Looking to get in some miles on the mountain bike this winter? Just head south to the town of Pueblo. Brittany Jones tells us why this the place to be if you have an early season mountain biking event.
When the trails near Denver are covered in snow and you aren’t a skier, winter can seem pretty long. You can still ride your mountain bike though — and you don’t even need to take PTO or book a hotel room. It takes about as long (or less) to get there as takes to drive to Summit County on a Saturday morning, except you avoid the standstill traffic and the lines for the lift. Just go ride your bike in Pueblo.
The Lake Pueblo trail system is my go-to winter riding spot. It’s far enough south that it often stays dry when we’re buried in snow, and while it may not be tropical in climate, the temperature tends to be warmer than in Denver. The trails are wonderfully supported and maintained by the Southern Colorado Cycling Club, who must spend more hours than I can fathom clearing out impenetrable walls of tumbleweeds (thank you!). The Lake Pueblo Trails community is also great about posting trail conditions to their Facebook and website, which is super helpful for those of us planning a 2 hour car trip to get there.
The trails weave across the top of a series of mesas and bluffs that make up the southern shore of the reservoir. The trails that sprawl across the top are perfect for when you want all the miles you can get. There’s no massive elevation changes, no particularly technical sections, just miles of rolling desert singletrack. Have a friend that’s new to mountain biking? Bring them here. Training for an early season endurance race? These trails are your best bet for winter miles on actual dirt.
There are also trails that drop down off of those mesas and bluffs, but they aren’t for your new-to-cycling friends. They are rated as black diamond to double black diamond trails, with drops of varying heights, wooden ladders, and narrow, exposed lines. Because they are in narrow arroyos and canyons, these trails hold their snow and ice much longer than the trails on top, making them even more technically challenging in the winter. They are short little sections though, so when they’re not iced over, they are a great way to challenge yourself in a low-commitment environment.
I have a 100k race in early April and I know I’m going to need to get some good long days on my mountain bike in the next few months, so I’ll be spending some of my Saturdays in Pueblo. Trust me, it’s worth the drive.