Denver is home to some of the best mountain biking opportunities in the United States. Located east of the Rocky Mountains, Denver and its western suburbs have prime access to the foothills of the mountains where rising hills and stunning rock formations make for a variety of riding experiences for any skill level. Whether you’re from the Denver area and just looking for something new or are visiting from out-state, there are tons of incredible options for mountain biking. In no particular order, we’ve listed our favorite mountain biking trails in the Denver Area.
Apex Park Tour
Apex Park is located west of Denver in Golden, CO and features sprawling forests and rocky hillside trails. Apex has tons of great places to run and hike, but what really makes Apex Park special are the incredible opportunities for mountain biking.
The Apex tour itself (easily found on a map) boasts 9.5 miles of high winding trails that cover a range of 1,500 feet of elevation and offers exposed views of Golden and Denver. There are several different trails that make up the Apex Tour including the Argos Trail, Pick N’ Sledge, Grubstake and more. Each trail has its own unique environment and set of challenges.
For a mountain bike trail, the Apex tour runs through four distinct ecosystems – grassland prairie, pinyon-ponderosa, woodlands and montane – providing a wide array of views and environments to enjoy. Each ecosystem offers its own unique wildlife from rabbits, prairie dogs and coyotes to bobcats, badgers and elk.
The road is mostly intermediate difficulty, making it perfect for those who want a new experience without having to stress about getting too beat up.
North Table Loop
North of Golden, CO is the North Table Loop. The North Table Loop features over 15 miles of trail that run along the southwest side of North Table Mountain below the cliff band. The trail ascends and descends between 300 and 400 feet, giving you plenty of ups and downs along the way.
To either side of the trail, one can expect to see sweeping grasslands climbing up to the Golden Cliffs wherein the rocky plateau looms large over the surrounding lands. There are tons of wildlife to enjoy along the trail as well including deer, elk, black bears and badgers among others.
The trail is perfect for moderate to advanced riders, but features a substantial amount of climbing. While not very technical and straightforward, the climbs will certainly have you sweating.
Dakota Ridge / Red Rocks Loop from Zorro Trail
Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks Loop is located in Morrison, CO southwest of Denver. This trail boasts rolling grasslands pierced by towering rock formations that jut forth from the land like the buildings in Denver itself.
The Dakota Ridge section of the trails features a couple tough climbs but mostly leads you along the ridge. The riding here is very technical with off-camber rocks and water bars that will certainly get your adrenaline pumping. To the left, one can see the Denver skyline and to your right is Red Rocks Park. The Red Rocks trail is a single dirt trail that is much smoother than Dakota Ridge and has more plant and animal life to either side.
It’s not as technical as Dakota Ridge, making it a better choice for new riders, but the scenery is gorgeous. Between the slick rock and desert scenery, these trails are absolutely perfect for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Green Mountain Intermediate Loop
The Green Mountain Intermediate Loop is one of the best trails in the Denver area for those who have gone mountain biking before but aren’t quite ready for something as technical as the Dakota Ridge trail. At roughly seven miles long, it can be physically taxing but the wide open scenery makes it worth the effort.
Aptly named, Green Mountain is located west of Denver in Lakewood, CO and is carpeted with lush rolling grasslands painted with wildflowers and dotted with boulders. The trail winds upwards along the mountain over a smooth dirt path offering sprawling views of the grasslands below and towering mountains in the distance.
Facing eastwards, one can take in the Denver skyline in all its glory. Expect a steady climb on the way up with a few steep portions here and there.
Located southwest of Denver, Buffalo Creek flows calmly along the Colorado Trail and features several different opportunities for mountain biking. Each trail ranges from two to five miles, branching out into the rocky, pine-studded landscape that surrounds the creek.
One of the best things about Buffalo Creek Loop is how unique the land is. The hills around the creek are punctured with needle-like pines on either side of the trails. These areas are places where wildfires torched the land, leaving the trees scarred and sharp. The trail meanders between these desolate areas and lush green spaces unaffected by wildfire. It certainly makes for a unique place to ride.
The trails are intermediate level, so almost anyone can handle them. They aren’t too technical with a few exceptions. The trails can be sandy, however so be careful not to slip when stopping or turning.
Heading back to Golden, White Ranch offers some of the best and most challenging mountain biking in the Denver area. White Ranch has several different trails such as Belcher Hill, Maverick, Sawmill and many more, offering mile after mile of gorgeous scenery and exciting obstacles.
It features steep climbs, rocky passes and loose gravel trails which combine to create a challenging and technical ride that is great for experienced mountain bikers. Riding downhill can get a little gritty as there are plenty of rocks and log drop-offs to surprise you.
The land around the trail is beautiful as well, boasting tall conifers, sprawling fields of wildflowers and the characteristic rolling hills of Denver. In the distance, one can see the hallowed peaks of the Rocky Mountains carve out the horizon.
White ranch is a great place to bike in either the winter or summer, although it’s best to go during cloudy days in the summer because the temperature can get really hot. The western portion of White Ranch offers plenty of people-forward amenities, while the eastern side is more rugged and wild. Either way, you’re sure to have an exciting time.
Any one of these parks and trails for the best mountain biking in Denver is sure to offer an exciting experience you will never forget. Hopefully one of these trails gives you a chance to get out and experience something new. If you’re new to mountain biking, check out our selection of bikes here, as well as a wide array of bike accessories from our shop.