Geared for Adventure

Mountain Biking at West Avon Preserve

Use this singletrack seeker to find the ride for you, whatever your preference.

By Cindy Hirschfeld June 24, 2021 Published in the Summer/Fall 2021 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Heather Pugh captures evening bliss on Saddle Ridge.

Image: Scott Bellow

More than 11 miles of trail make up this municipal system just north of I-70, and the ability to create different loops keeps riders coming back. Of several parking locations, the easiest one to access is at the western terminus of Nottingham Road in the Town of Avon, just outside Beaver Creek Resort. Because of their south-facing aspect, the trails here dry out more quickly from snowmelt than many others in the upper valley, making the preserve a popular spring spot (it opens April 15 and closes for the season on December 15 for wildlife protection). If you’re a fan of spinning your wheels alongside fragrant sagebrush and early-season wildflowers, this is also your spot. All of the trails are open to biking and hiking, except for locals’ favorite Lee’s Way Down, which allows mountain biking downhill only—lucky you.

Short and Fun

This 5-mile clockwise loop connects five trails that provide a good overview of the whole system. Begin with a short climb up Avon Singletree Connector, then hit BLT, a quarter-mile of bumped and bermed pure play, and tie into the connector again to reach Wyse Way, a wide, mellow climb. From the top, take PB&J, a rolling traverse across the upper part of the preserve, to Lee’s Way Down, almost a mile of swoopy free flow down 600 feet, replete with rollers, berms, and a series of stacked switchbacks toward the end. Spot the trails of Beaver Creek ski area across the valley if you’re not too busy jumping your bike. The trail ends back at Avon Singletree Connector; head left to return the parking area.

For a different 5-mile loop, hop on Avon Singletree Connector, take the quick detour onto Carroll’s Cutoff, then rejoin the connector. Tackle the steady but moderate climb for 2 miles up the long switchbacks of Saddle Ridge, then turn onto Lee’s Way Down and enjoy your flight back to the valley floor.

Fast and Flowy

It’s not that the other rides listed here aren’t fast and flowy, too, but this route provides a longer run. Start at the June Creek Trailhead in the Singletree neighborhood and pedal about 0.3 miles to 1.8-mile-long Wild West Ridge. Climb a series of switchbacks to the ridge, which offers a bird’s-eye view south to Edwards and craggy New York Mountain, then ease into a super-fun, smooth descent. Turn left when the trail joins the Avon Singletree Connector to hook into the rest of the preserve’s network.

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