Find your trail—and meet fellow riders—at Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park
For city dwellers, who may be an hour or more from the nearest trail, mountain biking is often relegated to the weekends. But the growing popularity of urban mountain bike parks—such as the city-owned Valmont Bike Park in east Boulder—is changing that reality. The parks allow both newbies and experts to hone bike skills and meet kindred spirits, without a long trek out of the city.
“We see bikers from 2 to 70 years old,” says Mike Eubank, Valmont’s project manager. “We get beginner riders, families that have pulled their bikes out of the garage for the first time ever, but also pro athletes.”
Valmont—which offers four miles of skill-building trails for all levels of riders, as well as dirt jumps, pump tracks, free-ride courses and all the facilities of any other park, including a playground and picnic tables—is the nation’s largest urban mountain bike park. Since Valmont’s ribbon cutting two summers ago, the $5.5 million park has welcomed nearly 70,000 cyclists to ride, demo bikes, and participate in clinics, camps, races and even community cleanups. Its in-town location has made it a place where like-minded bike enthusiasts bond. “A bike park brings out the best in everyone,” Eubank says. “And at Valmont, it’s a community sport; people are friendly and supportive.”
Urban mountain bike parks have sprung up all around the country, from downtown Seattle in the West to Essex, Vt., in the East. And if you live in Chicago, San Jose, San Francisco, Denver, Golden or Frisco, keep your eyes peeled. You may have an opportunity to pedal your own hometown park soon.