In the saddle: Oh-so-sweet Snowmass singletrack
September 5, 2011
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – I am of the opinion that Snowmass Village has some of the best singletrack biking trails in the central Colorado mountains – and the most unheralded.
Over the last several years, people like councilman and trail enthusiast John Wilkinson, Gary Tennenbaum of Pitkin County Trails and Open Space and Steve Sewell of Snowmass Ski Area (and probably numerous others) have quietly added parts and pieces to what adds up to a fabulous trail network.
Earlier this summer, I rode a three-quarter loop around Crested Butte. Our guide showed us how to link several killer little singletrack trails in the hills above town. I decided to ride the loop around Snowmass Village a couple of weeks ago to see how it stacked up. The Tour de Butte has nothing on the Tour de Snowmass. They’re both grand tours.
For the Snowmass loop, I parked at the Rodeo Grounds parking lot and made a circle around the village on all singletrack, except for a short stretch. They are all trails I’ve ridden before, but not in one contiguous loop.
From the parking lot, it is easy to hop on the Highline Trail, a short stretch that gets your heart pumping. Crossing Owl Creek Trail you can almost immediately tap into the Tom Blake Trail, one of my personal favorites. From Tom Blake, you can pick among three routes to join the Government Trail. On that day, I went with the climb up Powerline.
That connected me to Government Trail, providing a glorious traverse from Elk Camp to East Snowmass Creek on a rolling, often technical route. Government West apparently isn’t seeing a lot of use. The trail occasionally disappeared in the tall, lush grass. After the steep descent toward East Snowmass Creek I hopped on the mellow Ditch Trail for a ride back toward the village. A short diversion onto the Divide Road spits you out at a trailhead for the final leg on the Rim Trail, south and north.
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After a long day in the saddle, I was whining “no mas” to myself on the final hill. I got back to the car just shy of 3.5 hours on the trail – tuckered but happy.