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Trail Conditions in Highline Canal Trail in Denver

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Trail Conditions in Highline Canal Trail in Denver

Old 09-08-19, 12:29 PM
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ericcc65
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Trail Conditions in Highline Canal Trail in Denver

I have a female friend looking to buy an inexpensive bike for casual use. She's right by the highline canal trail, will not often be on roads, and isn't highly experienced. She says it's a gravel trail, she's riding it on a cruiser now but she says sometimes it feels like the front wheel sinks or sticks. I'm trying to decide between a hybrid or a simple hard tail mountain bike. Thoughts?
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Old 09-09-19, 12:59 PM
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Yes, Highline is mostly hard pack gravel with road crossings. My wife rides a hybrid with 35mm wide tires and has no problems on the trail.
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Old 09-14-19, 09:17 PM
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Not sure what you're talking about. Most of the highline trail near my house are paved. I use it to commute home.
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Old 09-24-19, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
Not sure what you're talking about. Most of the highline trail near my house are paved. I use it to commute home.
The Highline starts in Waterton Canyon and runs 63 miles to Aurora. The paved part (mostly) starts at Mamie Eisenhower Park at Colorado and Dartmouth and goes north and east for about 25 miles. The roughly 40 miles of unpaved part extends south and west of Hampden and up Waterton Canyon (about 4 miles up the canyon). There are a few bits of it that are paved around C470 but it is dirt for the majority of those 40 miles.

I would agree that a hybrid should be able to handle the unpaved part with the caveat that ericcc65's friend is already riding wider tires than hybrid bikes and is complaining about the bike not rolling through the gravel all that well. That could be due to tire inflation, however. Generally the dirt part of the trail is quite firm.

I would suggest trying a couple of bikes if possible. See if you can borrow a hybrid and a mountain bike and have her try them.
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Old 10-01-19, 06:43 AM
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Because of this thread, I decided to go ride much of the dirt part of the Highline yesterday. There are places were 35mm tires would be okay and places where they wouldn’t be. North of C470, the trail is hard and fast. Narrower tires would be fully appropriate there although there are still spots that might be sketchy for a newbie. The trail north of C470 looks a bit like this


Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

South of C470, the trail is very soft and using narrow tires would be much more difficult. Douglas County seems to using a drag to “smooth” the trail down there as well. That softens the surface and, more importantly, drags goatheads onto the trail. The trail surface looks more like this.


Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

It’s difficult to see but a wider tire with more float would be easier to ride there.
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Old 10-01-19, 07:24 AM
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I routinely ride the south western part of the Highline Canal Trail (Chatfield to Greenwood Village) on my road bike with 28's, though the MTB with 58's is much more stable, especially when they add thick gravel over the top of some sections.

Last edited by Riveting; 10-01-19 at 10:14 AM.
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