The next time you are headed into the Roaring Fork Valley, do not forget to bring your dirt jumper, hell, or even your cross-country ride. There is yet another high-altitude playground for the sprocket set here. Carbondale, long the hidden sister to the valley’s other attractions (Glenwood Springs and Aspen), decided several years ago to invest in its outdoor infrastructure as a way to attract families. The North Face Bike Park (no relation to The North Face gear brand) unveiled this August is a worthy addition that is well worth a visit any time of year.
Realizing they had to go big to attract attention, and riders, Carbondale contacted big-jump designer Dave King to build the park. As the owner of Dirt Sculpt, a Pennsylvania based company that specializes in designing and building X-Game- and Olympic- caliber dirt tracks across the globe, he had a certain vision for the area, one that would satisfy the wide swath of the knobby tire crew.
“Looking at the land we had to work with, I knew we could incorporate several structures that would really open this park up to a broad range of riders,” says King. “We designed the park to have several distinct zones, each area appeals to a distinctly different style of riding.”
Three different lines are available on the south side of the park and they range from beginner to advanced, including several aggressive jumps that will test even the most aggressive riders. Plus, the flow tracks snaking through the parched shrubbery on the east side include wall-ride features, high speed rollers and jumps to provide a challenge that will entice you to take numerous laps. The park was built using a $60,000 grant from Go Colorado and a $25,000 grant from the federal government.
“If the park is as popular as anticipated, we have plans to expand in the near future adding in a cross track, plus more features on the eastern side with several races next season,” says Jeff Jackel, Recreation Director of Carbondale.
Located behind Rolling Fork High School, the North Face Bike Park will only be closed when wet (or wholloped with snow); but given Carbondale’s realtively balmy weather it should be open most of the year.
—Hudson Lindenberger is a regular contributor to Elevation Outdoors and other Colorado-focused publications.