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Author Topic: Colorado Front Range (Denver & Boulder County Area) (Read 15766 times)
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« on: October 20, 2014, 12:36:29 PM »

I like to ride flowy trails that are require nothing more than intermediate skill.  If you have suggestions in the Colorado Front Range (Denver & Bounty County areas) please let me know what you suggest.  I haven't found anything that I like better than Palos there yet.

I have ridden:
Marshall Mesa - Doudy Draw area plus Dirty Bismarck ( &  It's ok but it really isn't anything special. I think Palos is a much better trail system.

Walker Ranch (  I hiked the full loop and decided that it was above my skill ability to ride.  There would simply be too much hike-a-bike for me if I went there.

Rabbit Mountain (  Small place and really nothing special.  I can't imagine anyone would drive there to ride there.  I'll ride there from Longmont but I'd never turn my car over to go there.

Heil Valley Ranch( and  I think that I rode Picture Rock and the Wild Turkey Loop a few years ago - I rode there from northeast Longmont.  My recollection was that the Picture Rock trail was perhaps one of the best trails that I had ridden on in the Front Range but it's still only 5 miles long.  The Wild Turkey Loop just had a lot of loose rock if I remember correctly and it wasn't really interesting.  I did not ride the Wapiti Trail.

Hall Ranch (  I haven't ridden this but I hiked the Bitterbrush Trail Lower Section and know that it is way beyond my ability.  I guess I need to try coming in from the other side via Antelope Trail and try the Nelson Loop.  Still, doesn't look like a lot of trail to me.

Green Mountain (  I rode here once a few years ago.  My recollection is that it is mostly fire roads and very little single track.  The single track that existed wasn't very memorable - maybe because it felt like there was only 5 miles of it there.  Maybe I missed the most interesting parts but I doubt it.

Chimney Gulch & Apex (, &  I found that climbing up the Chimney Gulch Trail was a pain in the sense that there was just too much hike-a-bike rocky technical sections.  Parts were pretty badly eroded as well.  There were several impossibly rocky and eroded sections of the Lookout Mountain Trail which is why I laugh that it was rated beginner to intermediate.  I tried riding down the Enchanted Forest trail but decided that it was just too technical and too eroded.  Much of it was too steep to be ridden uphill.

At the junction of the Enchanted Forest & Apex trails, I met someone who lived in the Front Range who had ridden the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine system a lot while going to college.  I asked him where in the Front Range I could ride a trail system like Kettle.  He told me that I have to drive to Buffalo Creek but I'm thinking at that point I might as well live here if I'm going to drive 2 hours to such a trail system.

Ride until you are high and then ride some more.

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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 03:22:47 PM »

The picture rock trail is fun but the climbing turns more technical when you get to Heil Valley Ranch.

Check out the Buffalo Creek trails if you have a full day free, I only got to ride a few miles there before storms came in when I was there this summer but the parts I rode were really fun and not too technical for climbing.

Also near boulder the Betasso loops were a lot of fun, similar to palos but with longer climbs and downhills.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 03:29:55 PM by mikeo » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 10:27:39 PM »

Dakoda ridge and red rocks , one of my favorite rides out there

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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 10:34:28 PM »

Marshal Mesa area kinda sucks IMO. I got there often to trail run, if I ride there it's usually on a CX bike.

Walker Ranch is definitely not intermediate.

I've never been to Rabbit Mountain

Heil is much MUCH different post September 2013 insane flooding. Start at the bottom of Picture Rock, ride it up, to the top loop counter clockwise but stick to the outside, when come to Wapiti ride it down to the lot then turn around ride it back up and ride the rest of the top loop still counter clockwise to back to Picture Rock and back down. Its a fantastic ride that finishes with about 7 miles of downhill. All that loose rock on the top is gone, it used to flow better clockwise but now going counter clockwise you climb while it's smooth and descend through some really fun chunky stuff back to the top of picture rock.

Hall is popular when it's linked with Heil/Picture rock. There is a pretty ridiculous super grawly rock garden (if you can call it that, it's LONG, like minutes of solid rock) beyond that it doesn't seem like anything special. I've only ridden there a few times, it's not a top choice IMO.

Here's a GPS route that shows Heil with the top and Picture Rock 9the top is in the opposite direction, and goes into Hall but it gives you a good idea.

Green Mountain is a relatively short nothing special ride but you can link it with Dakota Ridge which in all honestly is far above intermediate.

For staying in town Betasso is super fun with lots of flow and awesome views. The trails are pretty short, you can start from Boulder Canyon and go up the Betasso Link trail which adds some distance and a lot of difficulty. You'll see maybe 1 in 30 that can clear it going up but it's a ton of fun when you have to come back down. I like Betasso but I usually use it as an after work ride. No bikes allowed on Wenesdays and Saturdays, it's 1 way but the direction changes  regularly (I prefer clockwise but it's fun no matter which way you ride it)

Not much further than Green Mountain there's Lair O The Bear, again a pretty short ride but super fun and flowy out and back. It's nice that the back is more than the out as well.

For me I always loved Kettle and Palos was a very VERY distance 2nd. Buffalo Creek blows them both away no contest. It's an IMBA Epic, it drys every well, it's not overly technical (unless you have a death wish, than you can ride BlackJack). On the Epic route everything is ridable, the views are nuts, the scenery changes up a lot, when it's crowded it's so huge that it's not crowded and the flow is second to none. Buffalo Creek tops everything else I've ridden anywhere. Here's a recommended route (basically the Epic route), that ends with like half an hour of flowing almost no pedaling downhill, it leaves you smiling for days.

Another IMBA Epic within driving distance (2 hours north just into Wyoming, you can camp on the trails as well) is the Kurt Gowdy State park. It's intermediate with a hand full of difficult features and a lot of fun. I don't have GPS data from it.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 01:30:00 PM by Ryan the VW Tech » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 09:00:12 AM »

Dakota Ridge Red Rocks Trail is pretty nice. you'd probably like the red rocks side better. It's a bit more flowy. They Dakota ridge side is full of jagged rocks. It's certainly rideable but tough.

Lair O' the Bear is probably my favorite trail in close proximity to denver that I've ridden. If the mileage is too short and you are ok with doing a little on the road you can ride from the top of Lair o the bear to the top of mt Falcon and then take Mt Falcon down.

I've ridden quite a bit near keystone and breckenridge as well and those trails are less than 2 hours from denver.

I have the opposite problem as you. I haven't ridden a trail in colorado that i haven't enjoyed more than Palos. It probably depends on your meaning of "intermediate" are you talking about technical skills, or fitness and endurance? If the rocky trails wont kill you then the climbing will.


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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 09:57:21 AM »

I've done a lot of the aforementioned trails...really enjoyed the Mount Falcon/Lair of the Bear ride...even though we very nearly got struck by lightning, lol.

X3 and HANDS DOWN the best trail I've ridden out there has been Buffalo Creek.  I've ridden it twice, one time in a hailstorm, and it was freakin' GREAT.

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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2014, 03:41:11 PM »

Dakota Ridge and red rocks , one of my favorite rides out there
Dakota Ridge is not flowy and beyond intermediate, but it is a great ride.

If you can't make the turns....take off the training wheels.
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