Summit County Bike Guide: Keystone Bike Park green line (video)
Keystone Bike Park
What: A lift-accessed downhill bike park for riders of all abilities, featuring a lower skills park and 55 miles of trail with berms, drops, rail bridges and more
Where: River Run Village, Keystone Mountain
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends
Season: Daily until Sept. 7; weekends only until Sept. 20
Cost: $42 for single-day pass
A single-day pass includes unlimited bike haul on the Summit Express lift, located next to the skills park and jump line. All equipment is available from rental shops in the River Run base area. For more info on the bike park, including special events and races, see http://www.keystoneresort.com.
SUMMIT DAILY — Ask just about any mountain biker, and chances are they’ll agree: descending beats climbing any day. A select few live for the brutal, lung-busting challenge of a steep climb, but after grinding for an hour or two, just 15 minutes of barreling down singletrack is still one hell of a reward.
And then there are downhillers. These daredevils completely skip the torturous grind and, instead, get a rush tackling the sort of features most cross-country riders avoid: massive boulders, 25-foot drops, corkscrew log bridges and berm after berm after berm. They’re the downhill skiers of the mountain biking world, and just about anyone who enjoys bombing groomers on a bluebird day will find the same rush on a downhill bike.
But everyone has to start somewhere, even Alyson Cockrell. The longtime Summit local and veteran ski patroller exploded onto the downhill scene when she took first in the women’s pro division at the 2015 Big Mountain Enduro. Her competition might have been surprised, but she had the upper hand all along: The BME was held in her backyard at the Keystone Bike Park, home to 55 trails for beginner, intermediate and pro-level riders.
With less than a month remaining in the downhill season, Cockrell introduced the Summit Daily bike guide crew to seven of Keystone’s finest green trails. She’ll see you at the bottom.
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Know before you go
There’s no official age limit at the bike park, but the trails and features are designed for intermediate and advanced riders only. A downhill bike and gear (full-face helmet, shin guards, knee pads, motocross jersey) are highly recommended for bike park riders. If you stop on a trail, move to the side immediately — the bike park is filled with blind corners and drops. A Colorado mountain bike group, the VIDA MTB Series from Yeti Cycles, hosts female-only clinics every Wednesday through Aug. 26 to teach beginners downhilling basics. For $30, participants get a haul pass, bike/gear rental and on-hill instruction with local coaches from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reserve a spot by calling the resort at 970-496-4386.
Think of the green line (and all lines) at Keystone Bike Park as ski runs: one trailhead leads to several different connectors, all of which branch across the front side of the mountain before leading back to the River Run base area. All trails are clearly marked, with names and the colored difficulty symbols familiar to skiers.
The trailhead for the first green run, Girl Scouts, is found a few hundred yards from the top of the Summit Express lift. From here, Cockrell suggests following a relatively mellow line: Suz’s Cruise, Let It Ride, Celtic Way, Bluegrass, Sleepy Hollow and Easy Street, before ending at the green skills line in the base area.
Every trail boasts different features, but none of the trails have drops or highly technical rock gardens. Expect a mix of dirt berms, log bridges and narrow, whip-fast singletrack through tight pine corridors.
From Interstate 70, take Exit 205 at Silverthorne and turn left (east) onto U.S. Highway 6. Drive 6.2 miles past Lake Dillon to the free Montezuma Lot at River Run Village.
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