UPDATED JUL 14, 2020
If you’re looking to shift gears on your workout routine (pun intended), let Denver be your open road. There are endless trails, paths, parks, and historic sites you can explore. So go ahead and pedal your way through this list of awesome bike trails around Denver.
Explore one of Denver’s most popular bike paths in the heart of the Mile High city. This 40-mile, fully paved trail begins at the Platte River Trail in Confluence Park, downtown. Pedal your way through the Cherry Creek Shopping District before heading to some scenic (and very Instagrammable) spots. Prepare to encounter historic parks, old stagecoach stops, the Cherry Creek Recreation Center, and Castlewood Canyon State Park on the rest of your ride.
Take a tour of downtown Denver on the South Platte River Trail. Cruise alongside the South Platte River, passing Elitch Gardens, the Denver Aquarium, Children’s Museum, and the home of the Denver Broncos on the way. After your urban tour, this path heads to the calm and tranquil Hudson Gardens before opening into the Chatfield Reservation. At this point, you’ll have a decision to make. You can explore hundreds of miles of incredible (and challenging!) paths en route to Durango, Colorado or keep it local in the Waterton Canyon or Colorado Trail. Fitt tip: Check trail conditions before you ride out so you don’t get stuck in the mud.
If you want to do it all, you need to check out the Bear Creek Trails. This ride, connecting downtown with the foothills of the Rockies, has everything you could ask for. Does Red Rocks Amphitheatre ring a bell? Well, pedaling on this trail will take you to the town of Morrison — home to one of the most magical, jaw-dropping amphitheaters around. To rest those jelly-legs, spend some time exploring Morrison, a quaint town full of cafés, unique boutiques, and historic galleries.
Grip your handlebars tight and turn down this 20-plus-mile rustic path for one adventurous day. As you coast through residential areas along the countryside, you’ll soon intersect the city of Golden. That’s a win for you: Golden offers breathtaking views, the Coors Brewery (yes, free beer tasting!), and an opportunity to trade your bike in for a kayak. But if you’ve got the legs, continue on to discover three buttes: Green Mountain, North Table Mountain, and South Table Mountain. Each of these mini-mountains offer something new and challenging, whether it be a mountain bike trail, a dirt path incline/declines, or some fresh mountain air therapy.
Here’s a little history: A little over a century ago, Denver city workers built the trail known as The High Line Canal as an irrigation project to connect the South Platte River to local farmers. The trail covers around 70 paved miles of beautiful scenery connecting Aurora and Denver and, to no surprise, quickly turned into a recreation trail for ambitious cyclists. Now we have this incredibly beautiful canal/trail combo for all cycling and exploring Denverites AND healthy crops for area farmers. We all win!
Take your ride right out of the city and onto a lake scene in just about three miles. Similar to other bike trails, Sloan’s Lake Park is dog-, bike-, and runner-friendly. As you ride along the fully paved pathway, catch a glimpse of water-skiers and jumping fish (yes, the fish actually jump right out of the water). Plus, you’ll see beautiful modern townhouses and get a feel for the old-to-new Denver vibe with the same astonishing mountain views.
The Sand Creek Regional Greenway is just another whimsical off-road trail network in the Denver metro area. This 14-mile greenway attaches the High Line Canal in Aurora (see below!) with the South Platte River Greenway in Commerce City, providing an eccentric ride. It’s perfect for a jog, walk, run with the pup, or to amble along horseback across northeast Denver and through Stapleton. It feels like a little piece of treasure (aka wilderness) smack dab in the middle of the city.
The Ralston Creek Trail, following its namesake waterway, takes you through several parks, neighborhoods and wide-open areas in Arvada. It’s a ways away from downtown Denver (about 15 miles), but it is worth the short ride via car or bike. Our favorite part of the ride is over the spectacular Gold Strike Park Pedestrian Bridge on the trail’s eastern end, which spans 400 feet and is supported by suspended cables. This twisting trail ends in about 14 miles, where you can pick up the Clear Creek Trail (as discussed earlier) or continue along the Fairmount Trail (below).
If you’re a little more wild, get off the pavement with the Fairmount Trail, connecting from Ralston Creek or a public parking lot in Golden. Following a narrow, man-made river, the trail twists and turns about five miles from Arvada to Golden along the mountain front (it’s gorgeous). Whip your mountain bike along this dirt and gravel path and feel the wind in your hair. Fitt tip: Going from pavement to rougher trail can be tough on your body and your bike (so maybe pack a few extra bike tubes!).
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