10 Aug 2015
Before we start, it is important to note that none of these trails are strictly ‘downhill’ trails. Telluride does have a bike park with free gondola access, but the trails are advanced and quite short compared to the trails listed here.
1. Prospect Trail: Intermediate, 8.4 miles, 804’ ascent, 1855’ descent
Prospect is at the top of this list not only because it’s my personal favorite, but because it has a variety of terrain, challenges and views that will keep you distracted from the leg burn on the short, brutal climbs. The trail is accessible via San Sophia Station (top of the gondola) and heads up the hill towards the ski area. The first leg is evenly split between uphill and downhill and takes you across the entire ski area up onto the top of Sunshine Express lift. The trail splits at the top, left takes you up Prospect Loop, a two-mile scenic addendum to the full trail, and right to continue on Prospect Trail. From here it continues with long, wandering downhill and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. This trail offers a full tour of the ski area with 360˚ views of the surrounding mountains. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, there is no spot where it’s too steep to walk your bike. ~1-1.5 hours back to Mountain Village.
2. Boomerang Trail (Alta Lakes): (with T35 Access) Intermediate
This trail can be a bit tricky to find but is another very fun and meandering downhill that starts near the top of the Sunshine Express Lift. Start up Prospect trail from the top of the gondola and continue to the top of Lift 10. This trail takes you down in the opposite direction as Prospect, toward Alta Lakes road. Although you don’t actually get to see the lakes from the trail (unless you traverse hard left off trail) this is still a beautiful ride through wide meadows (including one called “Magic Meadows”) and aspen groves. I highly advise speaking to locals or purchasing a trail map for this one because there are many wrong turn-offs that can lead you astray onto private property. Make sure you have a friend waiting to pick you up at the bottom of Alta Lakes Road, as it is several miles on the highway back to town. The T35 trail is a fast paced “alternative-ending” that takes you from the highway down into Ilium Valley. From the bottom of Alta Lakes Road, take a right and head up the highway about a third of a mile to the trailhead located near a “40mph Speed Limit” sign. (This trail was originally named T35 because the trailhead was under a 35 mph sign, though the sign has since been changed). T35 is a single track that rips through aspen groves and dense forest into Ilium Valley. It is quite steep so beginners should stay off.
Get excited for your next Mountain Biking adventure in Telluride with this video from Visit Telluride.
3. Jurassic Loop: Beginner-Intermediate
This is one of the longer, easier trails in the Telluride Area. Start below the Peaks Resort off of Country Club Lane, and continue down through Adam’s Ranch Road to the second trail leg that crosses I-45 into Lawson Hill. 2.2 miles of almost all downhill, you can take Jurassic Trail at a comfortable pace. This trail provides great views down toward box canyon end of Telluride, as well as southwest toward Wilson and the Norwood area. Another great aspect of this trail is the mid-journey stop in Lawson Hill for a lunch break. Aemono and Cindy Bread are both delectable deli’s with fresh food and sandwiches, and the Telluride Brewing Company is also on the hill if you’re looking for a well-deserved cold beer. Ride back into town along the River Trail, another very pleasant and easy 3-mile trail of ups and downs. ~1-1.5 hrs into town. The “Gentleman’s Loop” is a full tour of the mountain, starting on Prospect Trail, then take Jurassic down to Lawson Hill and finally the River Trail back into town. ~2.5-3 hours in full.
4. See Forever to Wasatch Connection: Expert
By far the most exciting ride in Telluride with possibly the most brutal uphill in the area. Start at San Sophia Station (the top of the main gondola) and head toward Chair 4 to the start of See-Forever trail. Follow it 2.6 miles past Chair 9 and the Ski Patrol hut to the top of Gold Hill Lift. This scenic point on the trail offers great views of the front side of the ski area, Revelation Bowl and the Bear Creek basin. The second half of the ride is extremely exposed downhill on narrow trails with dry, loose and sometimes rocky ground. There is a significant amount of no fall area near the beginning of this second section so beware. After several steep switchbacks, the trail opens up on long stretches perfect for letting loose on the breaks and really enjoying your ride. The trail eventually comes out onto Bear Creek trail and takes you back down into town.
5. Village Trail: Beginner/Intermediate
Accessed via the top of the gondola, Village Trail is one of the best on the mountain in terms of reward for time and effort put in. A fairly easy combination of XC and downhill, it has only a few short climbs and mostly mellow downhill. Of course, there are a few spots with loose gravel, but take it slow and you will be A-OK as a beginner. Despite being relatively easy, this is still one of the most fun trails on the mountain because it is a bit over twice as long as the bike park, significantly more fun to ride through the forest, and deposits you back near the core.