Summer Adventures

12 Mountain Biking Trails To Get Away From The Front Range Crowds

Avoiding the crowds along the front range in Colorado to do some honest mountain biking is everyone’s MO nowadays. We scoured the front range and found some legit trails ranging from easy to difficult, from chunky to smooth, and everything in between. If you explore any of these trails, tag us on Instagram. We’d love to hear how it went.

Red Mountain Open Space 

powered by Singletracks.com

Distance: 12.1 miles

Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate

Elevation Gain: 1,403 feet

Elevation Drop: 1,401 feet

Average Grade: 4%

Notes: It’s in a pretty remote location, so bring everything you’ll need with you (water, snacks, etc.). Riders also report there is little-to-no cell service, so take extreme caution if you’re going at it alone. Finally, there may or may not be deer flies that want a taste of you (so bring bug spray). You’ll be rewarded with stellar views and very few people, so it’ll make the rest worth it.

MTB Project Route

Indian Peaks Traverse (IPT)

Indian Peaks Traverse (IPT) on Trailforks.com

Distance: 71.4 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 9,063 feet

Elevation Drop: 5,710 feet

Average Grade: 4%

Notes: A group of outdoor enthusiasts envisioned connecting Boulder to Winter Park through a continuous trail. This is what’s come of that vision thus far — connecting trails and roads to make one route. It’s rare that mountain bikers do this in one day, but if you can, all the power to you. Most riders turn it into a bikepacking trip. If you want to explore this route in segments, The Indian Peaks Traverse organization provides five segment recommendations you can check out.

MTB Project Route

Indian Creek Loop

Distance: 14 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 2,360 feet

Elevation Drop: 2,367 feet

Average Grade: 6%

Notes: If you want more descent, ride counterclockwise. If you want more climbing, ride clockwise. There’s a small parking area that fits about 10 cars and fills up fast. Otherwise, there’s overflow parking down the road for around $7. You’ll probably see more hikers than mountain bikers, but you’ll sample a little bit of everything on this route: fast and flowy, technical, and chunky.

MTB Project Route

Wheeler Trail

Wheeler on Trailforks.com

Distance: 10.3 Miles

Difficulty: Very Difficult

Elevation Gain: 2,286 feet

Elevation Drop: 3,424 feet

Average Grade: 11%

Notes: This isn’t for the faint of heart or lungs. The lowest elevation is 9,770’ and you’ll max out at 12,508’. And because a lot of this is above treeline, you need to be extremely careful about altitude and alpine storms. The weather can change in an instant. There are plenty of hike-a-bike sections and tough climbs. If you want to spend more time pedaling instead of hiking, riders suggest staying on the Peak 9 road. If you’re down with getting your steps in, the views are worth it. 

MTB Project Route

Golden Gate Full Pull

Golden Gate New Full Pull on Trailforks.com

Distance: 24.6 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 4,339 feet

Elevation Drop: 4,354 feet

Average Grade: 7%

Notes: You need a park pass for the day (do yourself a favor and buy it for the season. It’s not only cheaper in the long run, it also helps Parks and Wildlife keep our trails beautiful). Riders report that Snowshoe Hare has a lot of loose rocks and you may end up pushing your bike through it. You’ll find challenging descents and tough climbs, fast and flowy trails, and wide open spaces. You get it all, plus a grueling workout that’s worth several kudos.

MTB Project Route

Gold Dust Trail #698

Gold Dust on Trailforks.com

Distance: 8.4 Miles (one way)

Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation Gain: 322 feet

Elevation Drop: 1,772 feet

Average Grade: 5%

Notes: If you want to do the loop, Boreas Road is crowded on the weekends with cars and the single-track is (obviously) more fun. Also, the “best” way to ride this route is from the Como side with 1,772 feet of climbing with a steady grade of 3-4%. It’ll still be a challenge toward the end of the trail through steep rock gardens. Do this as an out-and-back and get the best of both perspectives. There are also railroad artifacts you can see at the top of Boreas Pass. 

MTB Project Route

Colorado Trail: Kenosha Pass to Lost Creek Wilderness Boundary

Distance: 13.1 Miles (the above map shows a longer route if you’re into that)

Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation Gain: 1,690 feet

Elevation Drop: 1,689 feet

Average Grade: 5%

Notes: This is an alternative route to the well-known Kenosha Pass route but this one’s less crowded and is great for an intermediate mountain biker looking for mountain bike rides at higher altitude with incredible views. You’ll experience some challenging, technical climbs, but also be rewarded with fun descents. Regardless of which Kenosha Pass trail you take, expect there to be mad crowds during the Fall when the leaves are changing. You’ll also be up against typical crowded trailheads until you’re further down the trail.

MTB Project Route

Curt Gowdy State Park – IMBA EPIC

Curt Gowdy State Park (IMBA Epic) on Trailforks.com

Distance: 25.2 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 2,844 feet

Elevation Drop: 2,846 feet

Average Grade: 4%

Notes: We’re traveling a bit North to Wyoming this time. Curt Gowdy State Parks boasts 28 named trails, four freeride areas, a skills section, and a downhill mountain bike course. You won’t be bored here with a taste of everything from technical sections to fast, flowy trails to granite slabs to gravel. It’s also a pretty exposed area so make sure you bring sunscreen and plenty of hydration. Riders also say don’t forget to hit some of the newer trails in the park like Gold Watch, Gold Standard, and Ignoramus. 

MTB Project Route

Canyon Creek Loop

Distance: 19.6 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 3,576 feet

Elevation Drop: 3,589 feet

Average Grade: 7% 

Notes: This loop is out in the middle of nowhere with about a 4,000 foot climb that maxes out at 12,500 elevation. Michael, on MTB Project describes this route as, “A grueling road climb up to tree line then a big hike-a-bike followed by tasteful descending.” If you can (literally) push through the grueling hike-a-bike sections and soul-crushing climbs on exposed terrain, the 10 miles of descent is well worth it. Seriously, the steepest grade is 30%. Bring all the snacks and hydration you can fit because you’ll need it.

MTB Project Route

Sourdough – Eldora – Nederland Loop

Distance: 26.7 Miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Elevation Gain: 2,883 feet

Elevation Drop: 2,899 feet

Average Grade: 4%

Notes: Riders say you’ll enjoy this route as long you pick good lines and dig technical terrain. Jeff, on MTB Project calls it, “A diverse route that combines dirt road, gnarly gutted jeep road, smooth pavement.” You’ll also get roots and rocks and well, you’re in for a long day. If you want to read about the fight between mountain bikers up in Nederland, check out Outside Magazine’s article, “Colorado’s Singletrack Wars.

MTB Project Route

Circumnavigation of Mt. Guyot

Distance: 38.5 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 5,204 feet

Elevation Drop: 5,312 feet

Average Grade: 5%

Notes: This is a favorite route for the Breck Epic, a 6-day mountain bike race in Breckenridge, Colorado. Fun fact: you’ll cross over the Continental Divide twice where you’ll max out at 12,033 feet. As we’ve mentioned before, all exposed routes are bound to get hit hard when a storm rolls in. You’re safest to start riding early and remember to bring enough food and hydration so you’re not calling for help halfway through. Check out the video above for some highlights of the trail.

MTB Project Route

South Saint Vrain Figure 8

South Saint Vrain – Figure 8 on Trailforks.com

Distance: 16.3 Miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Elevation Gain: 2,072 feet

Elevation Drop: 2,086 feet

Average Grade: 5%

Notes: It’s an enjoyable, albeit muscle-building, lung-torching route, that has a great flow. If you really like super techy trails, this is the route for you. There are plenty of rock gardens throughout the route that’ll surely kick you around a bit. Peter on MTB Project says, “Not for the faint of heart, but hell of a ride. The climb up sourdough is super technical, expect slow pace and a bunch of time out of the saddle hoping over tons of rocks both large and small, loose and stationary.” Wear the pads and drop the ego. 

MTB Project Route