the Midnight Mine Road. It eventually ends at the Taylor Pass Road.
Midnight Mine Road - Located approximately 2 ½ miles up Castle Creek Road from Hwy 82 on the left. This road runs up the backside of Aspen Mountain and intersects with Richmond Hill.
Little Annie Road - Located approximately 7 miles up Castle Creek from Hwy 82 on the left. Runs into the Richmond Hill Road.
Taylor Pass/Express Creek Road - Located approximately 10 ½ miles up Castle Creek Road from Hwy 82 on the left. Taylor Pass Road is one of the two ways to ride to Crested Butte from Aspen.
Pearl Pass Road - Take Castle Creek Road to the point where it becomes dirt. At the intersection, veer right to start the Pearl Pass Road. This is second of the two ways to ride over to Crested Butte from Aspen.
Lincoln Creek Road - Follow Hwy 82 east from Aspen up Independence Road. The turnoff for Lincoln Creek Road is 11 miles from Aspen on the right. The road winds back past the Grizzly Reservoir ending in the ghost town of Ruby.
Kobey Park- About a 1/4 mile past the Woody Creek Tavern make a sharp right onto Road 18 and drive 10 miles to Lenado. From there continue on the road to Kobey Park.