I’m not one of those gnarly bike riders who tackles rocky trails, downed trees and tall mountains. I will never take a selfie in logoed spandex. I prefer easy bike paths and preferably a destination, whether it be a brewery, farm shop or pretty little park.
So without further ado, I give you three easy bike paths in Western Colorado that provide not only a destination but multiple destinations along the way.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
I always recommend this bike path. It’s paved, flat and there are multiple destinations worthy of a ride, especially on an e-bike. I have written about our experience on an e-bike in Steamboat Springs here. E-bikes are amazing.
If you want an easy bike through beautiful scenery, pedal down the Yampa Valley Core Trail along the Yampa River. I’ve started from the ski resort and I’ve started downtown. That’s the beauty of this path, it’s not just 7.5 miles long, it is a genuine way to get around Steamboat Springs.
A must-stop is the Yampa River Botanic Park. The path goes past this free botanic garden in Steamboat Springs. Open May through October, it sits at 6,800 feet above sea level. Not only does the park host yoga and live music, but it is also a feast for the eyes with colorful blooms, peaceful grottos, and lots of picture-perfect scenery.
The bike path also heads in a northwesterly direction through downtown Steamboat Springs. At Yampa Street visit Mountain Tap Brewery for a craft beer and lunch. I had one of the most tasty salads there. Or, attend the farmers market on Yampa Street. I am a big fan of this market that runs Saturdays, June through September 18. It is where I discovered my favorite salt, “El Jefe” Garlic Habanero Salt from the Steamboat Salt Company.
At the very north end of the trail, make your way safely across Lincoln Avenue and enjoy a cold reward at Storm Peak Brewing Company.
There is a lot to love about Durango. Believe me, it’s worth the drive from Colorado’s Front Range. Something about the melding of cowboy life with ski culture works well in this Southwest Colorado town. And Durango is a great place to get on a bike.
At 7.1 miles long, the Animas River Trail is paved and provides sweeping views of the river. Plus, you might catch a glimpse of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as it chugs its way into or out of town. I’ve also often spy fishermen casting their flies onto the river waters.
I’m sure it’s lovely to stroll along the path, but I’ve usually jumped on a bike here. The goal is to ride to breweries, and of course, the scenery along the Animas River Trail is nice too.
On the south side of the trail and up, up the hill is Ska Brewing Co. Ska Brewing has been around for a long time and I have been around for a long time, so maybe that’s why I like them so much. Or maybe it’s because I got a Modus Hoperandi IPA right off the canning line during a tour. Whatever the reason, we always make sure to stop here when we visit. If we’re on the bike trail—we go—even though I have to push the bike uphill to get there.
Paonia, North Fork Valley, Colorado
There isn’t really an “easy bike path” in Paonia because there is no bike path. However, with little traffic in the North Fork Valley, you don’t have to worry about biking down these country roads. Plus, the roads lead to wineries so, it’s worth it.
I’ve written about the biking we did in Paonia here, now visitors can rent an e-bike rented from SK Bikes on Main Street. An e-bike would be perfect here because there are hills. With many back roads, farm shops, orchards, wineries, a cidery, and a brewery, Paonia was our favorite place in Colorado for a long time. I haven’t visited for a couple of years, but it remains close to my heart. It’s a little slice of heaven in Western Colorado.