Cat’s Eye

Top Ten Off-the-Radar Trails to Ride in the Rockies from Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Company

April 11, 2016
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Owner Steve Mokan offers his personal list of favorites in the US Rockies.

The best known trails to mountain bike in the West are also likely to be the most crowded. Serious riders are always on the lookout for the more obscure routes that one day may become legends as well. So what are the top ten off-the-radar mountain biking trails in the Rockies?

Chasing Epic, a new mountain bike adventure travel company, is refiguring the way people experience the best trails in the western US. Its all-inclusive, professionally led mountain biking trips span long weekends when people have time to travel.  They also utilize lesser-known trails in up-and-coming destinations that allow them to focus on a true riding experience.

Here’s Steve’s Top Ten.

In Colorado

409s and Point Lookout, Crested Butte is a relatively new ride that includes Strand Hill, 409, 409.5 and Point Lookout. “This 17-mile ride will keep intermediate and advanced riders entertained with incredible singletrack and views to die for,” Mokan promises.

West Ridge and the Red Trail, Dillon isn’t off the radar but isn’t well known either despite its 20 mile course between Keystone and Breckenridge. After a gentle climb up Keystone Gulch, intermediate riders are rewarded with almost seven miles of smooth, flowy singletrack descent.

Divide Trail Epic, Steamboat Springs is 25 miles of high-alpine sweetness, best done as a shuttle, Mokan recommends. After being dropped off on Rabbit Ears Pass, intermediate to advanced riders travel through aspen groves and meadows on an incredible descent to Steamboat Ski Resort.

The Gentlemans Loop, Telluride, begins in town where intermediate riders can hop on the free gondola up to Telluride Ski Resort while anticipating 15 miles of flowing singletrack downhill, rolling XC riding and some tricky climbs. This combines the Prospect Trail, Jurassic Trail, and the Upper Valley Floor.

Sidewinder Trail, Montrose, for intermediate riders offers almost 20 miles of high elevation desert singletrack with numerous slick rock sections just south of Black Canyon National Park. There are quite a few fast sections with plenty of technical spots to keep riders on the alert.

In Wyoming

Phillips Ridge to Phillips Canyon, Jackson Hole is accessed off Teton Pass, offering intermediate riders an awesome singletrack ride with a little bit of everything over 14.5 miles: huge valley views above Jackson Hole while experiencing a big (steady) climb, rolling XC terrain, and technical downhill.

Christina Lake Loop, Lander promises intermediate and advanced riders a true backcountry trail riding experience on a 14-mile loop with mountain views, an incredible lake to chill at, and even some hike-a-bike thrown in. The trail is shaded and cool in the summer, offering a great opportunity to get away from crowds and explore the Lander backcountry.

In Utah

Thunder Mountain, Hatch for intermediate riders is an incredible epic ride through Utah’s red rock country with views into Bryce Canyon National Park. This is 15 miles of a mix of smooth dirt singletrack, technical rocky sections and gently graded climbs that Mokan says “will blow you away!“

Santa Clara Trails, St. George for intermediate riders is a gold mine of fun just outside of St. George proper. “You get everything from flowing downhill sections to technical rock climbs, to exposed anticline rim riding.  Depending on how you feel, you can do anywhere from six to 20+ miles,” says Mokan.

Round Valley Loop, Park City just out of town is often overlooked in favor of the IMBA Epics like the Mid-Mountain Loop. The Round Valley trails offers intermediate riders high-desert riding with incredible views and gentle climbs, perfect for someone trying to get their high-altitude fix over 11 miles. A few rock gardens are thrown in for good measure.

Chasing Epic trips are all-inclusive and a per person rate includes accommodations (never camping), hearty meals, high-end demo bikes (an all-carbon demo bike fleet includes Ibis Mojo HD3s, Ibis Ripley LS 29ers, and Niner Jet 9 29ers), local guides conversant with the terrain, customized eight-week pre-trip training programs, best-in-class ride nutrition, shuttles and lift tickets, gratuities and a dedicated on-site trip leader to help control gear mashers and share the stories and laughs with a group of like-minded riders.

On the premise that “the less you suffer on the climbs, the more you’ll enjoy the descents,” Mokan has engaged coaching platform companies Training Peaks and Through the Wall Training to customize individualized training programs (valued at up to $400) for eight weeks prior to departure.

He emphasizes that these trips aren’t for touring and sightseeing. “At Chasing Epic, we pride ourselves on putting together itineraries of only the best trail systems in each location, and we don’t waste time with sightseeing rides. You’ll be on uncrowded singletrack from start to finish.”

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