Eagle's Mountain Biking Scene Comes of Age
The word is out: Eagle offers outstanding mountain biking on par with Breckenridge, Fruita, and other local off-road meccas. Some even argue that the Eagle MTB experience isn’t just superlative, but superior.
“We have the ideal climate for mountain biking,” explains Eagle resident Mike McCormack, who created the Firecracker 50 (held every July 4 in Breckenridge; mavsports.com). “We’re at a lower elevation, so our season’s longer than at Vail and Beaver Creek,” he says.
And the eighty-mile trail network is extensive, thanks to a town government that legitimized renegade routes built by industrious locals (such as John Bailey, designer of the 1996 Olympic mountain biking course in Atlanta). The town even hired Denver-based Momentum Trail Concepts to expand the network further. Momentum’s first addition, the Haymaker trail complex, was completed last summer. Says McCormack, “We have everything from short lunch-hour rides to all-day epics into country where you’re guaranteed to see no one else.”
Pick up a copy of the Mountain Bike Eagle trail guide ($15, mountainbikeeagle.com), then hit these best bets:
Best for: Downhillers
Redneck Ridge to Pool and Ice Rink
This 2.8-mile trail climbs—sometimes steeply— for 1,014 feet as it winds up the mesa to enter a juniper forest where clearings offer expansive views into the Holy Cross Wilderness and the Eagle Valley’s red cliffs. Then plummet down the new (2013) Pool and Ice Rink Trail, which careens along the mesa edges on deliciously bermed curves.
Best for: Beginners
Turnip, Riddle, Mayer Gulch, and Bailey
Combined, these segments total eight miles of fast, flowy singletrack that climbs (and drops) 1,000 vertical feet as it rolls through the sagebrush.
Best for: Mettle-testers
These stretches are technical and aerobically demanding—and stunningly scenic, winding along the edges of juniper-topped mesas and unfurling along flat, sage-topped mesas offering views of jagged peaks. Climb via Abrams Ridge, tack on a loop with Itch to Scratch, then free-fall down the loose, rocky elevator shafts on World’s Greatest to end with flowy singletrack on Elmer’s.