Front Range

Perfect Pairings

Classic road and mountain biking rides—and their accompanying boozy rewards.

August 2013

“Après” isn’t just a ski thing. In fact, we burn more energy climbing our signature peaks on two wheels than zipping down them, so we’ve compiled this lineup of cycling outings and their ideal post-ride sipping spots. Consider it the fun-lover’s guide to fluid replacement.

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Monarch Crest Trail via Rainbow Trail / 36 miles round-trip
Elevation Beer Co. / Poncha Springs / elevationbeerco.com
You’ll hug the Continental Divide ridgeline through approximately 11 miles of alpine meadows while topping out just shy of 12,000 feet between Monarch Pass and Marshall Pass on this lung-buster. It ain’t over yet, though: A roller-coaster finale on Rainbow Trail ensures you’ll earn that First Cast IPA, Elevation’s inaugural brew.

5280.com Exclusive: Getting there: High Valley Bike Shuttle in Poncha Springs offers morning escorts to Monarch Pass. The trail begins behind the tourist gondola. Find out more about the trail here

Lookout Mountain / 9.5 miles round-trip
Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza / Golden / woodysgolden.com
Cyclists, hikers, and cars (be vigilant) aren’t the only frequent visitors to Lookout Mountain. Hang gliders and a mix of red crossbills, mountain bluebirds, and more dot the skies above the five switchbacking miles up Lookout Mountain Road to Buffalo Bill’s gravesite (a gain of just more than 1,200 feet). Find plenty more company after the fast descent at Golden’s popular pizza shop Woody’s, where 15 taps await (try New Belgium’s Rolle Bolle).

5280.com Exclusive: Getting there: Ride south on Washington Avenue in downtown Golden, then turn right at 19th Street, which becomes Lookout Mountain Road. View an interactive map of the trail here. 

 


East Orchard Mesa Loop  / 25 miles round-trip
Plum Creek Winery / Palisade / plumcreekwinery.com
Punctuated by views of the Book Cliffs and the Colorado River, this popular, easy loop zigzags from Palisade through the Grand Valley’s lush green orchards and vineyards—priming you for a glass of Plum Creek’s crisp, fruity Sauvignon Blanc on the covered patio.

5280.com Exclusive: Getting there: Head west on G Road from downtown Palisade to avoid a steep hill half a mile east of town—it’s much more enjoyable as the final downhill segment. View an interactive map of the trail here.


Cottonwood Pass / 38.6 miles round-trip
Deerhammer Distilling Company / Buena Vista / deerhammer.com 
This epic Colorado ascent features 4,310 feet of elevation gain, 10 percent grades (and steeper), and hairpin turns—and that’s just one way! The payoff for your quad-burning slog up CR 306: expansive vistas of peak-lined Gunnison National Forest and the promise of clear, sweet Whitewater Whiskey, doubly distilled and made with local grains by family-owned Deerhammer Distilling Company.

5280.com Exclusive: Getting there: Start on Main Street in downtown Buena Vista and head west. Main Street becomes CR 306 between fourteeners Mt. Yale and Mt. Princeton.. View an interactive map of the trail here.


Kenosha Pass to Breckenridge via Georgia Pass / 32 miles one-way
Breckenridge Brewery & Pub / Breckenridge / breckbrewpub.com 
Westbound from Kenosha Pass, the picturesque Colorado Trail travels through aspen groves, open meadows, and lodgepole forest for 12 miles before poking above treeline at Georgia Pass, where a glimpse south reveals the imposing 13,370-foot Mt. Guyot. Take a good look before you drop down 20 flowing miles of singletrack to Breckenridge and your pint of lightly spiced Agave Wheat. (Note: Arrange transportation back to Kenosha before you set out.)

5280.com Exclusive: Getting there: From Conifer, drive about 33 miles southwest on U.S. 285 and park in the Kenosha Pass lot. Posted signs lead to the Colorado Trail. View an interactive map of the trail here.