Winter Park, Colorado
Winter Park is a small resort about 2hours outside of Denver. I first saw an article in one of the UK MTB magazines for this place and immediately wanted to go. I wasn't disappointed, over 400miles of marked trails, the majority singletrack and really easy to find you way around. The resort is split into two, the riding at the ski resort, where there's a lift, and the riding in the rest of the Fazer valley. I liked the route 'Broken Thumb' you can guess from the name the reason why! The climbs are all do-able and the scenary is fantastic, but watch for that high mountain air! You feal like your brain is about to explode the first day.
The nightlife is fairly lowkey, but I strongly recommend Deno's Diner in town. We combined Winter Park with Moab, Las Vegas and San Francisco - What a holiday!
Tipperary Creek Loop
This is a typical trail, lifted from the free route guide to wet your appetite:
Rating: Most Difficult.
Riding Time: 2.5 - 4 hours
This trail is one of the more popular rides in the valley offering a variety of terrain, from paved and dirt roads to single and double-track trails. In Fraser, head west at the traffic light on Elk Street Road which runs behind the Safeway Centre. Go about 1/4 mile, turn right after passing under the railroad tracks. Follow this road around to County Road 73. Turn left. This road will climb gradually for 2miles. Look for the Northwest Passage trail on your right, just before the cattle guard.
Follow the Northwest Passage until you reach the softball fields. Follow the access road alongside the fields to County Road 50. Turn left and ride approximately 3 miles to the Tipperary Creek Trailhead (just past the second cattle guard). Turn left and begin the climb up the Tipperary Creek trail. Pace yourself, it's a long and steady climb.
You'll encounter the first of two stream crossings in about 1/2 mile. Cross the creek and proceed uphill. The second crossing is about 1-1/2 miles further. The trail begins to level out for a short distance before reaching the top of Morse Pass. The downhill section is fast and furious, so hold on tight. Be alert for uphill traffic.
At the bottom of the pass is St Louis Creek Road. Turn right, then immediately turn left onto County Road 159. Cross over the creek and continue up the road for 1/2 mile to the Flume Trail on your left. Follow this route through lodgepole pine forests and rolling meadows. Be sure to notice the remains of the old water flume that loggers used to transport wood to Fraser in the early 1900's. Take time to stop and enjoy the views of Byers Peak from the lookout point complete with a bench for relaxing.
About 1/4mile past the lookout point, a trail leads off to the left and over a bridge. This can be used as a bail out to St Louis Creek Campground then back to Frazer on County Road 73. To continue with the loop, go straight past the turnoff. The trail now becomes Chainsaw Trail. Follow the trail around a pond (great for Moose watching) and prepare for a tough climb. At the thinned out timber, make a right turn on a double track trail. This trail intersects with the Zoom Trail, but stay left and follow Chainsaw out to Elk Creek Road. Turn left and follow the road back into Fraser.
If you'd like to continue further, turn right instead of left on Elk Creek Road. Continue up the road for about 200 yards. Elk Meadow Trail is on your left....
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