Mountain - Plains - Denver Area Bike Ride?
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I will be vacationing in Denver and taking 2 days to ride with my Son. I have lived in Denver in the past however have a couple of questions for the bikers.
We are thinking on riding 1 day in the City using the bike trails. I am staying up around 120th and Colorado Blvd. So it is my understanding the Platt River trail is now extended to 120th or past? I am wondering if I can ride the Platt River trail from 120th to Golden. Is it connected? I know I use to ride from a trail somewhere around either Pecos or Federal Blvd strait west to Golden. Can someone here tell me where to find the parking lot? It was in the early 90s when I did that ride.
The second day we are riding in the mountains something I never did when living there. I understand there are several pavement trail options in the Dillon area. I am wondering about the trail around the Dillon Reservoir. It would be a flat 19 mile ride and from what I understand very beautiful and enjoyable. Or a couple other options would be to ride from Dillon to Vail. Is that trail in the middle of I70? Another option I am considering is driving to Glenwood Springs. I see on the internet they have a 32 mile out and back trail that would be very enjoyable. Does anybody know of that trail and would it be worth the drive to get there/
Any feedback or suggestions for other considerations would be greatly appreciated.
05-18-10, 09:29 AM
Try this? http://maps.google.com/maps?hq=http://maps.google.com/help/maps/directions/biking/mapleft.kml&ie=UTF8&ll=37.687624,-122.319717&spn=0.346132,0.727158&z=11&lci=bike&dirflg=b&f=d&utm_campaign=en&utm_medium=van&utm_source=en-van-na-us-gns-bd --this shows the Platte ending at 104th. Not too bad, you can probably get to it from the house (I'll let someone like DataJunkie who lives up thar give you a better notion; I'm way down south). You could take the Platte south but then hang a right and head west at 74th (I don't know the name of that trail) or something to get out to Golden. It'd be a great ride.
Riding from Dillon to Vail is also a great(!) ride, and you'll be cresting Vail Pass, which is a nice accomplishment --note of caution, though: Vail Pass heading back towards Dillion is difficult to OMG depending on your fitness (9mi of 7%) --I'd also make sure you start early, this time of year afternoon thunderstorms are the norm. I'm not sure I'd drive out to Glenwood Springs to ride, that's 5+ hrs in the car for what, an hour of riding?
Here are some great ideas, your Frisco-Vail route is at the bottom: http://www.summitcyclingcamps.com/rides.shtml
05-18-10, 10:25 AM
When are you going to be here? It's still pretty snowy up in Summit County - if you're here in the next few weeks, the Glenwood option might be better. It's *way* more than an hour of riding. On the East side of Glenwood, it's an amazing piece of bike path, but it is right under the freeway. You're not right next to the cars, but it's not exactly a wilderness experience. Also, you're in a canyon (a spectacular one) rather than on a mountain pass. From Glenwood SPrings you head south out of town towards Carbondale, that part is pretty flat, in a moderately wide open valley. Then you can hang a left and go up to Aspen, gently climbing.
SO, that bike path is a really nice bike path, and if path is what you want, it's worth doing. But, it is a solid 3 hour drive, so unless you were planning to go out there for a couple of days (good idea, by the way) I wouldn't say it's worth it. I would say the same about the Dillon/Frisco paths, which wind around the lake.
The other think you could do would be go to the Glenwood path one day, then out to Grand Junction the other day and ride the Colorado National Monument loop - about 35 miles and 2500 feet of climbing, great scenery, lower altitude so it's good if you are coming here before the snow melts in Summit County (Dillon/Frisco). There's also an out-and-back from Aspen to Maroon Bells, that I haven't done, but that I hear is fantastic and is closed to auto traffic except a shuttle bus, so if you are looking for car-free riding, that might do the trick. You might want to check on seasonality of that road.
Right now the bike path up Vail Pass is blocked by snow. A co-worker tried to ride west from Frisco and got stopped by snow a few miles short of Copper Mountain. The snow is melting fast, though, so call a bike shop in Summit County the day of your ride and get a condition report. It is a spectacular ride, though. The bike path does go between the east and westbound lanes of I-70 from copper mountain to the top of Vail Pass. The two halves of the Interstate are on opposite sides of the canyon, well above the level of the bike path, so you really can't tell that you're on the center strip of an Interstate Highway.
The loop around Lake Dillon involves around 800-900 feet of climbing, most of it on Swan Mountain road. The ride is mostly on bike paths, but part of the ride is on Swan Mountain Road, which is narrow, winding and mostly shoulderless. It's well known as a bike route and drivers around here are fairly courteous to cyclists, but it's not a bike path and anyone riding it should be comfortable riding in traffic on a narrow road with no shoulder.
Here's some more info about cycling in Summit county:
Thanks guys. A lot of info here and I have learned a lot.
05-18-10, 11:05 PM
I live around 120th and Colorado. The Platte River trail still starts around 104th ave but I have heard rumblings of it being extended soon.
It is easy to ride down riverdale to one of the entrances around 90th.
Or you can drive down to the trailhead on 88th and Colorado if riding on the roads isn't your thing.
Sounds like U will be very close to my home on ride around 120th & Colorado.
Easiest ride is Colorado Blvd S past Thornton Rec Center where you can pick up the Grange Hall trail.
Follow it downhill SE to Platte River at McKay Rd. A few miles to Clear Cr trail.
Riverdale Rd is too narrow for my likes. There is no trail between 104th & Platte to 120th along the river.
According to county officials it will be a few years before that link is done. The trail restarts N at 120th to the
N part of the Adams County fairgrounds. On June 5th the bridge across the Platte will be opened to allow access
towards Brighton. My understanding from last fall is that the first link will allow go N to E470 or you can go E to Brighton Rd.
Will check that out then.
Opening file from this link in Google Earth will give a decent view of trail network.
05-27-10, 09:14 AM
I was not aware grange hall could connect to the platte. Still... to indirect for my tastes.
However, my son and I can use it to connect to the platte with our trail-a-bike. Our current route is quite annoying to haul a kid around.
Thanks for all of the help and information. I ended up riding west from Lowell to Kipling with my grandson on my first Denver ride. Next my son and I rode from 88th to past Denver on the Platte river trail. We had lunch in Lo Do. Great ride a little stinky in spots. Afterwards we went to Boulder and rode the Opti Bike at their facility on the foothills highway. We then dinked around Lyons for just around an hour.
I love riding in the Denver area and can't wait to get back there soon.
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