Since I started road biking in the summer of 2011, I have found many different routes in and around Denver. Below are my Top Ten Routes for Biking in Denver. Well, I wouldn’t really say top ten, but there 10 routes with varying levels of difficulty that show the variety of bike rides that can be found in our area. I’m sure you may have your own favorites. I know I have a few more that I could have easily added.
Cherry Creek Bike Trail
This is one of the best rides for recreational users. It stretches from Confluence Park in downtown Denver all the way to Parker. It is relatively flat — the only “hill” is getting over the Cherry Creek dam. Along the way you cruise along the Cherry Creek and get top see lots of downtown Denver, the 4 Mile Historic Park, golf courses, and, of course, Cherry Creek State Park. The trail goes under most of the streets along the way so it is a great ride for those that like to avoid cars.
Cherry Creek State Park
This state park is ideal for cyclist. I usually do a combination of using the bike paths and the roads within the park. It is about 10 miles using the route that I normally ride. You’ll have great views of the reservoir, wildlife and the Rockies. You can pick whether to go around in a clockwise or counterclockwise ride. Although some of the riding is on roads, you will generally find the drivers a bit more patient than those outside the park.
Up near Boulder, there are a lot of cyclists and a lot of roads to ride. For a pretty flat ride, you can stay out east between towns like Niwot and Hygiene. I mapped one ride up there, but you can probably find many others by talking to cyclists on your ride. If you do go to Hygiene, make sure you stop at Mary’s Market and Deli. It is a quaint stop for many cyclist – with great food and hydration that you need to continue your ride.
Elephant Rock isn’t really a place, but in reference to the annual Elephant Rock cycling event in the Castle Rock area. I mapped out one ride in that area, but again, you can deviate from that to add/reduce miles or climbing. It is a great place to train for long rides. There are lots of rolling hills and wind — perfect fro making you stronger on the bike.
Ready to climb? Deer Creek is one of the first climbs many recreational cyclists try — it was mine. The route winds its way up Deer Creek Canyon which is just southwest of Denver. The road can be tight in spots, so be mindful of cars. The best part about this ride is the descent. Once you are done with your climb, you can fly back to your starting point! If you are feeling adventurous, about half way up Deer Creek, turn left on to High Grade Road and continue to Pleasant Park. It is a bit steeper and longer, but worth the challenge.
Ask any semi-serious cyclist around Denver what their time is on Lookout, and they will probably know it off the top of their head. It is 4.3 miles and just over 1,300 feet of climbing. It is one of the benchmarks for many cyclists and provides awesome views of Golden and Denver. On your way up, you will see many cyclists and the occasional long boarder or paraglider.
Morrison to Evergreen
I like this ride because it connects two of my favorite little towns – Morrison and Evergreen. Morrison is home to Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge, both of which are easy to add to any biking ride starting out there. Evergreen centered around Evergreen Lake and makes a perfect stop for pizza at Beau Jo’s! Again, the road may be tight and highly traveled, so watch out for cars.
Loop of Hell
This is an all mountain ride that was introduced to me when I was doing my first Team in Training season. We would start in Idaho Springs, make our way to Evergreen via I70 frontage road before we headed over Squaw Pass and then back to Idaho Springs. It is a great loop that is 42.5 miles and 4,200 feet of climbing. The grades aren’t that steep, but it is just long and steady. One of the nice things about the loop is that you can start anywhere you want on the loop and go in either direction. I like starting in Idaho Springs and then finishing the ride there with pizza at Beau Jo’s (pizza and bike rides go together well)!
Guanella Pass is another mountain ride that I like to start in Idaho Springs. It is about 24 miles to the top and about 5,400 feet of climbing. It is a very nice and beautiful ride. The steepest part is right when you leave Georgetown, but after that it is not so bad. One of the reasons I like this ride is that the organization I work for helped rebuild this road over the past few years.
This is the GRANDDADDY of bike rides! Mt. Evans Road is the highest paved road in North America. Bicycling Magazine recently listed it as the #1 bucket list ride for Colorado. The roundtrip from Idaho Springs is about 54 miles and will give you 6,200 feet of climbing. The top is over 14,000 feet and gives you the chance to say you have biked one of Colorado’s famous 14ers.