In 2018, the International Mountain Bicycling Association designated the Vail Valley as a Silver-Level Ride Center. Mountain biking’s premier advocacy group doesn’t give that recognition to just any destination. It indicates that a region has built a supportive community, an extensive trail network catering to all levels of riders, and enough appealing amenities to round out off-trail time. Just 15 other places in the world have been awarded silver status (and six others have gold).
What does all of that mean for you? Simply, the biking here is good. Really good.
Vail Valley rides range from old-school trails—peppered with natural obstacles like roots, rocks, and uneven terrain that demand some technical skills—to today’s machine-made ones, buffed buttery smooth, with banked turns for maximum flow.
To help you choose your ride at a half-dozen major trail networks (and one new bike park!) from Vail Mountain downvalley to Eagle, we’ve categorized some of our favorites based on what kind of outing you’re looking for:
Short and fun routes that are not too technically challenging and can often be ridden in an hour or two;
Fast and flowy trails that max out the grins-per-pedal-stroke factor, whether you’re just getting a handle on upping your speed or are a skilled rider who loves cornering around switchbacks and berms;
Lung-busting climbs that lead to stellar riding, making it worth the gruntwork;
Epic rides—those long morning or afternoon routes that encompass a variety of trails, offer technical challenges, provide plenty of breathtaking scenery, and by the end make you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.
Want a second opinion? Consult our Local Pros, a pair of insiders who have elevated the local riding scene, and find out where they like to spend their time in the saddle. Then join them.
Mind Your Manners
Follow these basic guidelines to respect other trail users as well as the land itself:
Be aware of (and honor) seasonal closures. Some trails don’t allow bikers (or hikers) in the winter and spring for wildlife protection, especially elk calving.
Pay attention to trail direction. A few trails are designated uphill or downhill only in order to avoid rider conflicts and injuries.
Stay off muddy trails. Mud splatters on your bike and legs may look hardcore, but tracking up mucky terrain leads to widened trails, ruts, and erosion.
Don’t be a trailblazer. Stay on established tracks, and don’t cut switchbacks.
Know when to yield. Hikers, equestrians, and uphill bikers all have the right-of-way if you’re headed downhill.
Give a heads-up. Let others know that you’re coming up behind them by bell or voice. And it’s always polite to inform them if you’re riding alone or have fellow bikers behind you.
Don’t be an obstacle. If you need to stop, move to the side of the trail; that goes for your bike, too.
Leave no trace. When you’ve sucked down the gel, pocket the wrapper and pack it out, please.