HIKING & BIKING BEST PRACTICES

Whether you are taking a quick 45-minute hike up Smuggler or spending the day on the trails in the Castle Creek Valley, there are a few things every hiker and biker in Aspen should know, do and prepare for. 

 

BASIC HIKING AND BIKING TIPS FROM LOCALS:

  • If there has been heavy rain, and the trail is wet, please let it completely dry before heading out. Muddy footprints or deep tire tracks damage trails, most of which are maintained by hand. 
  • Keep the cell phone in your backpack, and refrain from taking calls on a trail or playing music on the speaker without a headset. 
  • If you are on your bike, please use an audible signal when passing others. And announce which side you will pass on. 
  • Who gets the right of way? Uphill hikers/bikers have the right of way of other hikers/bikers. Hikers have the right of way over bikers, and equestrians have right of way past both hikers and cyclists.

 

ROAD BIKING AND E-CYCLING SAFETY TIPS:

  • Walk your bikes and e-bikes in the brick pedestrian malls. 
  • Stay to the right side of the road unless you are turning left or passing someone. 
  • Always bring a light when you're riding at night. A white light up front and reflector behind is best. 
  • Let everyone know you are turning or stopping by signaling with your left or right arm which way you are turning. When you're stopping, signal with your left arm downward. 
  • Drivers, please give bicyclists plenty of space when passing. Up to three feet is the law. 
  • When riding on a multi-use path ride on the right side and give audible warnings when passing. 
  • You can ride side-by-side as long as you're not impending traffic. 
  • Always wear a helmet. 
  • Stop at stop-signs and obey traffic lights. 
  • E-bikes are prohibited on single-track trails, such as the Rio Grande. Riders must also comply with a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit. 
  • For more Colorado bike laws click here

 

BEFORE YOU GO:

  • Know where you’re going. There are millions of acres surrounding Aspen and it’s easy to take a wrong turn towards the middle of nowhere. 
  • Always bring a map (a physical map is best – phone batteries die!).
  • Buy an annual Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card (CORSAR) card at several locations in Aspen, including the Ute Mountaineer, Carl’s Pharmacy or online. The purchase helps county sheriffs and SAR teams cover expenses, in case you are in need of emergency medical services or evacuation.
  • Leave a note in your car with details on your destination and the date of your return.
  • Take the ColoReady Test from the Colorado Tourism Office. 

 

WATER:

  • Water is the key ingredient to acclimating and keeping you powered for the adventure ahead. 
  • Fill your water bottles to the brim even for short trips, and if you’ll be on the trail for a while, bring iodine pills or a water filter to replenish your supply. 
  • Along with water, bring enough food for the duration of your hike, and then some. If you find you’ve made a wrong turn, you’ll be hydrated and fed.

 

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Dress for the worst-case scenario. Starting out for a hike on a bluebird Colorado day can quickly shift to rain, lightening and yes, even snow at higher elevations. 
  • Stick extra layers and socks in your daypack and be ready to shelter overnight if needed.
  • Pack a day pack with sunscreen, bandages, cell phone and, for longer distances, and a satellite  phone that can alert Mountain Rescue Aspen to any trouble. 
  • If you’re biking don’t forget to bring a multi-tool, spare tires and a small pump, if needed. Not even in Aspen will someone come out on the trail and change a flat tire for you.