Colorado July/August 2016

So I’m looking for tips where to ride and where to camp as well as maybe the chance to ride with other unicyclists on my month long vacation to Colorado this summer. :slight_smile:

It will be similar to our Oregon/Washington/BC trip of 2 months last summer 2015, which turned out really great. There I managed to go to the 3-day Seattle Muni Fest (where I met a lot of riders, unfortunately none from Colorado) and ride a whole lot of great Muni on trails (to name a few: Post Canyon around Hood River; I rode almost the entire McKenzie River Trail on the muni) plus a week in Whistler where we did great downhill biking and I did lots of great muni on their XC trails. In total we spent over 35 nights in the tent! all in beautiful natural settings!

Like last summer it’s not an exclusive unicycling trip, but a family trip with a fair bit of biking/unicycling whenever we can fit it in. We will have a rent car and mostly tent camp, if possible near lakes/rivers with swimming opportunities as well as close to trails.

My wife will have a mountain bike and I will have my 26er muni. So about every other day we switch off and I can do a 2-4 hour muni ride while she has the kids and then we switch and she goes mountain biking and I play with the kids. That worked out great last summer. Although my oldest is now 4 and will have her mountain bike, so maybe after a little time she will be good enough to do some short trails with me! We’ll have to see if that pans out as maybe I’ll have to just walk and spot/help her when she mountain bikes as I did last year.

I have yet to get working on an itinerary, but we will be starting in Denver and then Salida and aiming to spend about 1/3 of our time in the higher elevations with at least one visit to a bike park (say Breckenridge/Keystone/Steamboat/Crested Butte) where my wife and I would rent one downhill bike and one day pass and switch off with the kids. We will definitely be going to Durango. As we spent extended time in both Moab and Telluride 3 years ago we probably won’t go to either. I’m on the fence as to Fruita/Grand Junction, as it’ll be a little more of a drive as we’re not otherwise planning to head so far west/northwest, plus it’ll be pretty hot in August for my wife (I’m originally from Texas so no problem)…

So we’re looking for recommendations for both good family-friendly nature-filled tent camping spots and mountain biking trails, of course the best is a campground right at a trailhead! And good activities for small kids, in particular lots of swimming.

We’ll be there from July 22nd to August 20th, but of course need some head and leeway in Denver so we’ll have about 3 1/2 weeks for a loop or figure eight or whatever.

Plus it would be awesome to meet up with some local riders. So if anyone is out for a ride somewhere or a weekend trip where we could meet up, then let me know.

As far as character of trails I guess we’re interested in quite a range:

  • XC/singletrail trails (for muni or mtb)
  • as well as some downhill-oriented trails with either lift/shuttle possibilities (also muni/mtb)
  • and easier singletrack trails for my daughter

In addition to lots of winter ski trips I also made a big 4-week mountain bike tent camping trip to Colorado/Utah/Arizona in 2005 so I visited a fair number of places and am a little familiar with the different landscapes and all, but of course detailed trail knowledge is pretty limited, and I don’t know/remember much about camping spots…

Is it worth heading further north near Steamboat Springs (was there in June 2005 but higher trails were still under snow, so didn’t see so much of the trails)?
We will be visiting Boulder for sure (any camping in town or maybe better in the mountains west of town?), and visiting friends and relatives in Denver…
Not sure about Ft. Collins. I was there in 2005 and did some MTB riding too.
Probably visiting a friend in Pagosa Springs (on the way to Durango).

Any other places have free summer lifts (also for bikes) like Telluride?

What’s good around Breck/Keystone/Vail/Copper or Winter Park or Aspen? both downhill biking parks, XC trails? are there any camping possibilities around there?

Ideally we’re looking to find really nice tent camping spots and stay on average 3-5 days and then travel further, which would then result in about 5-6 spots:
Crested Butte?
Aspen? (never been there)

Or maybe we would go back to Telluride as we know the trails there pretty well and it’s kind of on the way from Durango to the central mountains. Anyone know how the camping is there, as we had a vacation house last time (I think I remember something around Alta Lakes to the southwest). Oh wait, there was also camping right on the east edge of town I think.

Oh related question: concerning bike rack: Last year we rented a car and I bought a cheap trunk-mounted bike rack on craig’s list, which worked out pretty well (although it was sometimes a pain to access the trunk and required think-ahead packing). But it just doesn’t seem feasible to fly with my Yakima roof rack plus nowadays each car needs a different fitting. And most rental cars don’t come with trailer hitches or rail bars. Any good ideas here welcome (e.g. a moderately inexpensive roof rack that fits on a rent car or where I could buy the matching clips after I know which model rent car). Hmm… I have a pair of Yakima towers plus 2 pair of roof railing feet (but those requires bars)… Assuming the rent car has no bars, then I would need to buy another pair of towers, 2 sets of matching clips, 2 crossbars (too long and heavy to fly with) and 3 bike carriers (or maybe these would fit in normal airplane luggage?). Sorry for thinking out loud here, but maybe someone has ideas… we would have one adult mountain bike, one muni and one 16" kids mountain bike. But not having the bike on the trunk would be really nice.

Hey there! Sounds like you guys have some great trips as a family. I’m envious of your 2015 Pacific Northwest trip. What a blast that must have been.

We do have a small Denver unicyclist meetup group. It’s usually the “regulars”, a group of the same 6ish people who show up for most of the rides, but we’re all friendly and we’d love to welcome you to our group! We’re actually going to have a Colorado Muni weekend in Winter Park at the end of July. Check it out and see if it works for you:

I live in Pine which is about 40 minutes southwest of Denver via HWY 285, which is the highway you’ll likely take out from Denver to Salida and beyond to Durango. We have the Buffalo Creek recreation area here in Pine and it’s where I do the majority of my riding. It is a spectacular trail network with camping areas and Wellington lake, plus numerous creeks. There are 40 something miles of trails, but you can make your ride as short or as long as you want. A portion of the area has been burned in wildfires so some of the trails are exposed and quite hot in the afternoons. The burned areas are actually beautiful.
I’ve ridden the “big loop” a few times on my 26er and it’s absolutely amazing. It takes me all day and it’s exhausting, but worth it. Your wife could probably do it in a few hours via bike.
My favorite trail in the Buffalo Creek system is Little Scraggy. It’s a muni dream trail. Single track with fun, rideable rock features. Little Scraggy isn’t in the burn area so it tends to be cooler than some of the other trails in the system. The first mile might be good for your daughter to ride. The hard climbing and technical stuff doesn’t really start until a mile and a half in.
Buffalo Burn is a short little connector trail with excellent views. It’s great for kids because it’s relatively flat and smooth. My 9 y/o rides it often.
Both the Nice Kitty and Shinglemill trails offer excellent downhill fun. The CO trail runs through the system. There is camping in designated campgrounds, as well as camping along Fire Road 550.!3754&query=sitedetails

Staunton State Park in Pine should have their campground open this summer. It’s another great place to ride and very family friendly.

I wish I had more advice on the other areas you’re interested in. I’ve heard Fruita is pretty neat and I’m actually hoping to make it out there in the next few weeks. I’ll let you know if it’s worth the trip if I go. But yeah, it’s probably going to be super hot.

I won’t be around in August but I’ll be at the muni weekend in July. Feel free to join the group and also our Facebook group and ask questions there. Hopefully people will have some good ideas.

Hope to meet up with you guys!


I have been mountainbiking in Fruita/Grand Junction several years ago. Excellent, buitifull trails over there. There is a mtb shop called over the edge sports in Fruita. The former owner had a trail book with all the trails in the area (which I bought at that time). Just had a look to the shop page, looks the owner has changed. However I believe in the shop they can still help you with trail recommendations. Have fun there. And as said before, bring enough water if you ride there :slight_smile:

After anxiously checking the thread for 3 days with no replies I was feeling down… But, wow, MuniCO, some great info!

I will need to do some convincing work on my wife, but I would really like to make the Muni Weekend in Winter Park! (she says I don’t get 3 days of pure selfish fun, again! why not?)

Thanks for the other info. I’ll look more closely at your links but sound promising.

@kunstrasen: yeah, I know Fruita pretty well from mountain biking and I have a copy of that trail book although I fear I may have loaned it to someone, as I couldn’t find it the other day. I had been planning on skipping Fruita b/c of the heat, but I think I am going to re-add it to my list. Moore Fun, Holy Cross and Ribbon were my favorite trails (in addition to Mary’s Loop for the scenery).

Oh, and I think we have solved the bike rack problem in that we will probably be renting a minivan so have room for the bike and uni inside.

So my followup report: Colorado muni was awesome! In 4 weeks of family camping I got in quite a few muni rides :slight_smile:

I rode a few trails south of Salida CO: Rainbow trail near Monarch Pass.

Breckenridge: a Black trail from Breckenridge ski area down to Lake Dillon (forgot the name).

The trails near Winter Park as part of the Colorado Muni Weekend (among others, Broken Thumb).

Fruita/Kokepelli Trails: Mary’s Loop, Steve’s Loop and Moore Fun (started too late and the didn’t end Moore Fun until after 10am and in August it was so hot, but the trail was awesome even though I had to walk a bit)
Grand Junction: Ribbon and Holy Cross (rode all of the Ribbon and almost everything on Holy Cross but it was VERY strenuous)

Crested Butte Bike Park: black trail Avery, double-black Psycho Rocks
XC trail in the Cement Creek area just south of Crested Butte

Buena Vista: forgot the name but XC trail west of town to Johnson Village

I also rode in Texas:
rode the Madrone Trail at Canyon Lake near New Braunfels TX twice
one ride at McAllister Park in San Antonio with blueharmony from the Forum
plus one muni ride north of Galveston plus some riding on the beach and along the seawall.

The Colorado Muni Weekend was particularly great. I was not expecting to know anyone but then 4 riders I knew from the Seattle Muni Weekend 2015 were there: Olaf (CA), Kevin & Shane (Albuquerque, NM) and Nate (Phoenix, AZ). Plus it was great to ride with Kelli before her big France/Alps trip (she was super fit and along with Olaf killed me on the uphills).