Bike Guide: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Loveland Pass
The following mountain biking trails at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area are a perfect place to test your legs and lungs. Some of these trails, depending on how much snowfall was received in the months prior and how sunny the skies are from May through June, might not be rideable until July due to the Basin’s ideal location to receive and retain spring snowfall.
This story previously published in the 2020 edition of the Explore Summit Bike Guide.
As for the future of mountain biking at A-Basin, the ski area is working with International Mountain Bicycling Association Trail Solutions to build a 10- to 12-mile backcountry directional mountain biking loop. The loop trail will offer an intermediate to advanced old-school cross-country riding experience on bike-optimized trails. The high-Alpine loop trail will ascend from midmountain to 12,500 feet at the top of the lift-served terrain and head west traversing the ridgeline before descending into the Beavers ski terrain. It’ll finish by crossing the top of the ski area’s Pallavicini terrain before connecting to a bike-only downhill trail for the final descent. It is scheduled to be completed over the next few summers.
There is no lift-served mountain biking at A-Basin, and the ski area currently does not offer bike rentals, beginner trails or mountain bike programming. Electric-assist mountain bikes and motorized vehicles are not allowed on A-Basin’s singletrack trails but can be used on dirt roads. All parking for A-Basin trails can be found at the ski area’s base.
For those interested in road riding, A-Basin is on Loveland Pass, the finish for Stage 2 of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge. The climb up to the 11,990-foot Loveland Pass summit is just over a 1,400-foot ascent on switchbacks to above tree line from A-Basin’s base elevation and where you can park your car in the ski area’s Early Riser lot. It’s a must-do for visiting road cyclists, combining a winding 8-mile climb, if you’re coming from Keystone, with an exhilarating downhill from the Continental Divide.
Loveland Pass is open to vehicles throughout the year, including tanker trucks that can’t go through the Eisenhower Tunnel, so please use caution on this roadway. If you’re looking to earn your grub and beer after some road-bike turns, enjoy lunch on the deck of the ski area’s 6th Alley Bar & Grill after dropping off your bike at your car.
Mountain bikers will find several options at A-Basin. Argentine North Fork is A-Basin’s primary singletrack trail. It begins at Mountain Goat Plaza in the base area and ascends to Black Mountain Lodge at midmountain. Hikers and bikers will find wildflowers, scenic vistas and crystal-clear streams along the way. Mountain bikers can connect to the bike-only downhill trail halfway up or continue climbing to the summit on Upper Summer Road.
Wheels Up is A-Basin’s featured downhill, bike-only flow trail from Black Mountain Lodge to the base area. Full of berms, rollers and optional lines, this playground of a trail was built specifically for bikes. Wheels Up is suitable for intermediate riders (all features can be rolled) and extra fun for advanced mountain bikers. To access, climb the Argentine North Fork Trail to connect to Wheels Up for an awesome descent.
The Summer Road is a steep and rocky service road running from top to bottom. The 1.3-mile Upper Service Road begins at Black Mountain Lodge and takes you well above tree line. It is the only way to access the summit at 12,456 feet. Enjoy stunning views of A-Basin, Loveland Pass, multiple 14ers and the ski area’s resident mountain goat herd known to hang out around the Montezuma Bowl lift. Access this trail via Argentine North Fork and remember to watch for vehicles.
Pali Road is a very steep service road that takes hikers and mountain bikers from the Upper Summer Road (just above midmountain) to the top of the Pallavicini lift. From there, enjoy dramatic views of the Beavers and Pallavicini ski terrain. You can hike to Pali Road via Argentine North Fork or take the Black Mountain Express chairlift.
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