Ride Report: Evolution Bike Park/ Outerbike Test Trails

Evolution Bike Park has over 30 miles of singletrack in one of the tightest networks in the valley. Not only are many of the trails built specifically for riders, but many options exist with uphill trails, lift-served cross country, and several good options for flow. With Outerbike coming to town tomorrow through Sunday I figured it was a good idea to get out on the mountain, ride some trails I hadn’t touched, and bring back a report on the best trails for bike testing on the mountain.

I took advantage of Evolution’s Twilight Rides program which runs from 4:30 to 7 on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s only $8 for a lift ticket and as long as it’s not storming out, that’s a pretty darn good deal. Since I only had 2.5 hours to ride I didn’t really take as many pictures as I should have, so you’ll have to forgive me and go look things up on Youtube. Also, I decided not to give this in order of what I rode, but instead in order of difficulty so you can step up your game as you choose.

Green Trails

Painter Boy

In my opinion this is the best green trail on the mountain. It’s long, it rides like a normal stretch of singletrack, and there’s the option to get a beer at the Umbrella Bar halfway through the ride. To get there you’ll need to take Primer, another green trail, from the top of the Red Lady lift until you reach the Painter Boy ridge. From there it’s pretty easy to follow. Want to ride it uphill? You can do that pretty easily by taking Up-Up-and-Away from the base area.

One thing to note about Painter Boy is that it’s a two-way hiking trail, and just because you’re at a bike park doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter some foot traffic.

Blue Trails

Columbine

Columbine might have the best views of any trail on the mountain. After leaving Painter Boy, the first section heads out onto its namesake hill offering 360 degree views before dropping in and out of aspens on its way down to the base area. Some easy rock gardens, a couple little uphills, and some tight switchbacks give you lots of features to test bikes on.

This is also an two-way multi-use trail, so keep your eyes up for uphill riders and hikers.

columbine hill trail at evolution bike park

Meander

Meander is the quintessential intermediate cross country trail and is close to 3.5 miles long from the top of Red Lady. To start, take Primer for about ¾ of a mile and bear right at the first trail junction. The upper portion has plenty of downhill with a couple short, punchy climbs to test your out-of-saddle riding. The bottom half mile is almost all uphill to the Snodgrass trailhead where it’s an easy ride back to the base area on the new bike path.

Another multi-use trail, but this one doesn’t see quite the same amount of traffic. It’s also really nice uphill ride if you feel inclined to switch things up.

Prospector

This is probably the most difficult of the blue cross-country oriented trails on the mountain. Most of the difficulty comes from the sharp switchbacks that sneak up throughout the ride. They tend to be loose and don’t feature any berms so it’s important brake early so you don’t send it off the trail. This ride also ends up back at the Snodgrass trailhead and can make a great loop with Meander that can be ridden either direction.

Black Trails

Avery

Avery is one of the only “downhill” trails that isn’t a jump or feature based trail. In fact this trail is more similar to descents on Dr. Park or Teocalli Ridge than the rest of the park. Starting at the top, a bridge and a couple of other wooden features feed you into a series of switchbacks punctuated with big rock gardens. Further down the run the rock gardens become more frequent and steeper until you reach the runout at the bottom.

Westside

This is quite possibly one of my most favorite trails in the valley. It can be hard to find the start as it drops back behind the top of Red Lady and the first section isn’t all too difficult. Shortly after you’ll see the intersection for Captain Jack’s. Pay close attention here, it may not even be a bad idea to check your CBGTrails map, because it can be an easy intersection to miss. Once you hit this you’re golden as the trail takes you out onto some of the rockier sections of the mountain. After a bit you’ll hit the intersection with Happy Hour, a connector trail providing access to the Upper Loop trails and town, but staying on Westside will bring you back down the base area.

This is the only black diamond multi-use trail on the mountain and may have some hikers or uphill riders on it as well.

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