Biking around the High Country |

Biking around the High Country

Shauna Farnell
Preston Utley/Vail DailyRoad biking in the Vail Valley is scenic and plentiful, such as this section of the ECO recreation path going over the Eagle River at Dowd Junction in Eagle-Vail.

While many drive all the way to the desert for single-track riding through the sand and sage, or take on the climbing required in riding ski area trails at Vail or Beaver Creek, many locals believe the best place to find good dirt is in Eagle.

Eagle has an entire system of single-track trails where one can get lost for hours on a mountain bike, and sometimes never see another soul. Having not quite established itself on the national mountain biking map, a mark will surely be on its way, as a secret like a great single-track system is hard to keep.

“It’s not a secret anymore, I’ve seen a lot of growth and a fair amount of people coming down,” says Charlie Brown, owner of the Mountain Pedaler of Vail bike shop in Eagle. “There’s a lot of singletrack down here. These days, it’s definitely getting its fair share of riding.”

At an elevation of 6,600 feet, Eagle is lower than Vail, and the trail system doesn’t have the same amount of continuous climbing.

“It’s mostly shorter, steeper climbs, but more ups and downs with a more rolling feel than just climbing for an hour on Jeep roads,” Brown says. “It’s semi-arid and looser dirt.”

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The terrain is different from anything upvalley. Dry dirt, juniper bushes, high desert heat and cows are abundant.

Some compare the Eagle trail system to terrain found around Fruita ” a mountain biker mecca. Many of the single-track trails wind tightly through sagebrush and juniper bushes while higher trails such as Firebox and Scratch are a bit more reminescent of riding mesas around Bookcliffs in Fruita, weaving through rutted roads and sometimes strenuous singletrack on Hardscrabble Mountain.

The best places to access the trails are from Abrams Creek Road or Fourth of July Road near the Eagle Ranch subdivision, or behind Brush Creek Elementary School. Parking is available at the Eagle Pavilion off Capitol Street. The moderate-ranked East Eagle and Boneyard trails can be accessed from the trailhead just east of the Eagle Valley Middle School.

Mountain Pedaler on Broadway in old downtown Eagle has area trail maps available for $1.25.

Vail Daily Writer Shauna Farnell is an avid biker who spends much of her free time exploring local trails.

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