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  1. #1
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Visiting Denver in October, Looking for Rails-to-Trails and Other Recommendations

    Hello from the Great Lakes region (Madison, WI specifically)

    I'm visiting Denver in early October and staying the the Lakewood and Wheat Ridge Area.

    I already have one day planned doing a loop thru the city and visiting some of the Brewpubs downtown, here is the route i was going to make a loop out of, if anyone has any recommendations to change this up i would appreciate any feedback.

    I was also looking for some recommendations for some other routes to take on the other days I am there. I prefer spending my time on Rails to Trails type trails with nice views. I see so many on TrailLink that its hard to get a feel for the ones i should really spend time on. Id really appreciate any advice the locals have for cant miss trails. I'm used to doing up to 100 miles, so i'm open for anything

    I'm a novice mountain biker and will be bringing my mountain bike also and am looking for any recommendations for some novice level mountain biking areas I should check out.

    Thanks for any advice you have.

    If your ever coming to south central Wisconsin, check out my trail biking blog for routes in the area.
    http://bartsbiking.com/

  2. #2
    mje
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    Part of your large route goes through Apex Park. Those trails would not be suitable for a road bike. Instead, you should take US 40 up the Mt Vernon canyon. I made some edits to your map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=216879053703708317241.0004c7e543ac4ce2efb58
    Besides avoiding Apex Park, I improved your route through Bear Creek Lake Park.

    Climbing Mt Vernon Canyon at the end of that ride may be a lot to bite off coming from low elevation.

    The Cherry Creek and Platte River bike paths are highly recommended. Your route already includes half of the Platte Trail. It's popular to link the Cherry Creek and Platte Trails with the (less recommended) 470 bike path to make a ~60 mile loop.

    One more thing, the NE section of your route is pretty industrial and not very scenic. Most riders would get to downtown from your starting location along 32nd avenue.

  3. #3
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    for a second day from rei downtown take cherry creek trail to c470 trail to platte river trail (mary carter greenway) back to rei

    get a dbtc denver bicycle map at rei or a lbs for other options

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    Not sure what brew pubs you currently have in mind, but just before you get to point C on your original map you can cross the river @ 16th street pedestrian bridge onto Platte St. and hit Denver Beer Co - they brew their own beers and usually have a food truck parked out front. Downtown you have Wynkoop (Wynkoop &17th), one of the original brew pubs, and the Great Divide brewery on 22nd and arapahoe. Falling Rock tap house on Blake b/t 18th and 19th for a huge craft beer selection. Looks like your route takes you through Golden so you've got Coors there if necessary.

    Re: your route - Agreed on 32nd instead of clear creek & planning to ride straight through Bear Creek Lake Park instead of dropping south on Kipling which is not very rider friendly I don't think. There is one short but steep climb coming out of fox hollow golf course. then uphill on 470 trail. If you're a climber I'd detour into red rocks from 470. It's worth the climb - actually, do you realize that you already have a couple thousand feet of climbing on your current route? Just checking.

    I guess don't forget to pack your climbing legs or your liver.

  5. #5
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    strange brewing should be on your list http://strangebrewingco.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado dale View Post
    strange brewing should be on your list http://strangebrewingco.com/
    huh. I gotta check that out myself.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mje View Post
    Part of your large route goes through Apex Park. Those trails would not be suitable for a road bike. Instead, you should take US 40 up the Mt Vernon canyon. I made some edits to your map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=216879053703708317241.0004c7e543ac4ce2efb58
    Besides avoiding Apex Park, I improved your route through Bear Creek Lake Park.

    Climbing Mt Vernon Canyon at the end of that ride may be a lot to bite off coming from low elevation.

    The Cherry Creek and Platte River bike paths are highly recommended. Your route already includes half of the Platte Trail. It's popular to link the Cherry Creek and Platte Trails with the (less recommended) 470 bike path to make a ~60 mile loop.

    One more thing, the NE section of your route is pretty industrial and not very scenic. Most riders would get to downtown from your starting location along 32nd avenue.
    Thank you for the advice, I put this together just looking on Google maps and this is exactly what i was looking for. Ill probably avoid Apex Park all together and take 6th ave.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMgoblue View Post
    Not sure what brew pubs you currently have in mind, but just before you get to point C on your original map you can cross the river @ 16th street pedestrian bridge onto Platte St. and hit Denver Beer Co - they brew their own beers and usually have a food truck parked out front. Downtown you have Wynkoop (Wynkoop &17th), one of the original brew pubs, and the Great Divide brewery on 22nd and arapahoe. Falling Rock tap house on Blake b/t 18th and 19th for a huge craft beer selection. Looks like your route takes you through Golden so you've got Coors there if necessary.

    Re: your route - Agreed on 32nd instead of clear creek & planning to ride straight through Bear Creek Lake Park instead of dropping south on Kipling which is not very rider friendly I don't think. There is one short but steep climb coming out of fox hollow golf course. then uphill on 470 trail. If you're a climber I'd detour into red rocks from 470. It's worth the climb - actually, do you realize that you already have a couple thousand feet of climbing on your current route? Just checking.

    I guess don't forget to pack your climbing legs or your liver.
    Thanks for all the replies on recommended Brew Pubs, i had seen this guide here http://www.denver.org/dining-nightli...icionado-guide and was planning on hitting most of those spots. Ill add Strange Brew. It already had Denver Co and Wynkoop which people had mentioned above also. Im hitting the Great American Beer festival on Thursday also, so my liver will definitely be getting a workout to.

    I like some climbing, but the later in the day it gets i may detour from some of the climbs. Ill probably take 32nd street since that seems to be the recommended route from the replies here.

    Any other advice for avoiding some climbs on the last part of the trail is also appreciate, so i have some alternatives after a long day.

  9. #9
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    for light mtn biking (could be done on cross bike) try waterton canyon
    there is over a 50 /50 chance you'll see bighorn sheep riding in the canyon http://www.denverwater.org/Recreation/WatertonCanyon/
    not challenging ride but very beautiful perhaps a good short ride for your first day to help you get used to altitude

    here's another article on strange brew http://www.denverpost.com/food/ci_15198853

    reminder if you take your loop counterclockwise you get hills out of way earlier in the ride as you hit the foothills first and downtown last and you'll be following the bear creek and platte downstream and have the brewpubs closer to end of the ride

  10. #10
    mje
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbojonez View Post
    Any other advice for avoiding some climbs on the last part of the trail is also appreciate, so i have some alternatives after a long day.
    If you take Johnson St into Golden instead of the 6th Ave bike path, you'll avoid going over a hill. Stop at Golden City Brewery while in Golden.

  11. #11
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

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    Oh no, don't take 6th...That's a freeway.

    Your route goes south on Kipling where the Bear Creek Trail ends. Definitely continue onto the golf road there and find the BCT continuing over the little hill (Mt. Carbon) and down into Bear Creek Lake Park. That's one of the coolest sections of bike path we've got around here.

    If you like smooth gravel paths try the Highline Canal Trail which winds through the entire city. The best sections are down south. It's really cool to make a loop with S Platte, Big Dry Creek Trail and Highline, or something like that.

  13. #13
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mje View Post
    If you take Johnson St into Golden instead of the 6th Ave bike path, you'll avoid going over a hill. Stop at Golden City Brewery while in Golden.
    ???? 6th Ave bike path?????

    I thought I had been on all of the bike paths?? Never been on the 6th ave.

    This may be helpful

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  14. #14
    mje
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    ???? 6th Ave bike path?????

    I thought I had been on all of the bike paths?? Never been on the 6th ave.
    That may not be its proper name, but it runs along US 6 as it loops around the west side of Golden.

    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=...0f6b858c8f3ca6
    Last edited by mje; 08-27-12 at 09:29 AM.

  15. #15
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mje View Post
    That may not be its proper name, but it runs along US 6 as it loops around the west side of Golden.

    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=...0f6b858c8f3ca6
    Thanks - and, as I recall, during a class at Mines, I did take a portion of that trail. I was not aware that it was so long - I just thought it was a sort of trail stub. Of course, that was about 10 years ago, maybe it has been lengthened a bit.
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  16. #16
    GeoBiker / Mapper gps_dr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Thanks - and, as I recall, during a class at Mines, I did take a portion of that trail. I was not aware that it was so long - I just thought it was a sort of trail stub. Of course, that was about 10 years ago, maybe it has been lengthened a bit.
    Signs say it is the US 6 Trail. Recently extended N to Clear Cr, passes by fossil area and School of Mines.

    This is part of my G47 trail (Golden C470) on my website.

    Some other changes in that area are:
    C470 Trail also extended N with paths & some on street routes to 6th & Indiana area.
    Tucker Gulch Trail extends past Norman D Perry Park @ Mesa & Ford St to trail along Hwy 93 (My GLY trail (Golden Leyden).

    These and over 200 more Colorado GPS enabled trails are available, Free, on my website.
    Can load as tracks on almost any GPS, Map overlays on Garmin & DeLorme GPS & via Google Earth.

    On the West side of town on a MTB, Dakota Ridge, Red Rocks & Morrison Slide trails make a nice scenic loop including dinosaur tracks.
    Dakota Ridge is easier N to S. They form my RDS trail, parking at Matthew Winters Park or RTD Park & Ride Just S of I70 on County Rd 93.
    (Last exit before mountains)
    Further S near Bear Cr is Mt Falcon Park, steep climb from Morrison Side. Not too bad if you go to back side and stay on top.

    Around town, the Highline Canal trail goes from Waterton Canyon to Aurora on E side of town, quite flat except for a few spots near C470. Platte River, Cherry Cr, Sand Cr and Clear Cr trails are all low incline trails that you can makes some nice off street loops with.
    C470 has some long climbs/drops over its 34 mile swoop around SW metro area.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by gps_dr; 09-09-12 at 05:14 PM. Reason: add a few more trail suggestions
    http://Geobiking.org Network >2,000 miles Colorado Front Range GPS enabled bicycle trails. GPS map overlays & data, pics, info etc.

  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbojonez View Post
    Hello from the Great Lakes region (Madison, WI specifically)

    I'm visiting Denver in early October and staying the the Lakewood and Wheat Ridge Area.

    I already have one day planned doing a loop thru the city and visiting some of the Brewpubs downtown, here is the route i was going to make a loop out of, if anyone has any recommendations to change this up i would appreciate any feedback.

    I was also looking for some recommendations for some other routes to take on the other days I am there. I prefer spending my time on Rails to Trails type trails with nice views. I see so many on TrailLink that its hard to get a feel for the ones i should really spend time on. Id really appreciate any advice the locals have for cant miss trails. I'm used to doing up to 100 miles, so i'm open for anything

    I'm a novice mountain biker and will be bringing my mountain bike also and am looking for any recommendations for some novice level mountain biking areas I should check out.

    Thanks for any advice you have.

    If your ever coming to south central Wisconsin, check out my trail biking blog for routes in the area.
    http://bartsbiking.com/
    First on your map. As others have said the 'bike path' that you routed out in Golden is a mountain bike trail, and a rugged one at that. US 6 (aka 6th Avenue) does indeed have a bike path that follows it from Golden to the Jefferson County Courthouse. It's not flat but it is worth the ride. Stop just off 19th Street (top of the hill) to visit a dinosaur trackway.

    We have a lot of roads and trails that used to be rails but not a lot of 'rail-to-trails' like Wisconsin has. Also weather in the high country can be iffy in early October. It can be stunningly gorgeous or snowing like a sumabich. All that said, there are a couple of trails that are worth the effort. There's the Santa Fe Trail from Palmer Lake to Colorado Springs. It runs through the Air Force Academy and goes off the rails about 5 miles outside of Colorado Springs. It's an easy ride but does involve a bit of hill climbing and downhills on loose surfaces. Early October would be an excellent time for this trail.

    There also the Rock Island Trail near Falcon. It's a prairie trail which means that it is very flat and there's no trees. The outbound leg is going to be featureless but the inbound leg (toward Falcon) will give you spectacular views of Pikes Peak.

    Also around Colorado Springs is Gold Camp Road. This is an old trolley line and parts of it are open to cars. There is a road block near the tunnels and you can ride up about 9 miles.

    Around Buena Vista, there is the Midland Trail around Buena Vista which is less rail trail and more trail. There is also the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville. This is a wonderful ride and breath taking...both literally and visually. You could also ride on parts of a railbed in Frisco. The ride up Ten Mile Creek from Frisco to Copper Mountain is a railbed and is spectacular as well.

    Of the trails I've listed (and there are many more old railbeds in Colorado), I'd suggest the Santa Fe Trail in Colorado Springs...to get you lungs used to vacuum we call air up here...and the Mineral Belt Trail as well as riding around Frisco.
    Stuart Black
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  18. #18
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    The Rio Grande Trail from Glenwood Springs to Aspen is a 40 mile "Rails to Trails" paved (mostly) trail. There are winter closures between Carbondale and Basalt - I don't know the dates. There are also bears.
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  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    I forgot one that is super close. Waterton Canyon is a 6.5 mile ride up the old Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad. It's not a hard ride and you can often see bighorn sheep as well as other wildlife there.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Hey all, still making some adjustments to my routes from all the great advice here, i really appreciate it and will check in with my final routes soon. Looking forward to the trip.

  21. #21
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    Don't forget about the altitude difference. If you combine exercise with drinking, 4-5000ft higher than you normally are, it might kick your ass in a hurry. So take it easy until you know how you'll react to it.

    When I first moved here, I tried mountain biking about 2-3 months after I got here... and quickly found out that 6000ft is a big reality check.

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