A longer trail for strong climbers is Sheep Creek, a ten-mile, two-hour loop. This ride is a fall classic because of the dense stands of aspen trees. The trail starts with tough, technical climbing on overgrown jeep roads and singletrack, followed by an hourlong descent on fast, smooth trails. After weaving through a series of steep, tight switchbacks, you cross a meadow with commanding views of Dallas Peak (13,809 feet) and then continue for another five miles on flat and downhill trails all the way back to town.
Perhaps the best part of a biking vacation to Telluride is the number of options just outside the immediate vicinity. You can easily add a one- or two-day trip to any of the famous, aforementioned biking towns surrounding Telluride. Or if you have an extra week, book a trip on the San Juan Hut System, which travels 240 miles from Telluride to Moab with stops at six huts along the way. The route follows jeep roads over the San Juan Mountains, across the Uncompahgre Plateau and into Utah's canyon country. Each hut has surrounding singletrack if you need more than the daily 40-50 miles from one hut to the next. For $350, the folks at the Hut System will stock the huts with sleeping bags and three meals a day, leaving you to carry only your clothes.
Freelance writer Dave Rich is author of Tellurides: The mountain bike guide to Telluride