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Top 5 Favorite Mountain Bike Trails In Colorado


We all know that Chaffee County is home to some of the best rafting in the country, but it also has some of the best mountain biking in Colorado. Here at DVK we love the river but we also enjoy countless other outdoor activities. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite local mountain biking trails. So get those bikes tuned up and fresh tires put on because you will not want to miss out on these.

The Salida Mountain Trails

The best after work or short loop around. The Salida Mountain Bike Trails is a trail system that has something for everyone. From easy beginner trails to technical double black diamond trails the network is perfect for any rider. You can put together a small hour ride to a couple hour ride depending on what routes you take. The trails are very easy to navigate with easy to find maps and signs. Your ride finishes at the Main Street Bridge and your ready to grab some grub and a beer at one of the many excellent downtown restaurants. And if you play your cards right you can also catch an amazing sunset against the collegiate peaks.

Cottonwood Trail

For a longer ride that starts and ends in downtown Salida, Cottonwood would be your go to. Starting on the Salida Mountain Trails you eventually come out on a county dirt road located behind  S Mountain. The road can be peddled or shuttled depending on how much pedaling you would like to endure. Once at the top of the trail the fun really begins. The trail flows, swoops, and winds its way down cottonwood gulch. With a mixture of technical, rocky, fast, and flowy sections this hour to two hours of descending puts a smile on anyone’s face. The trail puts you back at the top of Salida Mountain where you can choose your final route down.

Rainbow Trail

Some days you just don’t want to ride technical rocky stuff, you want fast and flowy trails. Thanks to Salida’s immense trail selection we have a trail for whatever you might be in the mood for. On days were feeling the need for speed we head over to the other side of town and ride Rainbow Trail. This trail is a massive trail that starts up in the Rocky Mountains. The cool part is you can easily ride bits and pieces of the trail depending on what your feeling. A super smooth and fast section is located close to town called Little Rainbow. This trail gives you beautiful views of towns as it meanders its way in and out of the mountainside. Looking for a bit more adventure?  Try hitting Rainbow closer to the mountains for a faster, more off camber ride.

The Monarch Crest Trail 

The holy grail of Salida Mountain Biking. If you haven’t heard the scoop on Monarch Crest you are not riding with the right crowd. Monarch Crest gives you epic views of the Rocky Mountains as you pedal and descend in complete awe of the landscape. The trail is not super technical depending on the route you choose. More advanced riders can plan on riding one of the many amazing trails off of the crest, while intermediate riders can ride the traditional route leading you eventually to Rainbow Trail. The crest has something for everyone, downhillers, XC riders, sightseers, and anyone else who loves riding a bike. If you’re looking to do the Classic Monarch Crest make sure you pack a lunch and some snacks because it can take several hours to complete depending on ability. Here at DVK we ride the crest often and never seem to get sick of its incredible terrain and exceptional views.

Canyon Creek Trail

Just when you think the riding in Salida could not possibly get any cooler. We hit you with Canyon Creek Trail. This epic day of riding leaves you tired, amazed, and wondering when you get to go back. Canyon Creek lies on the Gunnison side on Monarch Crest. Although the trail has some of the most epic views of any ride in Colorado it doesn’t give them to you for free. A couple hours of peddling fire roads, high alpine single track, and a hike a bike will bring you to the top of the decent and a view you will never forget. The ride down is fast and fun without being overly technical and difficult. It’s a great ride for anyone willing to put the pedal strokes down and definitely one of our most favorite rides around.

Looking to explore these mountain bike trails with a professional guide? Dvorak Expeditions runs mountain bike trips on many of these trails.  Visit Dvorak Expeditions for more information on our bike trips and other multi-sport activities.