Salida, Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the Western United States. The mountains and their accompanying scenery make this the perfect landscape for a variety of outdoor activities and adventures. One of the best activities to enjoy in and around Salida are the fantastic road biking opportunities. There are many different trails and opportunities for cycling adventures around the Salida area. 

Best Practices While Riding at Altitude

At 7,083 feet above sea level, Salida is already at a considerable altitude. In order to avoid acute mountain sickness, it is essential to give your body time to acclimate to the altitude over several days before engaging in cycling activity. If you live at a lower altitude, this is an important safety tip that you should not ignore. Blood sugar can drop quickly at higher elevations. For this reason, energy bars, carbohydrate drinks, and not skipping meals is essential to stay fueled and keep your blood sugar higher.

Remember to stay hydrated as well when biking at any altitude, but especially in the higher elevations. Humidity is lower in high altitude regions, and you won’t necessarily realize that you are sweating. Keep drinking water, even if you aren’t thirsty. Be aware of your breathing and make sure you take full deep breaths. Shallow breaths will only contribute to depriving your brain of the necessary oxygen for road biking and other high altitude activity. 

Great Road Biking Trips in Salida

Image courtesy of Ryan Taylor.

Salida will not disappoint the avid road biker. The town is rich in history, beautiful scenery and a variety of different terrains. It is also perfect for biking enthusiasts because Salida is in a drier and warmer climate than other areas in the mountains of Colorado. The following are a few different road biking options that you can enjoy. Some of the options include both rocky terrains in addition to paved roads, offering a blend of mountain and road conditions. 

In-Town Biking

From the railroad expansion and gold rush to ranching and mining, the history of Salida is rich and unique. There’s so much to see and enjoy within a few miles of Salida, and in-town road biking is the perfect way to experience it. There are several historic homes and architectural gems in Salida. Weather is rarely a problem, as approximately 80% of the year is sunny! The Salida Trail is perfect for just about any type of bike or rider! Riding around town is not a rare event either. You’ll probably catch several others out and about riding through town. Try taking a ride through the streets and enjoy the beautifully restored homes and buildings. Stop off for a little refreshment at one of the locally owned and operated small restaurants while on your ride. 

S Mountain- Arkansas Hills Trail System 

Right across the Arkansas River is the S Mountain route, part of the Arkansas Hills Trail System. Multiple trails begin in downtown Salida and going to the top of S Mountain where you’ll ascend over 600 feet. This route is the perfect trip if you are working on getting acclimated to the altitude. At just over 7 miles, the short distance is the perfect first ride. Once you get to the top, you will get to enjoy a breathtaking view, which is a bonus that you don’t get just anywhere. These trails are almost always accessible because of the great weather Salida enjoys through most of the year. 

Monarch Pass

Expert bikers may want to look into the Monarch Pass route. Cyclists who stay at Creekside Chalet will enjoy the convenient access to this trail. This trail begins right outside your Chalet! Head up the pass to the summit of the trail that about 23 miles each way and you’ll travel 4,200 ft. to an elevation of 11,300 ft. making it quite a workout for your lungs. Once you hit the summit you can enjoy the rush of a fast downhill descent back into town for a cold one at one of our local breweries. Traffic picks up through the day so that this one may be perfect for an early morning trip. 

County Road Biking

Salida has several great road biking options along many of its county roads. Traveling county roads is a great way to see the road less traveled. Finding an adventure and enjoying the mountain scenery using these roads around Salida is always a popular option. The Mountain Mail has provided a number of county roads in Salida that are suitable for a ride. Access these trails just west of Salida by way of CRs 120, 140 and 160 for off-highway rides. For a 14-mile loop from downtown, head west on CR 160, Crestone Blvd., by Salida Golf Club, out to Frantz Lake, then to U.S. 285. Turn south on 285 up Hurricane Hill and head east on CR 140, passing Harriet Alexander Field, and on down Airport Hill. For another option, turn north at CR 160/285 to CR 291 back to Salida.

Getting Geared-up

Salida offers many great shops for getting all the gear you need and providing excellent resources, including group rides and trail information. Salida Bike Company provides equipment, trail information, and even offers classes for those that are interested in getting started in biking. Absolute Bikes of Salida offers equipment sales and rental as well as group guided rides. They also handle equipment repair if you have the need. 

Local Events

The Salida Bike Fest is an annual event every September in Salida. It includes the Banana Belt Loop Mountain Bike Race, Soul Ride, Absolute Women’s Group Ride and the Salida History Tour Bike Ride. These rides and so much more are part of the Salida Bike Fest that you won’t want to miss. 

The Salida Bike Fest is an annual event every September in Salida. It includes the Soul Ride, Absolute Women’s Group Ride and the Salida History Tour Bike Ride. These rides and so much more are part of the Salida Bike Fest that you won’t want to miss. 

Biking opportunities in Salida, Colorado, are genuinely world-class. Creekside Chalets offers a great retreat any time of year for your trip to the Banana Belt of Colorado in beautiful Salida. Contact us to get you started toward booking the trip of a lifetime. 

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