Aspen's Most Popular Bike Routes

Aspen's Most Popular Bike Routes - Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

Cycling culture is alive and well in the Roaring Fork Valley. With more than 50 total miles of paved bike trails — as well as pleasant county highways in numerous directions — your two-wheeled journey can take on many different forms: Want a half-day, downhill cruise with enchiladas at the end? We've got it. How about a burly ascent to two of America's most photographed mountain peaks? Yep, we have that, too.

Below are 18 of Aspen's most popular bike routes, with options for dropping off your bike on a one-way ride, made possible by Four-Mountain Sports (learn more below).

Routes From Aspen

Cruising around Aspen, Colorado

Aspen > Snowmass Base Village (Via Owl Creek)

There are two primary routes for cycling between Aspen and Snowmass Base Village, with the Owl Creek route being more direct and shorter by a mile. This ride goes by the airport and some scenic ranch land, with a gradual but steady climb of 1,070 feet to the Base Village.

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Aspen > Snowmass Base Village (Via Brush Creek)

The alternative route to Snowmass Base Village follows the Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork River to Brush Creek Road. Compared to Owl Creek, it is a mile further, and offers a long, steady downhill before a moderately strenuous climb up to Snowmass. Views on the final approach are glorious.

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Aspen > Woody Creek Tavern

One of the most popular day trips in the valley consists of a steady downhill cruise along the Rio Grande Trail to the legendary Woody Creek Tavern. This former grocery store and post office turned rustic, funky tavern has long played host to an eclectic assortment of locals, cyclists and celebrities, and was perhaps best known as the preferred hangout for writer Hunter S. Thompson.


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Woody Creek Tavern > Aspen

After a few rounds of tamales at the Woody Creek Tavern (or the New Mexico-style green chile and pork), you may want to burn off some calories by earning your way back to Aspen. The 8-mile return trip climbs steadily up the Roaring Fork River, but is manageable for many.

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Maroon Bells, Colorado

Aspen > Maroon Bells

We try not to be prone to hyperbole, but this really is one of North America's greatest rides. The ascent can feel steep as you climb up Maroon Creek Road, but the payoff — the moment you turn the corner and sneak a peak of "the Bells" for the first time — is richly rewarding. Because of the 1,800-foot climb, consider renting an e-bike.

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Maroon Bells > Aspen

Another reward for pedaling all the way up to Maroon Lake and the Bells? The descent down, which is a thrilling ride through groves of aspens. In fact, don't be surprised if the return ride to Aspen takes half as much time.

However, be mindful of your speed on the way down as it is easy to go too fast. And of course: wear a helmet!

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Aspen > The Tipsy Trout (in Basalt)

For a solid but not-too-challenging workout, consider this ride down the Rio Grande Trail to the lovely community of Basalt and its signature riverside café, The Tipsy Trout. Given this ride's nearly 20-mile length, you may want to utilize Four Mountain Sports bike drop service as well as the easy-peasy RFTA buses back to Aspen. Of course, you can also book shuttle options for the return.

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The Tipsy Trout > Aspen

... But, if your al fresco lunch has reinvigorated you for the ride back (the beautiful Frying Pan River does have a restorative effect on many!), then you can easily cycle back the way you came. The 19.7-mile ride is mostly flat, but their is a steady gain of 1,389 feet to get back to Aspen. (We did the math: that's only 70 feet per mile. You got this!)

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Aspen > Lenado

One of the less-obvious (but no less beautiful) bike trips in the valley leads to the northern edge of the Hunter/Frying Pan Wilderness. To reach the settlement of Lenado, riders follow the Rio Grande Trail to Woody Creek, then proceed up the unpaved Woody Creek Road. Cell service is spotty back here, so load your route before you leave Aspen.

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Lenado > Aspen

The return trip from Lenado to Aspen is 16.2 miles. When combined with the Aspen to Lenado leg, it creates one of the most esteemed routes in the valley for the local cycling community: a 30+ mile roundtrip ride along rivers, creeks, forest and open space. Mountain views abound.

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Take the Memories, Leave the Bike

Rent your bike from Four Mountain Sports Aspen, Colorado

Rent your bike from Four Mountain Sports Aspen, Colorado

If you rent your bike from Four Mountain Sports, you can leave your bike at any of these locations and they will pick them up for $15/bike. Ask your concierge about shuttle, cab and RFTA (public transit) options for your return.

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Routes From Snowmass Village

Snowmass Base Village > Aspen (Via Owl Creek)

This route is detailed above in our "Routes from Aspen" section, but if you are starting in Snowmass Base Village, note that the ride to Aspen via Owl Creek Road is mostly downhill. There is a short and scenic uphill stretch just beyond Two Creeks. For much of the ride, you are on the Owl Creek Trail bike path.

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Snowmass Base Village > Aspen (Via Brush Creek)

This pleasant ride down to Aspen is a smidge longer (1 mile) than the Owl Creek Route, but it too follows a bike path for much of its way. Once you've reached the Brush Creek & Highway 82 parking lot for RFTA, look for the Aspen Mass Trail to quickly connect with the Rio Grande Trail for the ride up valley.

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Snowmass Base Village > Woody Creek TAVERN

This relatively easy, 7.3-mile bike ride is perfect for a half day of sun, coasting, and lunch at the quirky and iconic Woody Creek Tavern. The log-cabin style restaurant has plenty of outdoor seating and an extensive menu.

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Woody Creek TAVERN > Snowmass Base Village

The ride back to Snowmass Village from the Woody Creek Tavern follows a brief but scenic stretch of the Roaring Fork River before climbing up to the Brush Creek-Highway 82 Intercept lot, where riders hook back up with the Brush Creek Bike Path. From here, the climb is steady, but gloriously scenic, to Snowmass Base Village.

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Ebikes south of Aspen, Colorado

Snowmass Base Village > The Tipsy Trout (Basalt)

This pleasant 19-mile ride descends substantially from Snowmass Base Village, down the Brush Creek bike trail to the Rio Grande Trail and eventually Basalt, where you can lunch at the riverside café, The Tipsy Trout. From here, Four Mountain Sports can pickup rental bikes in the event you want to return to Snowmass Village by shuttle or RFTA bus.

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The Tipsy Trout > Snowmass Base Village

If you’re feeling strong and want to bike back to Snowmass Base Village, this climb is among the most rewarding from purely a cardio standpoint. The final stretch from Highway 82 to Snowmass Base Village via the Brush Creek Bike Path will make you earn whatever plans you have for dinner, with a progressively steeper climb beginning about 12 miles in.

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Snowmass Base Village > Lenado

Looking for a strenuous workout option? This ride from Snowmass Base Village to the settlement of Lenado — tucked in the upper reaches of the scenic Woody Creek Valley — offers riders a nice, steady downhill at the start followed by a heart-pumping 1,200-foot climb from the Roaring Fork River to the small, woodsy settlement. In total, 15.5 miles of riding are earned. As noted above, the cell reception is minimal in this valley, so plan accordingly.

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Lenado > Snowmass Base Village

The return to Snowmass Base Village from Lenado is practically a mirror-image of the ride there in terms of elevation gain and loss. Lenado sits only a few feet higher in elevation than Snowmass Village, so this 15.5-mile return journey starts with a long descent of 1,200 feet, before you end your day climbing back up to Snowmass Base Village along Brush Creek Road.

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