(Last Updated On: June 23, 2017)
How many times have I driven through Buena Vista and wondered if there was any good mountain biking to be had. But other than the terrific 13th segment of the Colorado Trail, I hadn’t found all that much. Until now. The Midland Trail, and the numerous trails connected to it, are a great backyard resource for Buena Vista. Many of these trails are new, and worth checking out if you haven’t been there recently. There isn’t quite enough for a full day of riding, but there is plenty for 2 or 3 hours- perfect if you’re looking to break up a drive on highway 285. Here is our route, plus the darker shade that Brittany rode earlier in the year:
The Riverside Park trailhead is pretty impressive- it has everything, including electric car charging. You could also start off of highway 285 above Johnson Village, or at the upper parking area where county road 304 and 376 meet. It looked like there was some decent camping in the area- but also quite a bit of private property. From Riverside Park, we headed out across the bridge onto the Barbara Whipple trail towards some of the newer trails like Bacon Bits and Django. Like other trails built with mountain biking in mind, the new trails purposefully seek out fun and interesting terrain features, weaving in and around rocky outcrops. The crushed granite and sparse trees riding reminded me mostly of Hartman Rocks in Gunnison, or perhaps parts of the front range.
Of course, like anywhere in the Arkansas valley, there were great views of 14ers- in this case, Mount Princeton:
More fun bike moves:
At times, the trails even had a bit of a desert feel to them:
In the end, we rode about 18 miles over 3 hours, including stops- not a bad way to break up the drive to Denver. Buena Vista has it going on right now- the downtown area used to have a number of empty businesses, but now every building seems to be getting a facelift and there are a bunch of great restaurants where it used to be hard to find anything. Let us know what you think if you check out these trails.