From smooth alpine singletrack and rowdy desert chunk to just about everything in between, Colorado is a wonderland for mountain bikers. You’ll find great fat tire riding in every region of the Centennial State. But where to go and what type of bike to ride? This guide answers both of those questions as you look to plan your trip in search of some of the best singletrack in the country. Be sure to order your bike well before your intended trip, as finding a new bike these days is tougher than riding a double black diamond your first day out — but it's well worth the wait.

Before you go, be sure to familiarize yourself with Care For Colorado principles, such as yielding to uphill bikers (they need the momentum), sticking to marked trails, silencing your cell phone and leaving the wild as you found it. These points may sound like common sense, but with a little teamwork, we can all make sure everyone is able to enjoy the trails the way they were intended.

Yeti SB140

yeti sb140
Yeti Cycles/Ross Bell

The smaller 27.5-inch wheels of the Yeti SB140 are perfect for tight and techy turns. With 140mm of rear-wheel travel and 160mm up front, this highly-regarded trail bike can capably handle just about any big drop or chunky rock garden. You’ll also be flying Colorado colors, as Yeti's headquarters is located in Golden. (While visiting the historic former gold rush town, swing by fellow MTB brand Commencal to check out their impressive line of DH, enduro, trail and e-bikes.)

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Where to Ride It

grand junction
Visit Grand Junction

Grand Junction: Though just a dozen miles east of Fruita, Grand Junction’s Lunch Loops Trail System offers a decidedly unique (and challenging) mountain biking experience. With just a few exceptions, the trails here are rough, rocky and rowdy, requiring advanced skills and capable gear. No wonder bike companies like DT Swiss, MRP and Rocky Mounts have chosen this area to set up shop. If their products can survive here, they can survive anywhere. For a true Lunch Loops classic, shuttle or pedal up paved Little Park Road to the top of the Ribbon Trail, then relish screaming down a huge expanse of grippy slickrock, before diving into several miles of technical singletrack. Adrenaline junkies can also soon head to the top of nearby Grand Mesa, then plummet down what will be a 32-mile, 6,000-foot joyride known as the Palisade Plunge. Phase 1 opened in late May, and includes the lower 17 miles beginning at Lands End Road. The remainder is slated to open later this summer, completing Colorado’s newest bucket-list mountain bike experience.


Santa Cruz Tallboy

santa cruz tallboy
Santa Cruz Bicycles

With 120mm of rear-wheel travel, 130mm up front, and an impressively efficient VPP suspension design, the lightweight Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er provides an ideal balance between uphill acumen and downhill capability.

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Where to Ride It

breckenridge
Breck Epic/Devon Balet

Breckenridge: Tucked between towering mountains to its east and west, this historic mining town turned four-season resort destination boasts hundreds of miles of serpentine singletrack (and one of the best cross-country stage races in the world: the Breck Epic). Just make sure you bring your climbing legs, or an experienced guide. The town resides at 9,600 feet above the sea and nearly all trails head up from there. For a true local’s classic, park at the Tiger Dredge Trailhead northeast of town, then spin up the dirt road for several miles before hooking into the famed Colorado Trail. A tough climb awaits, but the reward is a rollicking fast downhill all the way back to your car.


Moots Womble

moots womble bike
Moots

With a slack’ish 67-degree headtube angle, compliant titanium frame, dropper post and 140mm suspension fork, the Moots Womble is the perfect “trail” hardtail for ever-playful terrain. The Womble is also Colorado-made, handcrafted at Moots headquarters in Steamboat Springs.

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Where to Ride It

phils world cortez
City of Cortez/Paul Adams

Phil's World (Cortez): Located on a desert mesa three miles east of Cortez on the north side of US Highway 160, this famed trail system is one of the state’s most popular early season riding destinations — as it typically emerges from winter’s grip months ahead of Colorado’s more mountainous regions. Most of this 39-mile network is smooth and fast, but there are occasional slickrock segments just to keep you honest. It’s a perfect locale for beginner and intermediate riders looking to hone their skills on ever-swooping singletrack.


Revel Rascal

revel rascal bike
Revel Bikes

With company in Carbondale, Colorado, Revel Bikes understands what works best in their mountainous backyard. The 130mm rear/140mm front suspension Revel Rascal is a fast and nimble 29er that can grind up myriad steep climbs, and then soak up the roots and rocks on the way back down. It features the Canfield Balance Formula suspension design (another Colorado-based company) that aims to maximize the amount of time you spend pedaling in the suspension’s sweet spot.

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Where to Ride It

crested butte biking
Jason Sumner

Crested Butte: This superbly scenic mountain town in Central Colorado is blessed with more than 450 miles of prime alpine singletrack. It’s also one of the state’s premier wildflower viewing destinations. Top trail choices include: Lupine, Lower Loop and Tony’s for beginners; Trail 401, Snodgrass and Strand Hill for intermediates; and Doctor Park, Teocalli Ridge and Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman’s for more advanced riders looking for a challenge.


Scott Spark 900

scott spark 900 bike
Scott

A true do-it-all bike, the Scott Spark is equally at home on all-day explorations or blazing fast cross-country race days. Its 130mm of front and 120mm of rear suspension coupled with a dropper post and 67.2-degree head tube angle allow the Spark to efficiently scamper up any climb, but still provide enough squish to navigate moderately technical descents. And it boasts SRAM’s groundbreaking wireless electronic AXS drivetrain that’s simple to set up and adjust.

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Where to Ride It

biking in del norte
Kristi Mountain Sports

Del Norte: One of the state’s nascent mountain bike hot spots, this small town in south-central Colorado has quickly gained acclaim for its ever-expanding trail system that includes alpine and desert ecosystems. Newcomers can start at the Stone Quarry trails to get their bearings, then head to the more challenging Penitente Canyon zone. Del Norte is also home to increasingly famous Bishop’s Rock, a 40-acre slickrock playground that has everything from mellow rolling terrain to white knuckle jumps and drops. It’s basically a playground for mountain bikes.


Specialized Stumpjumper

specialized stumpjumer bike
Specialized Bicycles

For expert terrain, a true trail bike like the Specialized Stumpjumper is the way to go. With 130mm of rear-wheel travel, 140mm up front and a well-sorted new ground-up suspension design that offers improved performance whether you’re climbing or descending, this bike can get you to the top of any mountain, and then let you crush the descent.

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Where to Ride It

biking in durango
Hank Blum Photography for Durango Trails

Durango: The diversity in trail experience in and around Durango, which has 300 miles of singletrack within a 30-mile radius of downtown, is thrilling. Directly adjacent to town are the Horse Gulch, Overend Mountain Park and Animas Mountain trail systems, each offering a unique version of high desert riding, with smile-inducing swoopy sections interspersed with rowdy rock gardens. Or head into the nearby high country and hook up with one of several sections of the Colorado Trail where vast panoramas and classic alpine terrain are the norm. You can also head to nearby Purgatory Resort, which operates a downhill, lift-accessed bike park during the summer.


Ibis Ripley

ibis ripley bike
Ibis Bikes

Though the Ibis Ripley has just 120mm of rear-wheel travel and a 130mm fork, this exceptionally versatile 29er trail bike punches far above its weight. It’s nimble and snappy enough to lean in tight banked berms, but can also soak up bigger hits when asked.

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Where to Ride It

biking in fruita
Go Fruita

Fruita: A prime example of what mountain biking can do for a community, what once was a sleepy farming town has morphed into an internationally renowned mountain biking destination that attracts riders from around the world. You’ll need at least two days to get the full Fruita experience. Start at the 18 Road Trail System a few miles north of town, where you’ll enjoy many miles of smooth fast fun. This is also a great place for beginners and kids, who will love doing laps on the beginner-rated Kessel Run Trail. On Day 2 head west on I-70 to the Kokopelli Loops, geared toward intermediate and expert riders. Or, check out Horsethief Bench, which has everything from fast and flowy singletrack to technical ledge drops. It also avails superb views of the Colorado River, so stop along the way to soak in the scenery.


Giant Anthem

giant anthem bike
Giant Bicycles

You’ll have a blast carving in and out of Aspen trees on mountains aboard the Giant Anthem, a purpose-built 29er cross-country race bike that’s designed for speed and efficiency.

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Where to Ride It

biking in steamboat springs
Steamboat Springs Chamber/Noah Wetzel

Steamboat Springs: Dubbed Bike Town USA for its all-encompassing embrace of two-wheeled fun, this four-season resort destination in northern Colorado features hundreds of miles of singletrack and one of the state’s premier bike parks. Cross-country riding is the main attraction here, and there’s no better place than Emerald Mountain, which is an easy pedal from town and has approximately 45 miles of trail suitable for all skill levels. Experts will love the Steamboat Stinger loop, which gets its name from the annual XC race, and includes 27 miles of swooping singletrack and nearly 3,500 feet of climbing.


Guerilla Gravity Gnarvana

guerilla gravity gnarvana bike
Guerilla Gravity

If you plan on testing yourself on more challenging terrain, you’ll need a full-face helmet, arm and knee pads, as well as a bike that’s up to the task. The recently launched (and Denver-made) Guerilla Gravity Gnarvana is just such a bike. With 160mm of rear-wheel travel and a 170mm fork, this burly 29er is ready for anything you can throw at it.

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Where to Ride It

biking in trestle bike park
Trestle Bike Park

Trestle Bike Park (Winter Park): With more than 40 miles of lift-serviced terrain, America’s premier bike park has something for everyone. There are enough expert trails to satiate even the most accomplished freeriders, plus beginner and intermediate trails for those new to the bike park experience. Trestle also boasts a certified bike park school that offers programs with experienced coaches who teach everything from basic skills to expert-level tricks. While you’re in the area, check out the rest of the Fraser River Valley, which has upwards of 600 miles of cross-country singletrack. No wonder the area is known by many as Mountain Bike Capital, USA.


Alchemy Ronin

alchemy ronin bike
Alchemy Bicycles

Handmade in Denver, the Alchemy Ronin is a gravel-specific carbon fiber bike designed to take the sting out of rough roads, but not compromise efficiency when grinding up steep climbs. It also has clearance for up to 45mm tires.

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Where to Ride It

biking in colorado's gravel roads
Roll Massif/Justin Balog

Colorado's Gravel Roads: Besides being blessed with some of the world’s best singletrack, Colorado boasts hundreds — if not thousands — of miles of dirt and gravel roads all waiting to be explored aboard one of the new breed of drop-bar gravel bikes that have become so popular in recent years. Start your adventure by pulling out a map and letting your imagination run wild, or sign up for a gravel cycling event such as SBT Gravel in Steamboat Springs, Wild Horse Gravel in De Beque or the brand new Rad Dirt Fest in Trinidad. Steamboat is one of the marquee pro-level gravel races in the country (amateurs are welcome, too), Wild Horse delivers rugged adventure in one of the state’s least populous regions and the brand new Rad event includes three different bike distances plus 50k and marathon running races.