The Aspen Snowmass / Roaring Fork Valley IMBA Ride Center has become a GOLD LEVEL Ride Center! Following an evaluation during 2019, RFMBA & our Partners are proud to announce on Jan. 28, 2020, that the Ride Center has achieved the Gold Level award. This achievement follows the Bronze Level awarded at the 2014 IMBA World Summit. We’ve had some busy trail seasons these past 6 years to get here!
RFMBA, and our lead partners in this effort, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Snowmass Tourism, and Aspen Skiing Company, as well as our supporting partners Glenwood Springs Resort Chamber Association, in addition to the Carbondale Chamber, and the Basalt Chamber, are pleased to provide the following information for valley locals who want to learn more, and for our visitors, who will need much more that just a few days to explore our 300+ miles of high quality singletrack trails!
Also, please visit our Chamber partner websites, shown above, for all sorts of great information about local Lodging, Camping, Restaurants, cultural events, and for loads of non-trail recreation activities.
What is an IMBA Ride Center?
The Ride Center designation represents the IMBA Model Trails Program’s recognition for large-scale mountain bike trail systems & destinations that offer something for every rider. Bring your full arsenal of bikes to these destination-worthy areas. From backcountry adventures to lift-served gravity trails, and from expert-only to family-friendly, you’ll encounter the best the sport has to offer.
This designation is just as much about the process as the award itself. The application criteria is the blueprint for improving a trail system and is comprised of multiple factors with both trail experience and surrounding community amenities being measured. The evaluation criteria is comprised of key aspects that make for an amazing mountain bike destination and include: variety of trail types, overall trail mileage, quality of trail experiences, destination best practices, and local services.
How did the Roaring Fork Valley become a Gold Level Ride Center?
The Roaring Fork Valley has been one of America’s top outdoor sports destinations since the 1950’s. For decades, snow sports have been the dominant recreation activity that drives visitation. More recently, mountain biking is becoming a key component of what brings people to the area in the summer months. With the growth of mountain biking and its evolution into a broadly appealing sport, the communities of the Valley have developed singletrack trails to satisfy local user demands while increasing sustainability. Sustainability is a key concern in this valley, which has been working hard to find good strategies for balancing visitation, community growth, and preserving the environment.
But how good is the riding, really?
When one seeks to define the theme of riding the trails of the Roaring Fork Valley, words like “ascendant” and “stunning” come to mind. Being located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains means it is unavoidable that big challenging climbs and long rewarding descents are key components of nearly every ride. Fortunately, many of these big rides don’t require an all-day commitment because trail access is so conveniently connected with communities. The Rio Grande Trail is a surfaced pathway that connects trail users from Glenwood Springs all the way to Aspen, 42 miles away! This allows you to efficiently access trails that get you up into the scenic terrain that lies everywhere on the mountainous slopes and peaks above the valley floor. The dazzling golden leaves and white trunks of aspen trees create an iconic experience that can’t be missed, making autumn an ideal time to visit the trails of the Roaring Fork Valley. But the verdant vegetation of summer with wildflowers exploding along the trails can’t be missed, making a strong case for more than one visit per year!
I only like to ride 2 to 8 hours a day… What else is there?
The best thing about climbing up into the hills and mountains above the Roaring Fork Valley is that after you descend on amazing trails, you’ll have your pick of post-ride hangouts for a refreshing beverage. Once you’ve had couple drinks, take a quick shower at one of the Valley’s fantastic lodging options, or go for a soak at one of Glenwood’s hot springs. For dinner the options are endless with everything from burritos in Carbondale to fresh sushi in Aspen. Here on a Thursday mid-summer? Head up to Snowmass for a live music concert outdoors on the slopes while watching the sunset become starlight.
With over 300 miles of high quality singletrack to explore, the Roaring Fork Valley provides an incredible breadth of experiences for both local and visiting riders seeking beauty and exhilaration. Our deepest appreciation goes to the countless volunteers and professionals who’ve created and sustained the trails that are the basis for this Gold Level Ride Center designation.
Our Shared Public Lands make this Ride Center possible!
While we’re fortunate to have an incredible canvas of a landscape for our trail system, we couldn’t have achieved this Gold Level status without the professionalism and hard work of our public land managers:
White River National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Colorado River Valley Field Office
Pitkin County Open Space & Trails
Snowmass Village Parks & Trails
City of Aspen Parks, Open Space & Trails
City of Glenwood Springs Parks & Trails
Our Community sustains and improves our trails
RFMBA is pleased to ensure that our high-use front country trails and our remote backcountry trails stay in the best conditions possible. Whether it’s our volunteers joining us for a scheduled trail work party on a weeknight evening, or a full Saturday, or our independent Trail Agents clearing fallen trees and cutting back vegetation, or our Seasonal Trail Crew team working long hours during spring, summer, and fall, there’s always more to accomplish! We’re also fortunate to partner with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers on public projects and our annual volunteer incentive bike giveaway program. RFOV brings supportive local businesses, individuals, and even youth groups into the trail maintenance world to perform work safely and effectively… while having good fun along the way!
Want to support RFMBA’s efforts to create and sustain the best possible mountain bike trails and experiences in the Roaring Fork Valley? Plenty of ways to pitch in: Check our Events page for upcoming volunteer events, become a Trail Agent, Join us as a Member, Support us with a Donation, or become one of our Business Partners!
Want an introduction of what the upper valley of the Roaring Fork has to offer? Check our IMBA Epic, the Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop!
Not familiar with the trails in the Roaring Fork Valley yet?
Zoom around MTBproject.com, and start by learning about a bunch of our favorite trails: Forest Hollow, Grandstaff, Hay Park, Father of Ginormous, Faerie Trail, Cattle Creek, Lorax, Sunnyside, Hummingbird, Seven Star, French Press, Government Trail, and Hobbit.