Autumn may be the best season in the Rocky Mountains. September and October bring bluebird days to the high country, and the crisp autumn weather also makes for some of the best bike riding of the season. Our 600+ miles of local trails should remain clear of snow for several weeks to come, which means the biking stays hot even as the weather cools.
MAPS & TRAIL TIPS: For updates on trail status, use COTREX (a mobile and desktop application for a statewide comprehensive and interactive trail map) to always have your maps with you. Stop by the Information Center in downtown Winter Park for hard-copy maps and additional information.
Pro tip: Sign up for a Winter Park Experience Pass and gain access to deals and discounts as well as the insider's guide to incredible local adventures and experiences. It's free and available on your mobile device.
Trails to try:
Trestle Bike Park
Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park still has plenty of pedaling fun in store for fall. Trestle Bike Park is the fastest-growing bike park in North America and the second-biggest bike park program in the world. The park remains open through September, offering both downhill and cross-country bike trails for riders of all abilities.
Trails off The Beaten Path
Ultimately, the best way to enjoy autumn is to just get up here and ride! From the crisp clear weather to the changing colors on the mountainsides, fall is a particularly perfect time to be on a bike. Whether you’re dominating the downhill at one of our bike parks or shredding the singletrack on our hundreds of miles of area trails!
King of the Rockies
Distance: 25.2 Miles | Difficulty: Hard
Largely considered the iconic bike ride of the region, this trail is a can't miss for any biker. It’s an intermediate ride that covers 25.2 miles and starts at the Winter Park Resort. It can also be accessed from the rodeo grounds in Fraser for those who want to make the ride a little shorter.
South Fork Loop
Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 276 Ft. Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate
This is a beginner-to-intermediate trail that can range from 4.4 to 7.4 miles depending on the route chosen. The South Fork Loop trail is located in the Idlewild Trail System. Access the trail by parking at Sitzmark Campground, located directly off Highway 40 just past Hernando’s Pizza Pub in Winter Park.
Distance: 5 miles Elevation Gain: 1076 Ft. Difficulty: Hard
Rogers Pass is a classic mountain bike ride that offers killer panoramic views that are well worth the ascent. This out and back trail is located along the Continental Divide with amazing views of James Peak, Perry Peak, surrounding mountain ranges and fields of wildflowers. Starting as an easy climb, Rogers Pass rapidly rises above tree line allowing bikers an aerial view of the towns of Winter Park and Fraser. Next, the trail switchbacks around a bend to look down on Heart Lake, Winter Park Resort, Mary Jane and Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Plus the view of the fall colors in the Jim Creek Valley take your breath away. If the ride on Rogers Pass was enough for one day, head back down the trail , but if you are yearning for more adventure and beauty day, continue forth on your adventure and hike to the summit of James Peak.
Use precaution when while biking, the trail is an old railroad grade has some loose rocks and a section of steep climb.
Distance: 29.6 miles Elevation Gain: 4,386 Ft. Difficulty: Hard
Located near Fraser, Colorado, the Tipperary Trail has attracted the attention of pro riders and amateurs seeking a challenging ride. Velonews, a popular cycling magazine, rated this as one of the top five racecourses in the world, and the Tipperary Trail is typically included in the Singletrack races each summer in Winter Park.
The Tipperary Race Course Route is ideal for getting in some final rides during the fall season. Plus, this loop trail provides a variety of activity options and opportunities to observe wildlife along your journey. This trail is a sustained, moderate climb, but don't underestimate the ascent at altitude. You will ride through forests brimming with vibrant red, orange and yellow leaves, over creeks and along beautiful meadows. The racecourse route continues on some of the classic trails in the Winter Park area taking you old logging flumes, rivers and vibrant aspen groves.
End of Season Bike Maintenance
Once you've ridden our favorite fall trails, you'll want to be sure to take a few steps to properly store your bike for the winter season:
- Clean up your bike. Wash off any leftover mud, paying special attention to the brakes and derailleurs. Mud that is left to dry over the winter can pull the paint off in the spring.
- Lube the chain. This will keep it from drying out over the cold winter months.
- Consider an end-of-season tune-up. Tuning the bike at the end of the season – rather than the beginning of the next season – can help you avoid the crowds and ensure your bike is ready to go at the first sign of spring!
- Store it inside. Finding a place indoors – even if it’s not heated – to store your bike will keep moisture from building up and rusting the bike.
Looking for more? Explore a list of some of the best bike trails in the area, from the beginner-friendly Fraser to Granby Trail to the challenging climb up Rogers Pass.