Touring Colorado on Two Wheels: Cycle Salida

If you’re searching for a picturesque location on the western side of the United States, Colorado’s Salida should be in your plans for the next vacation. The mountainous landscape and the accompanying scenery make it ideal for various forms of outdoor fun and adventure.

Biking is among the key activities that attract most visitors from different parts of the country and beyond, thanks to Salida’s excellent biking opportunities.

Biking Opportunities All Year Round

Salida has over 40 miles of cycling trails that you can access from the town center and many more miles for high alpine biking. The Methodist Mountain and Arkansas Hills systems are the local trails that you can enjoy your biking adventure throughout the year.

You can have fun on the Colorado Trail, Monarch Crest, and Rainbow Trail systems which offer great single tracks with cooler temperatures and unbeatable views. Buena Vista, the neighboring town, is also actively improving and diversifying the local trail system. Therefore, you won’t be disappointed if you want to explore Salida and the surrounding areas on two wheels.

The town center has many great bike shops and rentals for all the gear and excellent resources like trail information at Salida town. The shops extend equipment rental and sale, repairs, and group guided rides. You can also get the lessons you need if you’re just getting started. The shops include:

  • Salida Bike Company
  • Absolute Bikes
  • Salida Mountain Sports
  • Colorado Sports Recycler

Mountain Biking vs. Road Cycling Activities in Salida

race, cyclist, speed

Whether you prefer high alpine biking or you are an avid road biker, Salida will not disappoint.

Road Cycling in Salida

Besides the beautiful scenery and rich history, the town also offers different terrains for road cycling enthusiasts. The location is also a perfect biking spot thanks to its warmer and drier climate and provides many options

In-Town Biking

There’s a lot to enjoy and see within Salida Town’s few miles, and the perfect way to experience the town’s architectural gems and historic homes is by in-town road biking. Fortunately, about 80 percent of the year has sunny weather, and you’ll probably catch other riders as you take a ride and enjoy the town’s uniqueness.

County Road Cycling

County road biking is a fun way to explore less-traveled roads, allowing you to enjoy the mountain scenery and find adventure. You can access the best county roads for a ride just west of the town via CR-120, CR-140, and CR-160 if you wish to stay off the highway. You can also cover a 14-mile loop by heading west via CR-160, Salida Golf Club, into US 285 via Frantz Lake.

Mountain Biking in Salida

Fall Mountain Biking Salida, Colorado
Fall Mountain Biking Salida, Colorado

The Rocky Mountains cleave Colorado State in two, offering diverse terrain perfect for mountain biking. As a result, Salida is home to a wealth of trails where you’ll test your limits while enjoying the beautiful scenery. The laid-back town is the crown jewel surrounded by a ring of peaks as high as 14,000 feet in altitude, an ideal hub that offers challenging topography and variety.

Here are the different mountain biking opportunities in this location:

S Mountain 

Level: Easy

The S Mountain route, a section of the Arkansas Hills Trail System, is opposite the Arkansas River. You can access several trails from downtown Salida and ascend more than 600 feet to the S Mountain’s top. This trail is ideal if you’re focusing on acclimating to high altitude.

Monarch Pass

Level: Advanced/Hard

If you’re an expert biker, this is one of the routes that you should look into. The good thing is that Creekside Chalet offers convenient access to the trail, which begins right outside your accommodation. You’ll cover over 40 miles and ride 4,200 feet above sea level to the uppermost altitude at 11,300 feet. From the summit, you’ll enjoy fast descent straight to the town center where you can grab a cold beer at Elevation Brewery after a great day on the trail.

South Fooses Creek

Level: Moderate

Fast and fun, this singletrack descent is a local favorite for those looking for speed. Start this ride the same as you would for the Monarch Crest ride – park at the parking lot on the east side of Monarch Pass. 

A relatively short 4-5 mile climb up Monarch Crest leads you to the Fooses Creek descent. You’ll drop ~3,000 feet on fast and extremely fun singletrack. Prepare for steep, short climbs in long forest tunnels and log bridges that let you cross the creek safely through the winding trail.

After about 3.1 miles, you’ll come across the Forest Service sign, where you can turn around or proceed with the 2.5 hike-a-bike experience towards the continental divide, but only if you’re an expert.

Annual Cycling Events in Salida

Nothing beats the fun of interacting with other enthusiasts on a vacation adventure. Salida hosts numerous biking enthusiasts who attend the different cycling events that take place every year.

Here’s an overview of Salida’s bike events calendar:

  • Buena Vista Bike Fest – June
  • FIBArk Mountain Bike Race – June
  • Salida Classic – July
  • Vapor Trail 125 – September
  • Salida Bike Fest – September 
  • Banana Belt Mountain Bike Race – September
  • Monarch Crest Crank – September 

Staying Safe When Riding at High Altitudes

Salida’s altitude is 7,083 feet, and this is already a considerable height above sea level. To avoid issues like acute mountain sickness, let your body acclimate for several days before you begin your cycling adventure. This is important if you come from a lower altitude area. Blood sugar can also drop quickly, so don’t skip meals and stay fueled with carbohydrate drinks or energy bars.

Also, remember to stay hydrated, so drink water even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Be mindful of your breathing and constantly take deep, full breaths.

A Fun and Secure Retreat for Your Salida Vacation

Salida, Colorado, offers genuinely world-class biking opportunities for enthusiasts, professionals, and fun lovers. For an even better experience, you need a great retreat at affordable rates. Creekside Chalets and Cabins is the perfect place to spice up your Salida vacation through quality accommodation. Regardless of your group or family size, we’ll address all your needs in a serene and secure environment.

Get in touch to learn about our units.