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Big loop to the Two Elk DH, starting and ending in Vail.


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Map Key

30.8

Miles

49.5

KM

65%

Singletrack

11,814' 3,601 m

High

7,746' 2,361 m

Low

4,080' 1,244 m

Up

4,081' 1,244 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

33%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features Views

Overview

This is one route option for those looking to ride Two Elk down, getting there and back all by bike, as opposed to shuttling or taking the chair lift.

The initial 10-mile climb isn't difficult but it is long. The 10-mile Two Elk descent is of course amazing fun and very scenic. The remaining 10 miles is mostly flat on dirt road, paved road in Minturn, and paved multi-use paths.

Overall, this is a long, strenuous ride and you'll want to bring plenty of food and water. Rated black/difficult due to the long descent down Two Elk being fast and narrow with some steep exposure and rocky sections.

Need to Know

Minturn has a few bars/restaurants and a gas station, good place to rest and refuel because there's still 7.5 miles of mild pedaling back to Vail. Despite being high elevation, this area can get pretty hot in the summer so it's best to start early. Also being high elevation be sure to check the weather and plan accordingly since you'll be out for a long time.

Description

This is a big ride starting in Vail resort. Starting with a 10-mile and about 3,600'-climb on the north/northeast side on maintained dirt roads followed by doubletrack and non-maintained dirt roads. The climb isn't very steep but being 10 miles it starts to feel difficult towards the top.

The 10-mile amazing scenic descent takes you down Two Elk Trail, then a few miles on flat road to Minturn (good place to stop and refuel if needed). From Minturn, it's about 7.5 miles back to Vail on some dirt/paved roads, but mostly paved multi-use paths. In my experience the last 5 miles on paved path was strenuous due to the length and time of riding at that point, plus its ever so slightly uphill going back to Vail.

The total time it took was 5.5 hours including breaks, everyone's pace is different of course but be prepared for a long grueling day regardless.

Starting in Vail Village, ride up Gitalong Road. After about 0.8 miles(as Gitalong does a hairpin turn), go left on Mill Creek Road (aka Village Trail on MTB Project). After about 2.3 miles, you'll pass another road and will continue east on Mill Creed Road (aka Mill Creek Trail on MTB Project).

At this point it goes from a maintained dirt road to doubletrack and not-so-well maintained dirt road. After about 6 miles, you can either do some hike-a-bike to the left to reach an 11,800' peak for some amazing views, or continue right to the ridge where the descent will start.

This is a good spot for a long break and to refuel, there's a long descent and still some pedaling back to Vail.

From the top of the climb, go west down Commando Run Connector for about 0.5 to 0.8 miles (depending if you went to the peak or not), this has a few rocky sections along the way. Keep a close eye out for Two Elk Connector to the left (south), which you can see will go past the top of the Mongolia T-bar lift. Take the Two Elk Connector south about 1.6 miles down to Two Elk Trail. Take Two Elk Trail west 10 miles where it dumps you out to a dirt road. Take the dirt road a few miles north to Minturn.

Minturn is good spot for a break and getting some food/water if needed since you still have about 7.5 miles to go.

After going through Minturn on the north side of town, stay right/north on Main Street as it goes across the bridge (not recommended to continue on the highway here because there's practically no shoulder). Take a right just past the bridge on Rail Rd, which will continue north as Minturn Rd. Continue north until you cross the river again, then take the paved bike path north, eventually needing to take the shoulder along the road for a short distance.

Shortly after going under I-70, you'll see the paved multi-use trail to the right/east, take that all the way back to Vail.

Shared By:

John S.

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes

#3

in Vail Resort

#1190

Overall
  5.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Vail Resort

#229

in Colorado

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Photos

Sunset at 11,600'.
Aug 27, 2013 near Vail, CO
Biking through Vail's Back Bowls
Jan 16, 2020 near Minturn, CO
July flowers on the Gore Creek Valley Trail
Jul 6, 2013 near Vail, CO
The surprisingly easy connection from Two Elk trail to the ski area is really nice.
Nov 16, 2012 near Vail, CO
At a backcountry campsite above East Vail Chutes.
Aug 27, 2013 near Vail, CO
Thomas zig'n and zag'n through vail resorts outer Mongolian Bowl
Sep 19, 2013 near Minturn, CO

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