Chasing Epic Destinations: Our Seasons of Riding
Here at Chasing Epic, we have eight different riding destinations spread across the four corner states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Without being familiar with each of them, it can be a little daunting trying to figure out the ideal ride season. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
To make it easy on you, we put together a simple chart to show where to ride, and when. We like to categorize our eight destinations into two subsets: Spring/Fall or Summer. For the most part, our Spring/Fall locations can be ridden from March until May, and then again from September through November. Our summer locations are obviously perfect in the summer, but can also be ridden into the fall as well, sometimes as late as mid-October. Whether your planning a private trip or just signing up for one of our scheduled adventures, you can refer to the graphic above to help reference when you need to ask for vacation time or permission from the “boss”!
Angel Fire: June through October
Angel Fire is in northern New Mexico and sits at an elevation of 8500 feet (the South Boundary Trail goes up to 10,000 feet, however), which makes it susceptible to late season snow and colder temperatures. That said, the area is much drier than the mountains in Colorado and Utah, and the riding season is therefore longer. To time your trip to Angel Fire perfectly, we recommend anywhere between early June and late October; anywhere in-between will be perfect with cooler morning temps and afternoon highs in the 70’s and 80’s.
Crested Butte: July through September
The riding season in Crested Butte is tragically short. Because the town sits at almost 9,000 feet and most of the riding is above 10,000 feet (the 401 Trail goes above 12,000 feet!), the snow tends to hang around until early July. On low snow years, the low-elevation trails begin to dry out earlier, but on big snow years the higher stuff like 401/403 can be snowed in until mid-July! To be honest, the riding is amazing anytime during July and September, but there are two specific times that stand out to us. In mid-July, the wildflowers are at their peak and the riding is other-worldly. In mid to late September, the aspens are beginning to transition and are a bright golden yellow, which is an amazing experience as well. Not coincidentally, we’ve scheduled a trip during each of those time frames!
Durango: July through September
Much like Crested Butte, Durango has a very short riding season due to its elevation and proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Most years, the stuff around town starts drying out around Memorial Day, but the big-ticket rides (like the Colorado Trail) don’t become rideable until close to July 4th. And just like anywhere else in the mountains of Colorado, once October hits, the riding season tends to disappear due to early season snowfall at higher elevations.
Fruita & Grand Junction: March – May, September – November
OK, I’ll be honest- you CAN ride Fruita year round if the weather cooperates. That said, if you want more of a sure thing with weather (most specifically WIND!), we recommend planning a trip during the guts of Spring or Fall. The temperatures will hover in the 70s with longer days (and cooler nights), and the riding will be perfect. May and October are the ultimate peak seasons where you’ll find a few more folks in town, and for good reason. There’s nothing like cruising 18 Road at 8:00pm as the sun sets and it’s 65 degrees.
Moab: March – May, September – November
Just like Fruita, Moab CAN be ridden year round… it all depends on your tolerance for heat, pain and suffering. We prefer it as a spring and fall destination, which is why we have a trip scheduled in mid-May 2017. That said, you can have some amazing days in March or as late as November. And if you really wanted to, we’re happy to meet you in Moab for four days of riding in the summer- just be prepared to get really hot! One thing of note in both the spring and fall: depending on snowfall, The Whole Enchilada might only be partially open. The trail starts at 11,000 feet and is susceptible to snow in the LaSals; we’ll know the situation before each trip and will plan accordingly!
Park City: July through September
Another summer destination, Park City can be lumped in with Crested Butte and Durango as a peak-summer riding destination. Because it sits at a slightly lower elevation and has several options around town, we can occasionally sneak in a trip in late June or early October, but most years that’s pushing it. For the best riding conditions, we recommend planning your trip between July and September. Like Crested Butte and Durango, late September means riding in the aspens, and it doesn’t get much better than the Park City area!
Sedona: March – May, September – November
Of all the Chasing Epic riding destinations, Sedona tends to be ready earliest in the year and continues on to the latest riding season in November and even Decemeber. Because the terrain is essentially high-desert, even when it snows in Sedona it tends to melt quickly and the trails are rideable the next day. We’ve ridden in short sleeves in February and into December, but it all depends on how lucky you get! Ideally, the best time to ride Sedona is late March into April, and again in mid-October into early November.
St. George: March – May, September – November
Of all our destinations, St. George can be the most weather-dependent… all because of elevation and the way the trails are spread out between town and Hurricane, the neighboring town to the north east. Most of the riding around St. George- like the Santa Clara trails of Sidewinder, Zen, etc.- are good to go year-round because they sit at a lower elevation. That said, the mesa riding- Gooseberry, Little Creek, JEM, etc- sits much higher (at 5,000 feet), and is susceptible to snow storms that roll through the mountains. Because of this, the safest time to ride in St. George is April/May and again in October and early November. The rest of the spring and fall can be fabulous as well, but the weather can make trail choice a little more limited. Don’t bother looking into a summer trip in St. George, the temperature regularly rises above 110!