Grand County’s favorite fall trails beckon bikers | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County’s favorite fall trails beckon bikers

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Keith Sanders

Fall riding is one of my favorite times of year. This year the leaves are especially bright and colorful. It seems like they changed overnight and are hanging on for just a bit. As we know, winter can return quickly and change the landscape in just a few hours.

There are a few places I like to ride each fall. I just love going through the aspens and riding on the ribbon of gold as the leaves fall from the trees to the ground. I thought I would share some of my favorite places.

I suggest going to the http://www.mtbcapitalusa.com/ website for maps. This is the website created and managed by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Go to maps and click on the top map. This has interactive features that let you zoom in on the area you want to ride. Another map resource is Headwaters Trails Alliance at http://fraservalleyco.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Solutions/s2.html?appid=a52e262522c648ecb29cb45319d16855.

Jim Creek: This is an out and back ride by one of the largest aspen groves in the area. Pick up the trail at the Bonfils Stanton across from the Winter Park Resort. You can ride to the end of the two-track trail then back to your starting point (the trail continues after the two-track but is not suitable for biking). A great option is to take your hiking boots then stash your bike at the end of the trail and hike to the waterfall. If you want to add a bit of length then ride north on Forest Service Road 128 when you return from the main Jim Creek trail. This will take you to Yankee Doodle after a few miles, allowing you to return along the Fraser River Trail.

Granby Ranch: The pockets of aspens that dot the Granby Ranch landscape offer some great views and give you the feeling of fall. Great trails to see the aspens are Cabin Trail, Rabbit, Vista Ridge and other trails nearby. These trails are south of the Granby Ranch base area and are cross-country singletrack trails. The variety of singletrack will certainly surprise you. Take a close look at the maps mentioned above as you can spend all day riding some of the best trails in the area. Remember these for early season spring riding too.

YMCA: This is often overlooked yet it has some nice riding that tends to be on the easier side of the skill level scale. Most aspens and trails are located near the Nordic Center on the south side of the property. Trail names such as Moose Drool let you know that wildlife sightings are likely here. The YMCA is private property and does require a trail pass. You can pick the pass up at the Program Building. They will have maps as well and some great suggestions on ride options.

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There are many other great fall rides in Winter Park. These are just a few that I always love to ride. Go out, have some fun, repeat as often as you can.

Group rides

Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western in Winter Park does a weekly group ride on Friday's at 6 p.m. Intermediate and above skill level. Come join in! 970-726-5988

Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com.

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