Front Range - Boulder
Doudy Draw / Eldorado Mountain / Marshall Mesa.
Type: Mountain Bike
Elevation base: approx. 5,800 ft.
Top elevation: approx. 6,400ft.
Miles of trails: 11
Doudy Draw is located south of downtown Boulder, Colorado at the intersection of State Highway 93 and SH 128. It is about one mile north of the Jefferson/Boulder County line, with ample parking and facilities located at the Flatirons trailhead. This area features sweeping views of the Flatirons which are a Boulder optical treasure. Although the trail length may not impress you with overall distance, the riding sure will. Maintained by the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks the trails are well kept and trail etiquette is respected by all in this multi-use mountain park. You will encounter hikers, equestrians, dogs, and quite possibly a bovine or two. There are livestock gates that need to be opened and closed as you make your way through the park itself. The trails are smooth and roll out perfectly, climbing is easy to moderate and descending the same. From the Flatirons Vista trailhead, ride the Flatirons Vista South trail to the Flatirons North trail, go left-west toward the mountains and descend for a short time. The Spring Brook Loop North and South is a nearly two and a half mile loop that has excellent climbing, again moderate, with fast rolling single-track. This loop is a great area to dial in your suspension, play with tire pressure, or just plain rip! You can go in either direction, clockwise or counter-clockwise and challenge yourself or the others with you. You may also encounter a local "pro" mountain biker from the Boulder area training for the next regional race. For the non rider of the group, this park has a lot to offer. Some of the trails are wheelchair accessible which makes the trail easy to walk for all ages. Therefore, this park can be enjoyed by the whole family or group (albeit a sturdy one) can handle some of the trails.
Located diagonally across the highway is another popular trail: The Marshall Mesa Trailhead. Parking is ample and the trails vary from double to singletrack. This park offers a little less than Doudy Draw in terms of mileage (five at best) but can still fun and challenging. The Community Ditch trail links these two areas together. If you do choose to connect these trails use caution crossing HWY 93.
Boulder is just a short ride or drive to the north with more than enough places to eat, drink and even stay a couple of nights. The Pearl Street Mall is a must see along with The University of Colorado, home of the CU Buffs.
Hall Ranch, Boulder County Parks and Open Space
Type: Mountain Bike
Elevation base: 5,440 ft.
Top elevation: 6,820ft.
Miles of trails: 12
Hall Ranch is located on HWY 7, one mile west of Lyons minutes from Boulder, Colorado. This little gem is well worth riding due to mild elevation gain and sweeping meadows. The trail surface varies from hard-pack dirt, sandstone, loose gravel, quartz, and a little sand just to keep it interesting. The degree of difficulty varies on how well you ride, anyone from beginner to the cross country pro can get something out of these trails. The views offered up here are quite pleasant; you'll find yourself gazing at Longs Peak towering above the skyline at 14,259 ft. in Rocky Mountain National Park. There is also wildlife: deer, mountain lions, owls and hawks that may make their presence known. From the parking lot you'll get on the Bitterbrush Trail and enjoy this gradual climb as this trail twists its way through some interesting rock formations and switchbacks. Pine trees and Rocky Mountain Juniper may provide some shade along the way. As you make your way to the Antelope Trail you'll want to stay on Bitterbrush till you get to the Nelson Loop. This 2.2 mile loop is fun to ride in either direction, clockwise or counter clockwise; however, I recommend doing both directions due to the flow of the trail. This way you will notice the valley floor and Eastern Plains one way and the beauty of Longs Peak the other. In between laps you can rest at the bench or take cover under a tree, grab a snack and hydrate a bit. Once you've completed the loops, head back on Bitterbrush and enjoy the ride out. The single track flows nicely as you make your way back to the parking lot. Lyons offers some very nice watering holes such as Okscar Blues Cajun Grill and Brewery, home of Dales Pale Ale. You can also take the ride back down HWY 36 to Boulder and increase your options. Check out the Family Fun Page for more details.
The Morgul Bismark or Red Zinger Loop
Type: Road Ride
Highest elevation: 6,008 ft.
Lowest elevation: 5,479ft.
Total climb: 640 ft.
The Morgul Bismark is perhaps one of the most ridden routes in Boulder. Once part of the Red Zinger Classic and Coors International Bicycle Classic stage races, this ride is literally what movies are made about. American Flyers was filmed during the race itself in 1985, featuring Kevin Costner and a cast of local. This stage was a pivotal scene in the production and aptly so. The classic course went several laps for over 100 miles, and although minimal in elevation gain, the "wall" would certainly hit you. The "wall" as it is referred to, is a short but steep climb that is above a five percent grade and will get you out of the saddle for sure. The ride begins at the intersection of Indiana Street, Mc Caslin Blvd. and HWY 128 just south east of Boulder. The ride direction is clockwise. Proceed west on HWY 128 to the intersection of HWY 128 and HWY 93, Foothills Parkway. Go right (north) towards Boulder, the Flat Irons will be in sight but don't stare to long because the descent approaching is quite fast. Traffic is not too bad during the week and the shoulder is plentiful. At the bottom of the hill you'll come to a traffic signal where HWY 93 intersects with Eldorado Springs Dr., make this quick right. This corner carries a lot of speed so keep your hands close to the brake hoods and prepare for another immediate right onto Marshall Drive. Continue east bound on Marshall for roughly three miles until 76th St. and turn right. Head due south on 76th to West Coal Creek Dr. Turn right, east, onto West Coal Creek drive to Mc Caslin Blvd. Turn right and continue south on McCaslin for the short rolling surface and prepare yourself to encounter the "wall". At the top, a well deserved finish may be at hand or you may want to ride several laps once you've mastered this classic.