Published with permission from the guide book: The Local’s Adventure Guide to Singletrack & Tarmac – Mountain Bike Trails and Road Rides in the Upper Arkansas River Valley by Nathan Ward.
The road from Buena Vista to Twin Lakes climbs gradually but steadily on US 24 along the Arkansas River past valley farms beneath the summits of Mt. Columbia (14,073 ft.), Mt. Harvard (14,420 ft.) and Mt. Oxford (14,153 ft.). After the turnoff west on CO 82, the road traces the shoreline of Twin Lakes to the historic town of Twin Lakes, once known as the “Little Switzerland” of Colorado. There is a general store and a couple of small restaurants in Twin Lakes so you can fuel up before heading home.
Options: Turn around at Granite for a shorter 33.6 mile ride. Or, ride the entire route round trip for a 51.6 mile half-century and avoid shuttling a vehicle. Toilets and food may be found in Granite and Twin Lakes.
Trailhead Access/Facilities: Park in downtown Buena Vista. The ride starts at the corner of US 24 and CR 306/Main Street. If you ride one-way, you need to shuttle a vehicle to Twin Lakes – follow the directions below. The shuttle will take about an hour round-trip from Buena Vista.
Location: Buena Vista
Distance: 25.8 Miles – One Way
Riding Time: 2.5 Hours or More
Riding Surface: Good Pavement
Shoulder: Medium to Excellent
Traffic: Medium, but Heavy on Holiday Weekends
Aerobic Level: Intermediate
Elevation in Feet: Low 7,973; High 9,362; Climbs 1,999, Descends 744
Notes: Try this ride in the morning to avoid the afternoon winds. It’s an especially good Sunday morning brunch ride. Toilets and food found in Granite and Twin Lakes.
0.0 Turn right going north on US 24.
16.8 Old mining town of Granite. Stay on US 24 north.
19.4 This tiny clump of buildings is Balltown. Turn left on CO 82 following the signs to Twin Lakes. The shoulder gets smaller here but the traffic is usually light.
25.8 Twin Lakes. You have arrived!
The Colorado backcountry is popular – bikers, hikers, motorcycle riders, hunters and equestrians use the trail system in the Arkansas Valley, and everyone wants a private piece of heaven. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s motives or methods of travel, please treat them in a courteous manner.
If you require search and rescue services, it can be costly. Buy a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card to protect yourself. Funds from the CORSAR program go into the Colorado Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund. If a CORSAR card holder becomes lost or injured in the backcountry, the Colorado SAR Fund pays eligible search and rescue expenses.
Bicycle riding is a physically strenuous activity with many risks and dangers. Hazards, natural or man made, whether noted in this book or not, can be encountered at any time under any situation. As a cyclist, we assume you know your personal abilities and limitations. This book represents nothing more than a guide to the trails and roads and is not meant to replace your common sense, your ability to navigate in the wilderness or in traffic, or your ability to ride a bicycle safely.
In addition, the mileages and routes listed in this text are only suggestions. There may be variances and you may get lost. We recommend everyone uses a GPS and topographical map to navigate. Most routes in this text are located on public land, but some trails pass through or adjacent to private land. Respect the land owner’s rights and obey all signs regarding trail use. The same goes for wilderness areas which prohibit mountain bike riding. Neither the author, nor the publisher, nor anyone else mentioned in this book are responsible or liable in any way for any accident, injury or any action brought against anyone traveling any route listed in this book. All cyclists and their companions assume responsibility for themselves. Ride at your own risk.
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