Parker/Franktown/Castle Rock rural/county roads
Here in the SW Denver metro area and the adjacent foothills there are bikes on the roads and people are used to it.
Even up the canyons where the roads aren't very wide, there are plenty of bikes.
Does anyone regularly ride the roads out east of Parker, or around Franktown, or ride between Castle Rock and Denver?
I've ridden Elephant Rock before but would like to hear about individual experience.
I'd be interested to hear about any of them as those are the 3 areas I'm considering moving to. I would like to commute
from there to Highlands Ranch at least sometimes. Also would like to just hop on the bike from my front door and ride.
There are fast roads out there with little or no shoulder. I have no problem with riding on roads like that but the last thing
I want is to buy a place that I can't ride away from without a high risk of being hit.
I live in Parker and ride around the area all the time along with commuting from Parker to Aurora 2-3 times a week in summer/fall. Most of my rides I head west towards the Castle Pines area but I also do a loop that goes down to Castle Rock over to Franktown and then back to Parker via 83. I'm pretty comfortable around the area and I feel like there are plenty of alternatives when and if a particular route starts to get busier (i.e when a new development opens). Of course we have our fair share of a-holes like anywhere else but for the most part Parker is an active community and people expect to see bikes on the roads. That said I do avoid high traffic/use roads even if it adds to my mileage.
You can go Parker to Highlands Ranch utilizing MUP paths and never really see the road except for crossings. Susie Wargin from 9 news does a Highlands Ranch to Parker and back loop all the time, you can see her routes if you follow her on Strava. My proximity to the cherry creek trail (which begins almost all my rides) is one of my favorite parts of living in Parker.
Not sure where you'd be moving from but I love the area and think you would too.
I live in Castle Rock.
Occasionally I commute to Centennial airport via Crowfoot Valley highway and Cherry Creek trail/470 trail. As a distance reference, this ranges from 20-25 miles depending on specific route. This is really the best N-S bicycle access between the metro area and CR-Franktown. Crowfoot has a wide, clean shoulder and good visibility. Unfortunately, there aren't many good choices when trying to connect Castle Rock to Highlands Ranch or Littleton. I will not ride highway 85 between CR and Chatfield. Too much traffic going much faster than the posted 50mph speed limit on too narrow of a road. Castle Pines has decent access to HR-Littleton but is not very well connected to CR either. You either need to brave I-25 (which isn't as bad as you might think), ride the narrowest portion of Hwy 85 and have access through the gated community at Happy Canyon, or risk a couple more miles of Hwy 85 and go over Daniels Park.
Hess Road, between Parker and Castle Pines is a nice ride, but I avoid it because I can't figure out how to make a loop from Castle Rock without getting on I-25 or Hwy 85.
Since my starting point is Castle Rock, my routes may be a little farther south and west than you are looking for, but there are a lot of really nice roads to ride in southern Douglas county. Russellville Rd (Elephant Rock 32 mile road coarse) makes a nice route. There are some good climbing loops between CR and Palmer Lake West of I-25 that vary in distance from 30-50+ miles. The Wolfensburger-Tomah loop seems to be the most popular with the local clubs, but I can't stand Wolfensburger. I prefer Tomah-Perry Park, Tomah-Fox Farm, or Tomah-Spruce Mtn.
If you are on a gravel grinder, there are several 25-30 mile loops that range from about 20-60% gravel roads. There are also a few gravel options to go between CR and CC trail/Parker Rd.
Castle Rock also boasts the Ridgeline trail system where you can ride 10+ miles of continuous singletrack without overlapping your own track, and the Rhyolite bike park has a semi-permanent cyclocross coarse, downhill pump track, and 2.5 mile singletrack.
If you would like some specific routes or maps, don't hesitate to ask.
I live in Parker right next to the CC Trail and the Rec Center and ride just the MUPS, with some exceptions. I often go to Castlewood Canyon State Park west entrance and return for 34 miles, and a loop up Sulphur Gulch to Tallman trail up to the new middle school, buffalo berry east to paper flower trail to Canterberry Trail to Sulphur Gulch Trail - some nice hills and 17 miles fround trip from my home. Of course, I do Cherry Creek State Park, etc. - 26 miles round trip.
I don't really think this answers your questions, but, just in case, I am sharing.
BTW, I am 74 yo and just started - with the rec dept - a near 70 and older bicycle group - we have had several rides this last summer.
Wow, great informative responses. Much appreciated.
I guess I have one more question for now, anyone ride the area around Delbert Rd. and Singing Hills Rd.? That area seems a bit dangerous to me.
brianb10: Thanks for your insight and the info. Always better to hear first hand. Maybe I will start following Susie on Strava :) .... btw I'd be moving from just east of Morrison, very close to Bear Creek Lake Park.
Breathegood: Your post is exactly what I was looking for, thanks for all of that detail. If I do move down there I'll definitely hit you up for some routes. Even if I don't move down there I want to explore it a bit now. Also thanks for the tip on the gravel and singletrack. I'm mainly a roadie but I recently bought my first new mountain bike in 20 years and don't want it to sit around if I move further east.
DnvrFox: Thanks for sharing, I was hoping you'd post a reply to this question. More good route info. I'm in my 40's and just did my first century this last summer even tho I've been riding for over 20 years. I hope I'm still flying down the road (or grinding up the mountain) at 74 and beyond.
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