Savoring the panorama from Beaver Creek’s Elkhorn trail

Image: Zach Mahone

Lift-served mountain biking at Beaver Creek has a lower profile than at Vail; that’s partly because only one lift, Centennial, ferries riders up the slopes. Also, aside from two advanced-level, bike-only trails (Corkscrew and Stack-It), the other trails that allow bikes are multiuse, so keep a heads-up for hikers. As at Vail, Class 1, pedal-assist e-bikes are permitted on resort trails.

There’s no reason to overlook the mountain for riding, however, as some two dozen trails scribble the slopes from Beaver Creek Village to Bachelor Gulch to Arrowhead. (Note that a few routes—Elkhorn, Arrowhead, Bachelor Gulch, Lower Rose Bowl, Larkspur Bowl, Strawberry Park, and Village to Village—don’t open until July 1 because of nearby elk calving areas.) Many novice bikers take Cinch, a 4.5-mile dirt track that gently meanders down Beaver Creek’s eastern boundary; the route provides nice views down to the valley floor and across to the rugged Gore Range, and the biking’s, well, a cinch. Consider this a warmup for more exciting trails.

If you forsake the lift in favor of ascending by your own quad power, you’ll find the easiest grades on Cinch or Lost Buck from the main base area and Village to Village out of Arrowhead.

Short and Fun

From Beaver Creek Village, ride up Lost Buck, a gravel road, to Village to Village. Turn left and continue uphill to Allie’s Way at the bottom of the Birds of Prey chairlift; enjoy riding through a lush aspen grove for the next 1.5 miles. Pick up a short section of Cinch, then hop on Aspen Glade (yes, more aspens), which traces the ski area’s eastern boundary, and finish on Village Loop to the base. The approximately 6-mile route takes about an hour and provides a good overview of the lower mountain.

Village to Village traverses Beaver Creek’s lower slopes from the bottom of Grouse Mountain to the Arrowhead base for 7 miles of easy riding on wide singletrack. It can be ridden in either direction, but to maximize the downhill, take the Centennial lift up, then ride a short stretch of Cinch to Dally (also a service road) to access Village to Village at the bottom of the Larkspur chair. The route is popular with hikers, too, so be prepared to check your speed and let others know you’re approaching from behind. Once at Arrowhead, you can pedal the paved Eagle Valley Trail for 2.5 miles to Beaver Creek Landing at the base of the resort access road, where shuttle buses will ferry you and your bike back up to the resort. For a shorter ride, bail out at Bachelor Gulch via Village to Village Connect. From there, the 1-mile Leave the Beav brings you down to Beaver Creek Landing.

Fast and Flowy

Two newer trails on the resort’s Arrowhead side, Apache and Ute, combine for a mega-fun, speedy 4.3-mile loop. Begin on Ute, which is uphill only and gains 1,100 feet of elevation on a moderate grade; the first mile through the sagebrush is out in the open, but shady relief soon follows. At the top of Apache (downhill only), get ready to grin the whole way down this smooth-as-buttah descent. Piece O’ Cake will then bring you back to the base area.

Epic Ride

From Beaver Creek Landing (park in the nearby Elk lot), pedal up Elkhorn, climbing 1,200 feet over 2.5 miles. Tie into Village to Village, then continue climbing to reach Allie’s Way. Ride that trail over to Cinch, then continue uphill for about another mile to the access point for Paulie’s Plunge. This advanced-level Forest Service trail plummets almost 1,200 feet over 1.7 miles, with enough rock gardens, roots, and drop-offs to keep you on your toes. Relax some on the high-speed flowy section to the finish, where you’ll connect with the Eagle Vail Trail, 2.2 miles of rolling terrain that exits between the ninth and tenth holes in Eagle-Vail, a residential golf community that includes the childhood home of Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin. From there, the paved Eagle Valley Trail provides an easy pedal back to your starting point.

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