“Singletrack overload, technical classics, modern flow, never ending views. A worthy and rewarding ride to remember!”
Incredible Colorado classic trails, epic mountain views, and miles of fast descending await those who take on the challenge of riding 60+ miles while climbing and descending nearly 10,000 ft in the mountains surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village.
From aspen and dark timber forests to sage fields and grassy meadows bursting with wildflowers, the ever-changing landscape on this route serves as a worthy canvas for a continuous procession of modern and classic trails. From flowing on ribbons of smooth dirt, to negotiating the rock gardens of the famous local classics, finishing this ride in a day rewards those with patience, fitness, skill, and experience.
Need to Know ￼
Assuming you start and end the loop in or near downtown Aspen, there are a couple key places to fill up on water. Near the base of Buttermilk Ski area, just to the south (towards Aspen), find the Inn at Aspen and the restaurant inside, Home Team BBQ. After the Sky Mountain Park segment, stop at the Snowmass Recreation Center for water before heading up the Seven Star Trail.
This loop ride is designed to start and end at the City of Aspen, but quickly takes you towards the backcountry above town, including Smuggler Mountain, Hunter Creek, Van Horn Park, and Red Mountain. While the middle segments of Sky Mountain Park and the Rim Trail may have easier access to civilization, along with good places to fill up with water, the final segment across Snowmass ski area and the deep forests of the Government Trail will keep you in natural and remote areas for a majority of your ride.
While rocks, roots, steep ups and downs, and tight turns can be found throughout, miles of smooth singletrack in-between make this ride a smile fest for significant portions. The major challenges are concentrated on a few of the area’s most famous classic trails. Sunnyside has narrow tread along impossibly steep mountain slopes and red rock gardens closer to the valley floor. The Government Trail’s numerous stream crossings and rock-strewn tread will require your constant focus and true expert level skills to get to the finish line.
With Aspen’s elevation just below 8,000’ and a highpoint of the ride above 10,000’, altitude may be just as big a factor as the miles of climbing required…to enjoy nearly 10,000 ft of fast descents.
This loop is 95%+ primo singletrack, with just a few sections of paved bike paths and dirt roads required to link it all together. Some recently constructed connector trails make this long singletrack journey possible. You’ll have to negotiate some roads in downtown Aspen, but you’ll find bike lanes and plenty of bike racks at your post-ride restaurant of choice.
The recommended starting location is the base of Smuggler Mountain Rd. This is big dirt road climb to get started, but it will get you into singletrack world soon enough at BTS Trail. Check out each trail’s description page for more info, and refer to the MTB Project mobile app during your ride to choose left or right and keep on course.
To ride through downtown Aspen (stop at a restaurant, time to refuel and toast to your effort!) take Durant St. to Hunter St. and Hyman Ave. To continue back to the ride’s start, make a left onto Original St., right onto Neale Ave., right on Gibson Ave., merge onto King St., and left onto Park Circle. A short pedal up the road and you’ll close this big loop.
Head a few blocks into downtown Aspen for food, or find your way across town to your car parked at the base of Smuggler.