Whether by tour or by cruiser, biking is a great way to see the Vail Valley from a unique vantage point. Full disclosure—I’m a born and raised beach bum, and while I’ve adopted many mountain activities as if I’ve done them my whole life, mountain biking is the one sport I just haven’t done much of. Maybe it’s because biking, for me, typically involved beach cruisers and possibly a mai tai…
Mountain Biking – the best way to mountain bike is at the resorts. You can do a lift and haul with your rental and then take your bike up the chairlift and ride down. Both Beaver Creek and Vail have lift/haul packages, open seasonally. It takes the uphill work out of it and leaves you only with the fun downhill part! If you’re one of the weirdos whom actually enjoy the uphill part like friends of mine out here, there are lots of trails crisscrossing Eagle and Summit Counties. You can park at the trail heads and enjoy the ride. Maps are available at the Holy Cross Ranger Station in Minturn.
Vail Pass Bike Tour – I love this ride. It’s stunning, it’s fun, and it’s primarily downhill. Your tour operator will whisk you up to the top of Vail Pass and get your sorted with your gear. From then, you’ll follow the map provided and the Vail Pass bike trail all the way down into Vail Village. It’s incredible to see the views from the bike path and how they differ from the road, even if you’ve driven Vail Pass a hundred times. There are different places you can stop and take photos, and you get great views of East Vail as well. If you have time, you can stop in Vail Village for a quick bite to eat or some ice cream before headed back to the bike shop to return your bike. You can do this tour with or without a guide.
Glenwood Canyon Bike Tour – on the westernmost end of Eagle County lies Glenwood Canyon, a gorgeous slot canyon with spectacular views. For this activity, you’ll drive into Glenwood Springs and then be bussed back to the mouth of the canyon. From there, it’s a gradual descent back into town, through the winding canyon along the river. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get a Hanging Lake permit and ride your bike to the trailhead, hike Hanging Lake, and then continue to Glenwood Springs for a well-deserved beer! The ride follows along the river, so you’ll get a great vantage of the Shoshone Rapids, Grizzly Creek, and more.
Bike Rentals – if you wanted to rent a bike and just tinker around for a bit, go for it! It’s a great way to spend the afternoon, and you can even put together your own little pub crawl if you’d like! There’s a great bike path which connects Edwards all the way to Vail. If you want to bike and are uncertain how you’ll handle the activity in the mountains, try and electric bike! You can pedal when you wish, and have electric assistance when you’re feeling tired (or if that hill is just too dang much, and you’re having a relaxing day daggumit!)
Charter Sports has locations all over the Vail Valley, and offers both rentals and bike tours. They offer discounts, so if either of these interest you, let me know!
Located in Avon and Vail, Venture Sports offers both rentals and the Vail Pass tour.
The sister company to one of our whitewater recommendations, GAC offers the Glenwood Canyon tour as well as bike rentals in Glenwood Springs.
To book the bike tour, you’ll need to know each person in your party’s birthdate and height. This way, the bike shop can tune the bike to their demographic. There are age restrictions on the bike tour as well—for Vail Pass, all children must be able to ride their own bike due to the steep downhill grade For the Vail Pass Tour, Tagalongs are not permitted per forest service regulations. The recommended age of participation is 10 years old. For the Glenwood Canyon Tour, there is not a minimum age and child carriers/tagalongs are allowed.
Please arrive at the bike shop 15 minutes prior to your tour time to fill out any needed paperwork and to ensure your bike fits you properly.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
Even if the weather is sunny, remember Mother Nature is fickle in the mountains! Dress for variable weather conditions—it’s always smart to have a light jacket. For biking, no open toed shoes or sandals are allowed, and I much prefer long shorts or leggings over shorter shorts (for us ladies!). We’re also very close to the sunshine, with thinner air, so keep in mind you’ll be exposed to those UV rays. Don’t forget your sun protection! Sunscreen is a must. You want to be comfortable and able to move easily!
Do you have another question I missed? Let me know in the comments below!