Snowmass is typically known for its world class mountain biking, but the road biking is nothing to scoff at. While traffic can be an issue in peak Summer season, there’s plenty of paved trails that offer a peaceful, long ride. As long as you’re a considerate rider and follow the general rules of the road, you’re sure to find road bike heaven in the Aspen Snowmass area. Here are a few of our favorite rides:
Rio Grande Trail
While there a countless entry points to the Rio Grande Trail, if you’re coming from Snowmass, the easiest is just past the Woody Creek Tavern. You can either ride or drive down to the trail head and unload at the gravel parking lot about a minute past the Tavern. From here you can either head Upvalley to Aspen, a fairly short ride, or Downvalley all the way to Glenwood Springs. The entire trail runs 42 miles, although it is rated as easy. Our personal favorite is to start at Woody Creek, ride to Basalt for lunch and ride back the very slight uphill climb.
From the Aspen road about, take Castle Creek road towards Ashcroft and a beautiful, somewhat mellow ride awaits. The ride is 11 miles each way, with about 1,800 elevation gain on the way up and an exhilarating ride on the way down. The trails runs along a gorgeous creek throughout the ride and there are many opportunities for great pull offs. Try it in the Fall to see the leaves changing in this unique valley.
Snowmass to Aspen along Owl Creek
A great way to spend the day, riding from Snowmass to Aspen and hanging around town for the day before a leisurely ride back. The trail is 5.5 miles each way and probably one of the easiest rides in town. There’s a bit of elevation gain but nothing most can’t accomplish. When the trail ends at Buttermilk, catch the bike trail into Aspen rather than riding on the road.
Aspen to Maroon Bells
Take a ride to the most photographed peaks in the country and end it with a thrilling ride back down. There’s some serious elevation gain here but its worth the view. And as everyone knows, the view is always better when you have to work for it. The ride is 8 miles each way, just watch out for traffic, especially in the Summer. Try to hit this one before the road opens to cars for your own private ride.
Probably one of the most difficult rides for its distance around, Independence Pass is no joke and traffic is a serious consideration. The road is quite narrow in some parts, making it difficult for cars to pass. Best ridden very early or late in the season to avoid traffic. If you’d like to get around the cars altogether, sign up for Ride for The Pass. This event has both a recreational and competitive category, either 2 or 10 miles respectively. Check their website for more details.