Denver Adventure Series: Mountain Biking
With hundreds of single track trails to explore, it's no wonder why mountain biking is such a popular Denver adventure.
When most people hear “mountain biking”, they quickly assume you’re biking up a mountain. I have news for these people – although yes, biking uphill is not uncommon, very few people ride straight up a mountain. In fact, most people don’t ride on real mountains at all. You’ll find the majority of casual mountain bikers hang out in the foothills, or even just large regular hills scattered around the Mile High City.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of mountain bikers who bike up and down actual mountains, and there are a lot of trails in the high country where that can be done. All the major ski areas have some sort of down hill mountain biking circuit available during the summer months in fact. But if you’re just looking for a place for a good ol’ local mountain biking Denver adventure, you really don’t have to travel very far to get to it.
Located in Golden, CO, Apex Park is home to Apex Trail. It goes from Lookout Mountain to Heritage Park, but many parts of this trail are one way only (the direction rotates by day), so be sure you start at the right spot, otherwise you’ll have to turn around. If you want a good workout, go on an uphill day. It’s an constant ascent up Lookout Mountain (don’t worry, it’s still just a foothill, but Lookout Foothill doesn’t have the same ring to it) with plenty of technical nature. Going the other direction, you can expect to get some good momentum, but watch out for the aforementioned technical nature to slow you down!
Liar of the Bear
Four miles west of Morrison down 285, is Liar of the Bear, a very popular park in Jefferson Country Open Space that features a well used hiking and biking trail. If you go on a weekend, be ready to yield. A lot. And don’t ride like a dick, because the Jefferson County Rangers will ticket you if you’re going too fast or being too aggressive. You can expect short, but decent climbs on the way up and some fun rock features.
Centennial Cone offers well maintained beginner trails. Be careful though, these trails are closed to bikers on odd numbered weekend days! All weekdays and even numbered weekends are fair game. You can expect great views, some long climbs (so be prepared!) and a few steep drop offs. It’s a nice open trail and is a favorite for many.
This starts off as a pretty stiff climb, but is one of the best places for single track riders in the front range. You can expect great views and awesome obstacles. Also a lot of people on weekends, so be careful! This trail doesn’t have a lot of shade, so be sure you bring a lot of water.
Deer Creek Canyon
Located near Ken Caryl in Southwest Denver, Deer Creek Canyon offers some very fine mountain biking opportunities. Again, these trails can get a little crowded (not to the extent of the others, however!), so be careful on peak days (usually weekends), but these trails offer some really great terrain just a short drive away.