Rounding up the cycling trails

If you’re new to the area, or just want to branch out, here’s a must-try list of some of the best rides around.


’Tis the season for two-wheeled adventure. 

Lucy Hanna said she’s just visiting but couldn’t wait to hop on a bike — a loaner from her niece Claire — and check out the Clear Creek Trail. 

“You have some beautiful trails out here,” she said. “This is the second time I’ve checked out a new ride since I’ve been here.”

She said it’s nothing like her rides back home in Louisiana.

“You can’t even really think about it (cycling) this time of year. The humidity is just … I don’t know … oppressive,” she said.

Those of us lucky enough to call the metro area home have miles of trails to choose from. Throw in some of the lowest relative humidity in the nation and summer can be a downright pleasant time to go riding.

That said, here’s a list of some of the most popular places to get back on the bike and enjoy the fleeting summer months while you can.

Bear Creek Bike Trail 

You can pick up the trail near US 285 and River Point Parkway. There are parking lots near the South Platte, where the Mary Carter Greenway Trail and Platte River Trail meet. 

The trail, running alongside the Bear Creek corridor pretty closely, offers stunning views of the western foothills as you make your way through Bear Valley, Bear Creek Lake Park and ultimately into Morrison. 

According to reviews on, the Bear Creek Trail is a relatively flat, easy ride that can be enjoyed by cyclists of all abilities.

On the west side of the trail, you can find parking along Morrison Road or one of the parking lots in downtown Morrison.

High Line Canal Trail

Starting in Aurora and ending some 71 miles away in Roxborough Park, the High Line Canal Trail runs through the metro area’s southern suburbs. Along the way, you’ll go through Goldsmith Gulch, deKoevend Park and Horseshoe Park just to name a few, before the trail ends near Platte Canyon Reservoir.

From the Waterton Canyon Trailhead parking lot, it’s just a short distance to the High Line Canal Trailhead. 

Starting from points east, consult a trail map and follow municipal parking regulations.

Clear Creek Trail

From Thornton to Golden, this 20-mile trail has a bit of everything. A slight incline that tops out at just over 5,800 feet adds to the challenge, but the scenery is said by TrailLink reviewers, to be worth the effort. Included in the ride are views of North and South Table Mountain, thrown in for free. You’ll cut through a good chunk of Wheat Ridge and make your way between Prospect, Tabor and West lakes as you head toward I-70. 

Historic Golden vibes abound as you cross Ford Street on your way to the trail’s end near Clear Creek Canyon Road, just east of Indian Gulch. 

Temporary construction closures at the Clear Creek Parking Lot in Golden may make it necessary to start your ride on the westside, nearer to one of the Golden municipal lots or parking spaces a bit east of the trailhead.

Cherry Creek Trail

On the southeast side of town, the Cherry Creek Trail gives cyclists the opportunity to ride from Cherry Creek Reservoir to Downtown Denver.

At around 20-miles-long, the trail takes riders through some of the coolest urban areas in the city. Starting your ride near Confluence Park in Lodo, you’ll make your way along Cherry Creek as it ambles toward the southeastern suburbs, cutting through Glendale and Virginia Village before ending at Cherry Creek Reservoir. 

For the super adventurous, the trail continues all the way to the small, rural, Franktown — another 20 miles south.

There are several rest stops along the route, with restrooms for those in need. And due to the proximity to the city center, it’s not unheard of to see inline skaters, folks on scooters or even e-bikes moving pretty fast, so be aware.

Veteran Denver cyclist Michael Lewis said he’s ridden most of the trails the city has to offer. He said he’s partial to the South Platte River Trail himself, but said for people just starting out, or those looking for a nice ride with a lot less distance involved, a lap or two around Sloan’s Lake or Washington Park is hardly ever a bad idea.

“There’s such a great cycling community here,” he said. “Almost everywhere you go, you’ll find people who just love to be out there (cycling).” 


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