Road bike riding in Buena Vista:
After settling into your lodging, the Buena Vista-Princeton-Nathrop loop of 22miles begins in downtown where you head west on Main Street to CR 321, Rodeo Road to Mt. Princeton. The short descent to the hot springs is steep so watch it! Heading east on CR 162 will take you through Nathrop to US 285 where you take a left turn and head back to Buena Vista.
Cottonwood pass is a 21 mile journey that gains 4,200 plus feet to the top of the pass at 12,126 feet above sea level. The road has rolling ups and downs along with two stretches of 10 percent grade for a mile each. This locals favorite that starts at the Buena Vista stoplight and heads west, is one tough ride. The rewards are spectacular mountain scenery, relatively light traffic, a half-dozen hairpins and good pavement. Follow this up with a soak in Mt. Princeton or Cottonwood Hot Springs and your day will be complete!
Buena Vista-Leadville-Buena Vista on74 miles of US 24 offer a great shoulder to Balltown and about a 20-inch shoulder into Leadville. The road follow the Arkansas River to its headwaters, north of Leadville. You can add on 12 miles by doing the Mineral Belt Trail or the Turquoise Lake Loop. Start early because the winds usually picks up in the afternoon.
For a shorter jaunt, drive up to the US 24-CO 82 intersection at Balltown and ride through past Twin Lakes through the small townsite of Twin Lakes on up to 12,095 feet above sea level to Independence Pass. The last four miles have some of the most spectacular views in Colorado. This 25 mile ride is one you will always remember. Local tip: Find out the day when CO is planning to open to vehicular traffic, consider going for a ride a day or two before it is opened to vehicle traffic and you will have the whole route to yourself.
Mountain Biking in Buena Vista:
Alpine Tunnel trail is by the ghost town of Hancock. The ride goes up an old railroad grade to Tincup Pass road. It is open from July through September. Start in St. Elmo and head up the jeep road to Hancock, instead of continuing to Hancock lake vear right to the Alpine Tunnel hiking and biking path. Motorized vehicles are not allow past this point. Signage along the routes tells of the early days of the railroad in the area.
This trail spans from Trout Creek Pass down to the the River Park in downtown Buena Vista for a one way length of 18.8 miles. A shuttle is highly recommended dropping you off at the trailhead on CR 311 off of HWY 285, where there is a parking area approximately 0.2 miles on the left. This is a mixed single track and dirt road trail crossing Chubb Park State Wildlife Management Area and other seasonal closure gates, so be sure to stay on the designated trails. Generally this is considered an “easy” ride with few technical areas, easily walkable, and being in the mountains there is both elevation gain and loss. This trail gives you beautiful views of the Sawatch Mountains, the heart of the Arkansas Valley.