While the nearby Rocky Mountains provide visitors with many hundreds of miles of hiking trails to take in the region’s natural beauty and watch wildlife, one does not need to travel so far from Denver to enjoy a pleasant outdoor walk or bike ride. Within the metro area, there are more than 850 miles of paved, off-road trails, which in turn attach to dirt trails for both hiking and mountain bike adventures. Less demanding area bike trails easily take riders in and out of urban and rural settings past dozens of local attractions, such as the Cherry Creek Shopping District, the REI Flagship Store, the Chatfield Reservoir State Recreation Area and Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Park.
Denver Parks and Recreation can provide bicycling, hiking and jogging path suggestions for about the area’s 250 parks. The department can be contacted either by phone (720-913-0696) or through its website (www.denvergov.org/parks).
For the more adventurous and demanding mountain bicyclist and hiker, there is the Colorado Trail, a 483-mile-long stretch running from Waterton Canyon near southwestern Denver to Durango. Built and maintained by the non-profit Colorado Trail Foundation and the United States Forest Service, the trail is considered by many to be the preeminant outdoor adventure in the Denver area, with the most common activities consisting of day trips. It is popular with mountain bikers and hikers alike, from those just starting out to seasoned veterans and provides a multitude of variation along its length.
For those interested in long distance biking, the Colorado Trail is world class. According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, “It is possible to do the Trail and detours via bike without any vehicular support by re-supplying in Frisco, Leadville, Buena Vista, and Silverton. Allow maybe 15 to 20 days for the trip. Cyclists can also travel the entire trail with detours in a variety of supported ways, lighten their load and trim their number of days. A mountain bike is a great way to travel the trail, but expect to push the bike on some of the steeper, rockier pitches.” For more information on the Colorado Trail, visit www.coloradotrail.org.
The following associations are great resources and information on cycling in the metro Denver area, including clubs, organized rides, routes, and much more.
American Cycling Association303-458-5538 www.americancycling.org
Denver Bicycle Touring Clubwww.dbtc.org