2016 Destination Comparison

st. george hurricane rim utah chasing epic mountain biking

I’ve received a handful of emails over the last few weeks asking how one of our locations compares to another, or how I would rate a specific destination when it comes to technical and aerobic (read: climbing and distance) level.  A recent email- thanks Dale- finally inspired me to put together a definitive guide for the locations we offer.  As a disclaimer, there’s a reason we include an 8-week training program with all of our Chasing Epic trips: we want you to enjoy the three or four days of riding you’ve signed up for, not to suffer through a climb only to be miserable on the downhill.  Trust us, fitter means funner!

While this post is sure to get lost on the second or third page at some point in the not-so-distant future, you can always find a direct link to this information at the top of each of our location pages.

Overall Technical Ranking (Difficult to Easy)

  1. Sedona
  2. St. George
  3. Fruita / Grand Junction
  4. Crested Butte
  5. Telluride
  6. Durango
  7. Park City


Overall Physical Level (Difficult to Easy)

  1. Crested Butte
  2. Telluride
  3. Durango
  4. Sedona
  5. Park City
  6. Fruita / Grand Junction
  7. St. George



Crested Butte

Technical Level: Intermediate+

Physical Level: Intermediate – Advanced

First off, let’s get this out of the way:  climbs in Crested Butte are STEEP.  And to add more pain to misery, on average you’re riding your bike above 10,000 feet.  That said, not all of the rides we’ll do in Crested Butte require huge, steep climbs; plus, we’ll wait for you because there’s a good chance we’re breathing hard too.  Crested Butte is likely the toughest location stamina-wise that Chasing Epic offers, but it’s all worth it in the end because the descents give you singletrack that lasts for miles and miles.  If you’re joining us for a trip to “CB”, make sure you get plenty of climbing in pre-trip, as you’ll need the training!




Technical Level: Intermediate+

Physical Level: Intermediate+

While not quite as steep as the climbs in Crested Butte, Durango is still a formidable foe.  Especially when you’re riding on the Colorado Trail, you’ll typically be between 10k and 13k feet, which sucks the air right out of your lungs and the oxygen out of your legs… so be prepared.  The technical level of riding in Durango is intermediate on average, while there are certainly sections of trails (or trails themselves) that can challenge even the advanced riders.  Put in the miles before your Durango trip so you can enjoy the drop-dead scenery and incredible descents this town has to offer.



Fruita & Grand Junction

Technical Level: Intermediate

Physical Level: Intermediate

On the whole, Fruita lacks the large climbs (and therefore descents) that you’ll endure in our mountain locations.  That said, we’ll typically make up for a lack of vertical by putting in more miles, so be sure you can ride for a few hours before your Fruita trip.  Some of our favorite rides in Grand Junction- mainly at the Lunch Loops- have a couple of legit climbs to get to the top, so it’s not all fun and games.  That being said, the technical riding in Fruita and GJ can best be described as “fun”.  Sure, there are some challenging sections- but most of them are the type you’ll want to session over and over because they’re so cool.  A true intermediate will have a blast in Fruita.



Park City

Technical Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Physical Level: Intermediate

On average, Park City is our easiest location on a technical level.  The trails are buffed out singletrack… which means you can go as fast as your risk tolerance will allow!  Sure, there are sections of rock and roots, but for the most part Park City is fairly tame.  On a physical level, we’ll be doing longer rides (15+ miles) that gain elevation at a moderate pace which means you should be in shape accordingly.  For the low-landers out there, we’ll be above 7,000 feet most of the time, so keep that in mind when you decide not to put those extra training miles in!




Technical Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Physical Level: Intermediate

Sedona, by far, is the most technical of the locations we serve.  You’ll encounter everything mountain biking can throw at you in Sedona, so be sure to bring your A-game.  That said, don’t be afraid to test yourself because the riding is super fun, and even the most technical obstacles can be ridden eventually.  There aren’t a lot of big climbs involved with the riding in Sedona, which is nice because it means you can save your strength for the punchy climbs and technical riding here.  Sedona is best enjoyed by intermediate to advanced riders, although there’s something for everyone within the hundreds of miles of trails in the area.



St. George

Technical Level: Intermediate

Physcial Level: Intermediate

The word that best describes the riding in St. George is “fun”.  Technically, there aren’t too many impossible lines or challenges, and everything here is just plain fun to attempt.  From the slickrock riding of Gooseberry to the rocky ledges on the Zen Trail, you’ll be in heaven.  Accompanying that is the fact that there aren’t a ton of steep, long climbs… which means we can put in more miles before you’re worn down and begging for the hot tub.  St. George is our “easiest” spring/fall destination, but don’t be fooled into sitting around on the couch before your trip- you’ll still want to train hard to enjoy all the area has to offer.




Technical Level: Intermediate

Physical Level: Intermediate – Advanced

A wise man once said “You’ve got to get up to get down.”  Telluride is the epitome of that statement: sitting in a box canyon, you’re surrounded by 13,000 foot peaks in three directions, which means one thing: climbing.  There are some STEEP climbs in Telluride, but we try to keep it moderately comfortable by riding trails that break the climbs up into manageable segments.  On the flip side, the technical riding isn’t off the charts in Telluride, so if you’re in relatively fit shape, you’ll have a blast here.  Additionally, the ski resort gondola is literally a stone’s throw from our hotel, which means a “free” 2500 foot climb for some of our rides!


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AUTHOR: Steve Mokan

Steve is the owner (and founder) of Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, and contributes regularly to our blog. He's passionate about providing customers with incredible mountain bike vacations, and he loves photography and travel when he's not working. Truthfully, he loves those things when he is working too.