Garfield County road rides not to miss
Garfield County has plenty of roads favored by bicyclists, but it also boasts three fantastic paved bike trails where riders can enjoy pedaling without worrying about cars. Scenery varies from the iconic Mount Sopris to the stunning Glenwood Canyon to lush, green agricultural fields. Bikers can climb Missouri Heights above Carbondale and connect to several paved and unpaved roads for loop rides. Grind up to the cooler air of Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs for a 25-mile out-and-back. There are also miles of roads connecting New Castle to Rifle on the north side of Interstate 70 that are good for riding.
GLENWOOD CANYON RECREATION TRAIL
Distance — 16.2 miles
The bike path is often open in April after rock debris is cleared. Winter snow, however, lingers in some years and floodwaters sometimes close it during spring runoff. Inquire about seasonal conditions at a local bike shop. Shuttles into the canyon are available.
This trail starts near Glenwood Hot Springs at Yampah Vapor Caves on the north side of the Colorado River. Within a mile the trail crosses to the south side of Interstate 70 and follows the serpentine route of the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon’s 16 miles of lush pockets and towering cliffs. The trail passes by four rest areas — No Name, Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Bair Ranch — making it easy to ride shorter parts of the trail or to explore other attractions like the Hanging Lake foot trail.
RIO GRANDE TRAIL
Distance — 42 miles
Roaring Fork Transportation Authority operates a bike bus mid-June through the end of August that can take riders toward or all the way to Aspen for a long downhill back to Glenwood. Visit http://www.rfta.com/bikesonbuses.html for availability, rates and schedules.
The Rio Grande Trail climbs gently along the Roaring Fork River 42 miles and 2,100 vertical feet from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. The section east of Carbondale between Catherine Bridge and Rock Bottom Ranch is closed until May 1 to protect wildlife, but riders can detour on county roads and rejoin the trail a few miles farther along.
CRYSTAL VALLEY TRAIL
Distance — 7 miles
This trail travels up the Crystal Valley south of Carbondale into Pitkin County. It features expansive views of the valley’s pasture land under the towering presence of Mount Sopris.
The trail runs along Highway 133 for its length and can be easily accessed within Carbondale.
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At long last, high school basketball teams return to the court this week as part of Colorado’s revamped winter sports lineup, which has been delayed since November due to the coronavirus.