Coming from Santa Barbara, where it’s dry, rocky, and few opportunities to climb anything but dirt/ paved roads, one of my favorite things about rinding in the Vail area is the seemingly endless opportunity to stay on beautiful, lush singletrack for almost your entire ride. For Day 3, I recommend heading over to Avon/ Beaver Creek and checking out one of two rides–either The A10 Loop or Paulie’s Plunge. If you are looking for a big day (~38 miles and 7k ft of climbing) you can combine bother rides (and add in a short loop on Berry Creek) as I did here (monster ride).
For both rides you can park anywhere in Avon and get on the Elkhorn trail, which takes you up to Beaver Creek Mountain. If you are planning to do the A10 loop, you can follow the ride exactly as it is described on MTB Project– up Elkhorn for roughly a little over 3 miles, right on Village to Village Trail for another 3 miles, then stay straight on the A10 singletrack at mile 6.5. This trail is not marked, so make sure you have some sort of navigation device with you.
The A10 trail starts off pretty mellow through a beautiful meadow/ aspen glade. At just past the 7 mile mark, you will hit a 10-15 minute hike-a-bike that gets you to the top of the climb and an AMAZING view of the Holy Cross wilderness. From here, you are in for an incredible 4 mile descent that puts you out in Edwards (one town west of Avon). Use highway 6 to get back to where you parked your car.
If instead you want to do Paulies Plunge, after climbing up Elkhorn Trail, take a left on Village to Village (for A10 you take a right), stay on Village to Village to Allie’s Way (you will ride Allie’s in the opposite direction as described on mtb project). At the end of the Allie’s singletrack take a right and climb up the dirt road called Cinch for about 1 mile until you see a red box on the left hand side of the road. Behind that box, you will see Paulies.
Paulies is my favorite descent in the Vail Valley. At the end of Paulies, get on the Eagle Vail Trail (another great new piece of singletrack) back to your car.