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The Best Vail Mountain-Biking Trails for Summer

Vail is home to miles and miles of mountain-biking singletrack that’ll get the heart pumping. Map your route, practice Leave No Trace Principles and get ready for some incredible rides boasting peak-peppered views.

 

Try these Vail trails this summer:

North Trail Sections

The North Trail features 12 miles of trail — from Davos Road to Spraddle Creek (or the reverse). Shaded by shimmering aspen stands, these trails are loved because of the ease to access them and stunning scenery that showcases Vail Mountain, the Gore Range and Holy Cross. Trails can be ridden out and back or you can shuttle a car to the end and ride back to the start.

Directions: All trailheads are accessible from North Frontage Road. Grab a map from the Vail Welcome Center.

Meadow Mountain

Meadow Mountain has a bit of everything — a long grind up a dirt road through open meadows, a little historical cabin, a fabulous descent through a large aspen forest and more singletrack on the 4-mile Everkrisp trail (that branches off a quarter-mile up the road and ends in Eagle Vail, which is a great ride to do the reverse direction, too). This is a heck of a climb with a fun and technical descent. The 2,000+-foot climb starts right from the parking lot up the Line Shack trail, and basically doesn’t end until you reach the high point — an old “line shack” that appears to be frequently used as a winter hideaway (peek inside to spy a wood stove and primitive sleep and cooking space). From there, the singletrack heads down Whiskey Creek, and you have 4 miles of fun through the aspen forest. The trail is a little rutted in places, but not bad. Take it down to the Everkrisp trail and hang a right. This 10.3-mile route loops you back to the parking lot.

Directions: Head west to Minturn, taking Exit 171. Park at the Forest Service Parking lot (note signage indicating where to park).

Son of a Buffeher

Son of Buffeher is a big ride (20.6 miles and a 3,000-foot elevation gain). It starts with a short climb up the paved Potato Patch Drive before a left turn gets you onto Red Sandstone Road. Follow this unpaved but smooth road up just a bit before the singletrack starts by turning right onto North Trail: Eastern Section. This is a relentless climb, but it’s beautiful and doesn’t have too many technical sections. Take a left onto Son of Middle Creek for singletrack climbing through more aspens before starting a rolling cross-gradient stretch. You’ll be thankful for the occasional downhills here. Take a right at the intersection with Fire Road to Lost Lake Trail (786). This smooth fire road climbs gently but steadily back toward Lost Lake. After about 3 miles, a left turn brings you to a rockier and steeper climb that continues until the trailhead on the left for Lost Lake Trail. Lost Lake Trail (from east to west) starts with rooty, rocky climbs, and you’ll really be ready for a break when you happen upon the beautiful Lost Lake. Find your favorite log and enjoy a snack and serenity.

When you’re ready, continue around the right (north) side of the lake over and around logs to regain the trail. You’ll encounter a very challenging, rocky climb before the midway point of this trail, after which you’ll enjoy a pretty long, fun downhill stretch with plenty of rock launches. Take a left onto the unpaved Piney Lake Road (700) (or Red Sandstone Road) for just a bit before a gradual climb begins again after a right turn onto Red and White Mountain Road. This will be your last significant climb for the day, on a scenic and fairly smooth unpaved road. Look for the beginning of Buffehr Creek Trail’s singletrack at a right-hand switchback in the road. Enjoy well-earned fast turns and great scenery as you head down toward Vail. Take a left at the intersection with North Trail: Middle Section and experience a quick drop in elevation via tight switchbacks and cliffside moments. Watch for other trail users on this stretch in particular — there are a lot of blind corners and not much room for error. This trail will thankfully return you directly to your parking spot.

Directions: Ride right out of Vail, heading to Potato Patch Road; no driving to a trailhead is needed.

Biking on Vail Mountain

A couple mountain bikes on Vail Mountain with rugged mountains in the background and colorful wildflowers peppering the grass in the foreground.

Vail Mountain features incredible mountain-bike routes. Haul your bike up the mountain on one of the gondolas or, for those seeking the burn, ride up the mountain and earn a downhill thrill. Be sure to check out the trail map and ride your ability level.

Choice routes on Vail Mountain:

  • Grand Traverse to Mid Vail Escape
  • Radio Flyer to Big Mamba to Hank’s Hideaway
  • Fred’s Lunch to Lionsdown
  • Big Mamba to Mane Lane
  • Side Kick to Golden Gate

Insider Tip: If you have never been mountain biking on singletrack trails, it’s best to start out very easy. Either stick to the paved bike paths in town, or the gravel roads on Vail Mountain. Once you are comfortable with gravel, then venture to our easier mountain-bike trails and progress from there. Find beginner Vail mountain-biking routes and tips.