Aspen has been a road cycling mecca for decades. Gear heads have been descending on the area since well before the Coors Classic of the 1980s — and today’s USA Pro Challenge — put it on the cycling map.
Here are a few of the classic rides:
Maroon Creek Road
Few bike rides in the world can match the drama of this one. Roughly eight miles up the road, you round a bend and suddenly view the iconic Maroon Bells, two 14,000-foot peaks striped with snow year-round.Distance
: 22 miles round-trip. Moderate.
If its possible, the bike ride over Independence Pass has become more famous with each year. That's because the annual U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge has routinely used it as the make-or-break stage in the race. Riddled with switchbacks, narrow lanes and a brutal push over the Continental Divide, this ride is not for the faint of heart.Distance
: 40 miles round-trip. Very Difficult.
Rio Grande Trail to Woody Creek
The Rio Grande Trail, a paved bike path that runs from Aspen down the Roaring Fork Valley, is cherished by locals. This route follows the path to the rustic and storied hamlet of Woody Creek. Have lunch where Hunter S. Thompson hung out — the Woody Creek Tavern — and then take the bus back to town.Distance
: 20 miles round-trip. Moderate.
Aspen–Snowmass Village–Woody Creek Loop
This loop begins in charming downtown Aspen, and take in scenic ranchland en route to Snowmass Village, before descending to charming Woody Creek. Cyclists return to Aspen via the Rio Grande Trail. At 18 miles in length, it will take up the better part of an afternoon, but its totally worth it.Distance
: 36 miles round-trip. Difficult.
While Maroon Creek Road garners a great deal of attention among visitors — rightfully so — Castle Creek Road would get top billing anywhere else. This long, stunning valley takes riders underneath soaring peaks, groves of aspen and spruce, and ultimately, to the ghost town of Ashcroft.Distance
: 24 miles round-trip. Difficult.
For more information on these and other area routes, visit the Aspen Chamber Resort Association's website.