When Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park opened in 2011, it was the culmination of 15 years of hard work on the part of the volunteers, designers and city leaders who brought this one-of-a-kind playground to fruition. They envisioned a place where bikers of all levels could enjoy a variety of terrain, from training-wheel friendly trails to daredevil-delighting dirt jumps. And they wanted to build it within Boulder city limits -- a place where land is not cheap. The challenge in creating a fun, functional park that could stand up to heavy riding and harsh mountain weather was indeed daunting.
Luckily for the people of Boulder, this vision was not compromised. Boulder brought in experts from a variety of fields to complete the park: trail designers, sustainable environment professionals, pro mountain bikers and park managers all had a hand in the finished product. When the park formally opened, it set a new standard in bike park technology -- all of it free to local residents.
There are varying levels of trails in the 42-acre complex for mountain bikers of all levels. Beginners can cruise on the rolling paths that feature optional training obstacles. Intermediate riders can hit up the pump park or shred the advanced trail obstacles and dirt jumps. All out maniacs can challenge the huge jumps and dirt features. Oh, and in the middle of it all is a world-class cyclocross course that has already hosted several major competitions.
Skylar Beck, park manager for Valmont City, oversees park operations and maintenance and has watched bike culture evolve in the park over the years.
“The great thing about Valmont Bike Park is that there is something for everybody,” says Beck. “The park was designed similar to a ski resort in that there is a beginner, intermediate, and advanced lines.” Valmont Bike Park users can progress in their riding skills and challenge themselves a little more each time they come. Bikers of all ages and abilities can enjoy themselves here and also work to improve their skills. On a daily basis, you’ll find anyone from little kids on strider bikes to thrill-seekers on the gravity features all the way up to the professional athletes who compete around the world. Valmont Bike Park is truly a unique facility where all bikers can congregate and enjoy doing what they love.
Valmont Bike Park is open year round. During the peak summer season an average of 500 visitors ride the park each day. Throughout the year, Valmont Bike Park hosts clinics for riders, individual coaching sessions, and race events both large and small. An estimated 30,000 pass through Valmont Bike Park each year.
Keeping the park in good shape through four seasons presents a challenge, but luckily Boulder’s famously favorable weather makes it a little easier.
“Weather is the biggest challenge with being open year round,” explains Beck. “When it rains or snows, the bike trails are damp and can sometimes take days to dry out. The good thing about living in a place where it is sunny 300 days out of the year is that the trails do dry out fairly quickly after a storm. That allows us to be open during all seasons. We update our Facebook page fairly regularly regarding park openings and closings. You can follow us at Valmont Bike Park on Facebook and @bikevalmont on Twitter.”
It is safe to say the Valmont Bike Park has met and exceeded the original vision. With an estimated 30,000 visitors annually, the park continues to grow and host several competitions each year in cyclocross, slopestyle and dirt jumping.
The Valmont Bike Park is open year-round, dawn until dusk, weather permitting. You can learn more about the park and download a trails map here. Note that there are no bike rental facilities on site.