A nature tour on wheels | VailDaily.com

A nature tour on wheels

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyAlex Spaeth, a Beaver Creek mountain bike guide, leads a tour up the mountain.

VAIL ” Alex Spaeth led the bikers down the Rose Pedal trail, through a lodgepole pine forest and then into the tall grass of Stone Creek Meadows.

A mule deer wandered through the meadow, and Spaeth gave a quick tutorial on the types of deer in Colorado.

In an aspen grove on the other side of the meadow, Spaeth noted the trees’ natural sunscreen is effective on human skin, too, and that deer chew the bark of the aspen for the salicylic acid, which is a component of aspirin, as a pain reliever.

The tour continued west on the Village to Village trail, which Spaeth said was originally an irrigation ditch for the men who farmed lettuce on the land in the early 20th century. There was a little climbing, but much of the ride was level or downhill.

The trail meandered through wildflowers ” like lupine, cornhusk lily and flax ” before ending above Bachelor Gulch. Spaeth pointed out Cordillera, Bellyache Ridge, Castle Peak and the Flat Tops before the riders turned around and headed back to the village.

You can cover a lot more ground on a nature bike than a nature hike. That’s the idea behind the new guided mountain bike tours led by the Beaver Creek Hiking Center.

The guided tours take place three times a week on the bike trails of Beaver Creek Mountain.

The hiking center already runs guided hikes, including Nordic walking, hikes with lunches, as well a Fourteener hike. The new bike rides are tailored to the level of the students, who can roll gently downhill on service road or brave twisting, black-diamond trails like Corkscrew.

The tours use the Centennial Express Lift, which is the only lift that runs in the summer and can haul bikes up to Spruce Saddle.

Spaeth is an experienced biker who has worked for the hiking center for several years and also works at a Beaver Creek bike shop.

Edward Stoner can be reached at estoner@vaildaily.com

Vail Colorado

Support Local Journalism