Two-Elk Trail (off I-70) - TRAIL

Two-Elk Trail (off I-70) - Trail, Vail, Colorado

Pavement ride from Vail to trailhead. Maybe 8-9 miles or so. Very gnarly singletrack climb once you pass under I-70. Many roots and off chamber riding. This trail is good only from July to early September. Once you're on top, there are several options. 1)Take a right and go to the top of Benchmark for a 3,500 vertical 13 mile descent down Mill Creek Road (double track). 2)Continue going west and keep riding Two Elk trail into Minturn. 3) Go north up Commando Run to Shrine Pass Road.Or, 4) Continue going west and instead of diving into the Ravine that is Two Elk trail, bear right and climb out via the China Bowl service road descending through one of many Vail Mtn trails.

User Reviews (14)

Showing 1-10 of 14  
G Harp   Weekend Warrior [Jul 15, 2013]

Please understand this is a very technical ride with lots of potential for going over your handle bars. I enjoyed the ride very much but if you are not a 7 or above on a scale of a 1-10 in terms of mtn biking skills don't even think about attempting this ride unless you want to get injured. The last 4 miles down into minturn are true singletrack with many technical spots and chances to fall 50+ft down into a river and truly injur yourself. I consider myself an average mtn biker and this trail was way above my pay grade...so fair warning for all you weekend riders....plan to wear lots of body armour or take a trip to the hospital....

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
dludwick   Cross Country Rider [Sep 10, 2012]

Aggressive, tough single track track trail with grand views, pleasant flows, and technical narrow peddling.

Customer Service

From the top of Vail Pass there's about 3 miles of well maintained dirt road. Turn right at Bowmans Shortcut and it's another 4 miles of rutty, rocky, all around aggressive uphill that pay's out a spectacular view Holy Cross territory to the south and the sky piercing Gore Range to the north; this is the top of Battle Mountain. From here it's initially downhill to the back bowls of Vail Ski Resort where you get the smooth and flowy single track. But then you dump into the narrow valley that is Two Elk Trail. This part of the trail follows Two Elk creek down into Minturn. From here it's very technical riding. Drop offs, rocks, chainring grinders, roots; very fun if you have the patients for this kind of riding.
I'd recommend shuttling this ride unless you want to attempt riding up that crap. I wouldn't.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
3
Matt   Weekend Warrior [Jul 24, 2011]

One of the best rides in CO. Did it as an out and back last year which makes for a loooong climb back out of those bowls (can you say implosion!). The single track is as good as it gets, handle bar high grass/meadow sweeping back and forth for miles and miles through Vail's beautiful back bowls. Not many peeps back there either, except for the guy w his 22lb hardtail and super light (by then taco'd wheel) carrying his bike. Do it if you can, shuttle it if not sure about almost 6000 ft of total climbing, yup its a ball buster as an o&b! Could be a worthy shuttle if connected with Meadow Mtn ride and leave car at Battle Mtn HS. Due to ridiculous snow this year prolly still wet.

Similar Products Used: searle/kokomo pass,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
frickinGUY   Weekend Warrior [Jun 15, 2011]

not a lot of reviews here so i'm going to add my two cents. rode this trail september 2010. holy baby jeebus! steep ups and downs on commando. rooty, rocky, and lots of fun up top with excruciatingly steep but short climbs up. the trail opens up to killer views up top. the descent down two elk to minturn starts off flowy, smooth, and sinewy. that all ends fairly quickly and turns into babyhead central. watch yourself on the bottom. big rocks pop out of the side, are on the trail at points making it unrideable, and babyheads (lots of em). the rocks are prevalent enough it destroys the flow of the trail making it pretty annoying.

the scenery on commando/bowmans is breathtaking and worth the ride alone. two elk is kind of ....meh. not my fave but entertaining. if they would clean it up to help the flow it would make for a killer 4k ft descent making it an epic ride in my opinion.

Customer Service

up shrine pass to bowmans shortcut aka commando run down two elk to minturn.

Similar Products Used: i think next time i'd ride commando to top of vail mtn then poach into vail resort's DH tracks.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Radekal   Cross Country Rider [Oct 04, 2009]

Fall Epic. 36 miles. Nobody there. Great singletrack downhill in mid September and want to go back for wild flowers in late July

Customer Service

Wanted to make this a loop. Started at Vail Pass rest area and headed up road to Shrine Pass and over to Lime Creek junction for Commando Run via Bowman's Shortcut. Good singletrack winding climb with not a lot of hiking even for me being a single speeder. Map made it look worse. Great views up top to junction of Two Elk. This starts the descent into the back bowls of Vail and continueing on into the very techincal drainage coming out above Minturn. Hooked a left and followed the railroad tracks to the road bridge and then up the road to Redcliff. If it wasn't raining would have had a beer at Mango's but headed up Shrine Pass for the 11 mile grind back to the vehicle.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
scott   Cross Country Rider [Jul 07, 2008]

Hike a Bike to the top! Rode this on July 6th 2008 and it was almost dry (only a few big snow piles to climb over). i'd say 85% of the trail to the top from the Vail bike path is Hike a Bike. sure you can ride but around each corner is a fallen log or gnarly rock garden. prepare for this long strenous climb! (at least 45 minutes of hiking). descended down two elks to Minturn and it was rad. super fast single track (a little overgrown with plants/tress) but fast. the bridge over the creek back to the car was completely gone! luckily there was a sketchy log and with some creative minds we figured out how to get 7 dudes with biokes across.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
wdiones   Cross Country Rider [Mar 09, 2008]

If you are reading this review you are a chosen one. Only certain folks would care to understand what this trail is all about. Pretty sure it is legal to take a bike on this singletrack, but lots of people would suggest that is not a good idea. Pushing yourself to haul 25-30 pounds of metal up a serious incline at altitude is commendable and stretches the continuum of human possibility.

Two Elk can be climbed with lots of hike a biking. Or, it can be ridden down, which is pretty darn fun - but also dangerous. Check out 10th Mtn Divison, Minturn Mile, Benchmark, Mill Creek Road, Vail Mtn, The Grand Traverse, Shrine Pass Road and Vail Pass to learn more about the topography that makes this place special.

Always tell someone where you are going - check with The Ranger, and Avalanche forecast before engaging in the act of backcountryization. All the best Bubba Mctailfeather/Heavy Jumbo - original poster of this trail a decade ago.

Customer Service

leave from vail or ride down from the top of vail pass

Similar Products Used: Lost Lake - see if you can find it.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
p2moguls   Cross Country Rider [Jul 22, 2007]

As many reviews state, epic is the word for this ride. Once you do it, you're hooked and most, if not all other rides that you used to rate as epic, have to be reevaluated. This ride has it all, views, wildflowers, aspens, creeks, physical and technical challenge, sweet singletrack and best of all, solitude. Even though you pretty much know where you are at all times, it has a very adventurous feel. We were out all day to do the route we last chose and saw only one other small group of 3 or 4 riders at the Orient intersection. The length, variety of options and physical challenge of this ride limit the amount of riders. A word of caution, the scenery is somewhat distracting...keep the eyes on the trail when the tires are rolling (unless you're fond of your doctor/dentist), especially during wildflower season when obstacles can sneak up on you. A word of advice..NEVER do this ride without you're camera. It adds some time to your ride to stop often for photos, but is always well worth it.

Customer Service

26 miles or so as described. From the Vail Pass rest area, ride up Shrine Pass Rd. to Lime Creek Rd. up over the Top of The World, then Commando to the Bowman's shortcut to Two Elk. Two Elk to the Sleepytime Road, back up to the Wildwood Lodge, then past the Game Creek Express to Grand Traverse. Then pick up the Cougar Ridge back to the lower portion of Game creek and back to Ranger station shuttle. Can also go out on Two Elk, or up and over to Game Creek from the front side of Vail.

Similar Products Used: Meadow Mountain, Buffehr Creek/Son of Middle Creek/North Trail, every rideable section of the Colorado Trail (Kenosha, Georgia Pass, all forks of the Swan, Gold Hill, Searle Pass-Kokomo, Twin Lakes etc.), West Jefferson from the CT on Georgia, Keystone Gulch/West Ridge to CT to Aqueduct, etc. etc. etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy   Weekend Warrior [Jul 07, 2007]

Just cranked out 18.5 tough miles. Started at Vail Pass - took Shrine Pass road to Lime creek - good warmup At about 4.5 miles, found Bowman's Shortcut. Ascended another 4.5 to Two Elks Pass. I took Two Elks NE down to I70/Recreational Trail and back to Vail Pass. The climb up Bowman's has a few tough stretches and switchbacks - well worth it. Unbelievable views and great trail condition mid July. The descent down Two Elks is a little rocky and rutty steep, but mostly do-able. The Ascent back up to Vail Pass sucked. Would have liked a car at Vail.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
drosborne11   Cross Country Rider [Jul 09, 2005]

This is just one of those trails that you need to do in your lifetime if you consider yourself a serious mountain biker. Word of caution: wait for at least mid-July until you try the route described. I tried it the end of June and ended up aborting the ride as planned but found a nice alternative down the Lime Creek Road jeep trail. I went back this weekend and bagged it leaving a big smile on my face as I rode into Minturn.

Customer Service

The route I completed was different than the one described and one I highly recommend. From Vail pass, ride up over Shrine Pass to Lime Creek Road. Take Bowman's Shortcut after about half a mile. It is very well marked. This is one sweet climb with numerous switchbacks and amazing scenery at the Top of the World with views of the Gore Range on your right and Holy Cross Wilderness on your left. From there it is up and down over roots and logs until finally the downhill begins. Take the Two Elks trail to Minturn and let the good times roll. Pass beneath all of your favorite back bowl runs and enjoy the abundant wildflowers. The trail comes out at a dirt road that will take you to Minturn. A shuttle is recommended but a loop could be completed via Red Cliff to Shrine Pass Road.

Similar Products Used: Cougar Ridge, Game Creek Trail, Matterhorn, Son of Middle Creek, Buffehr Creek, Red and White to Davo, Meadow Mountain and Polly's Plunge
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 14  

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