Welcome to cycling paradise! With more than 850 miles of paved, off-road trails for road bikes—and hundreds of miles of dirt trails for mountain biking—Denver is quickly becoming synonymous with some of the best biking in the United States.
And that’s great news, because cycling is one of the easiest, most accessible, (and most fun) ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. Several scientific studies have linked bicycling to a reduced risk of heart disease, improved lung capacity, better sleep quality, a heartier immune system, and even a more robust social life. Additionally, cycling helps to hone other important life skills, including navigation and spatial awareness.
Plus, because cycling is low-impact, it’s a fantastic form of cardio and strength building exercise for people who have joint problems or who otherwise cannot tolerate the jarring of running and other high-impact activities. In fact, many of Dr. Buford’s Total Body Wellness and plastic surgery patients find that cycling is one activity they can enjoy year-round to help them achieve their health and aesthetic goals:
“Aesthetic surgery patients tend to place a high value on health and fitness in their daily lives. Cycling is one activity I suggest for my patients who need or desire a new twist in their fitness routine, as it’s so easy to find great places to ride and groups to ride with in Denver.” —Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS, PCEO
Whether you’re just visiting the Mile High City for a long weekend or are lucky enough to call Denver home year round, here are the top trails that you won’t want to miss. We also have some great clubs if you’re interested in riding with folks who share your enthusiasm for biking.
Platte River Trail. For spectacular scenery and a relaxed ride, follow this nearly 30-mile trail along the South Platte River. And since the river played a major role in the development of Denver, there’s a network of more than 20 interpretative signs to introduce you to Denver’s past. Bike past Riverside Cemetery, where many of Denver’s famous pioneers are buried, along with Confluence Park and the Hudson Gardens. The Platte River Trail officially ends at the sprawling Chatfield State Recreation Area, where hardcore dirt bike enthusiasts can pick up the unpaved Colorado Trail that runs 400 miles south to Durango, Colorado, parts of which are open to biking.
Bear Creek Bike Trail. This 20-mile trail follows Bear Creek to the breathtaking Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Visitors Center in the small town of Morrison. The family-friendly bike path links with the other two trails mentioned here, so intrepid bikers can extend their rides into a 40- or 60-mile loop before heading back to Denver. Take a break from biking and refuel with a snack at one of Morrison’s’ many charming outdoor cafes, coffee shops, and ice cream stores.
Clear Creek Bike Path. This accessible, 20-mile trail is perfect for families. It follows Clear Creek from the South Platte River to the town of Golden, passing through neighborhoods and countryside, before yielding stunning views of the high buttes around the town of Golden. Coors Brewery, the largest brewing site in the world, is nearby, as is the Colorado Rail Museum. Ready for some off-road dirt biking? Extend your ride by picking up one of the mountain bike trails that run along North Table Mountain, South Table Mountain, or Green Mountain. A word of warning: the rocky, steep trails are for serious, experienced mountain bikers only.
No Bike? No Worries!
If you’re interested in biking but haven’t yet purchased a bike, check out our bike-sharing system, Denver B-Cycle. You can rent a bike between 5 am and midnight at any one of 83 stations in the city and return it to any other station. It’s fully automated and is the perfect way to gauge your interest in biking as well as see the city from a new vantage point.
Top Denver Cycling Clubs
Interested in joining a Denver club for the camaraderie? The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club focuses on-road biking for intermediate and advanced riders, while Team Evergreen is the largest bike club in the state and promotes both road and mountain biking. It sponsors two major events each year, the Triple Bypass and the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb.
The Denver Bicycle Touring Club organizes weekly rides for all skill levels and supports bike safety, bike education, and recreational and commuter biking.
No matter your experience with biking, you’ll find the right path or trail in Denver. If you’d like the big picture about biking in Denver, download this map of trails in the area. Hop on a bike—it’s fantastic exercise and a great way to enjoy colorful Colorado!
Photo credit: Amy Cahill on Flickr.