Whether you are looking for an easy bike path, a long-distance ride on pavement, or an off-road mountain experience, you can access a wide variety of back roads and trails for spectacular rides around Ridgway. The area has more than 40 miles of singletrack in some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, below and through the San Juan Mountains. Cyclists and mountain bikers of all ages and levels will find fun and challenges around the area.
The amazing road-biking route on Highway 62 from Ridgway to Placerville was part of the Ride the Rockies route in 2021. The highway provides a small but adequate shoulder, hits a top elevation on Dallas Divide of 8,970 feet, and rewards the strenuous climbs with tremendous views of the Sneffels range.
A challenging multi-use trail system with fantastic mountain bike terrain was created by the Ridgway Area Trails Group (RAT), the Sneffels Chapter of the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association (COPMOBA). The trails are on the edge of Ridgway and open June through Dec. 1. Go online to www.copmoba.org/ridgway for a trail map and information about local biking.
For biking in all seasons, try the beginner trails at Dennis Weaver Park; they are short but accessible all but a few weeks of the year. Gravel grinding on the lower-elevation county roads is also accessible in summer, spring, fall and the sunnier weeks of winter.
County Roads 17/23 Gravel Grinding
The route starts at Ridgway’s Athletic Fields and ends at Ouray’s Fellin Park. When starting in Ridgway, the dirt and gravel route is more challenging, with a gradual steady climb, and from Ouray, includes more coasting on gentle downhills. If you leave a car at one of the route, or arrange for a ride, you can just do a 12-mile, one-way ride.
RAT Mountain Biking Trails
Most of the system is on public lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management, but bikers should be careful not to get off track on nearby private lands. Located in a high desert area of sagebrush and low pinons and juniper trees, riders have frequent wide-open views of the surrounding mountain peaks.
You can access the RAT Trail System from Ridgway Town Park by riding north on the bike path that parallels the Uncompahgre River. You can also start your ride at the RAT parking lot at Dennis Weaver Memorial Park. To reach the east side of the trail system, you can ride across Highway 550 at County Road 10, you can park in Ridgway State Park and cross the highway. You can climb CR10B, or you can park beyond Second Chance Animal Shelter off County Road 10.
From Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, one trail takes you into the system–The Big Cheese. It’s a 1.5 mile climb with 13 switchbacks that ultimately takes you to the top of the entire network. As you continue to other sections, the steepness and difficulty increase. The trail section names say it all: Speedy Gonzales, Splinter, The Exterminator, and Ratical. On the east side of the system, you can ride Rattus Maximus or the Maze. Rattus climbs to 4 corners and links up with Squeaker (a super fun swoopy descent), the Maze, Rat Trap and Double Crosser.