Summer has arrived and mountain bike season is in full swing! Colorado is somewhat of a mountain bike mecca and the trails in Northern Colorado offer up some excellent options for all skill levels. If you are new to the Front Range or are looking to try out some newer more challenging rides this year, these trails could be just what you’re looking for.
The north end of this trail starts at the Blue Sky trailhead/parking, the south end meets up with Devil’s Backbone, and it intersects with Rim Rock Trail around the middle. Indian Summer also branches off of Blue Sky, so there are many possibilities for this trail! The trail is mostly clear of obstacles, doesn’t have any very steep grades, and flows incredibly well. With tons of linkup and variations available, Blue Sky is not one to miss.
Just West of Loveland off of 34, this trail is an interesting diversion. It follows a hogback, and some of the trail is build on layers of off-camber, crumbling sedimentary rock. You’ll ride Indian Summer and Blue Sky on this loop as well! This trail is more technical than strenuous, with some very rocky sections.
This ride follows the well-known Morgul Bismarck road cycling route – a famous race stage in the 70’s and 80’s. The trails are easily accessible from Boulder, Superior, and neighboring towns, and it’s mostly smooth with just a few slightly technical spots. It’s just challenging enough to keep advanced riders interested, but rideable by just about everyone. This makes it a popular route, and it’s often rideable almost all year.
After a short flat section you’ll begin the final accent. While this climb is far less steep then Powerline Trail it is more technical. When you reach the top you’ll traverse across the back side of the mountain and be treated to some great views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the west. When the trail begins to turn back to the east, stop and take a picture. Now the fun begins, 99.5% of the ride from here is downhill. Watch for alternate lines, skinnys, and rock drops, for added fun!
Heil Valley Ranch is one of the popular Boulder-area trail systems, and this ride is the most commonly ridden section of trail. These trails were the original mountain biking trails at Heil, but others have since been added, including the Picture Rock trail that now makes it possible to ride from Heil Valley Ranch to Hall Ranch. It’s a good intermediate ride relatively close to Boulder, with many options for linking to other trails!
This 13-mile ride opens with a bit of a haul up paved roads and Horsetooth Rock’s South Ridge Trail to access a series of thrilling downhill runs on Wathen Trail, Loggers, and Mill Creek Trail that eventually spit you out near Lory State Park’s Arthur’s Rock parking lot for a cool-down pedal back to the start of the ride. Enjoy plenty of technical rock features, drops, and small jumps throughout this loop that will keep you coming back for more.
Homestead Meadows is a neat place to go and discover how people used to live in the Rocky Mountains. There are several old cabins and other buildings with informational plaques at each, describing who lived there, what they did, and what happened to them. This ride takes you past a few of these. Most of the route is on old doubletrack wagon roads, but with a few short sections of singletrack included. Its beautiful scenery, interesting history, all from the saddle of your awesome mountain bike.
With lots of twists and turns and rocks to navigate, you get your thrills here by employing good bike handling skills instead of screaming descents. These are beautiful trails, running through pine forest and some large stands of aspen trees. There are many alternate lines built into the trail. These aren’t signed, but if you keep a sharp eye while you ride, you can pick them out.
The trails around Pinewood Reservoir pass through the Ramsay-Shockey Open Space. There are only two trails, Besant Point Trail and Shoshone Trail, and together they don’t amount to very much mileage. But that aside, they do have other redeeming qualities: pretty good flow, some shorter technical challenges, a beautiful serene setting, and minimal to no traffic.
This is a classic loop near Boulder with a nice mix of technical riding, flowy descents, and scenery. Walker Ranch is one of the rides that every Boulder-based mountain biker has ridden. It’s a great ride for someone visiting, offering fun singletrack and great scenery. And it’s located up Flagstaff road, which is worth the drive on its own! This is a fairly challenging ride despite its somewhat short distance. There’s a mix of fast flowy singletrack, technical rocky sections, and even a somewhat difficult hike-a-bike down steep steps to a creek.