Denver’s Best Road Bike Routes

| Greg Hodges
Road Bikes, Travel

With over 300 days of sunshine each year, maybe it’s time we ditch our beloved soggy NW riding and plan our next bike trip to The Mile High City.

Denver, Colorado isn’t a place you should visit without your road bike. A unique city—urban sophistication collides with outdoor adventure—not unlike a lot like our NW gems. With over 85 miles of paved trails that connect with hundreds of miles of dirt trails, an extensive bike-share program, expanding on-street bicycle infrastructure, it’s easy to see why Denver consistently cracks the top ten in those annual “Most Bike Friendly Cities” lists. Let’s get into it and break down some of our favorites routes in the Wall Street of the West (yeah, nobody actually calls it that).

Cherry Creek Reservoir

The Cherry Creek Trail and Reservoir loop is a nice, flexible route with a variety of length options along the way. A nice, 18-mile, (775 ft elevation) loop is what we’ve mapped out below, but feel free to shorten or extend the ride up and down the well-maintained Cherry Creek Trail. If you’re looking for some pack-riding motivation, a group of experienced riders typically sets out from the starting point at 6 o’clock on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Airport Loop

The airport loop is a 53-mile route running along the edges of Denver International Airport and the smaller Front Range Airport before looping back west into town. With a few options along the route to cut the time/distance this ride is relatively flat along the airports and then picks up into light, rolling hills as you make your way back into town—jumping on and off highway 36.

St. Vrain + Peak to Peak Loop

Alright, this 65-mile ride is technically outside of Denver, but we couldn’t talk about riding in Colorado without mentioning St. Vrain and the Peak to Peak Loop. Welcome to the pinnacle of canyon climbing along Colorado 119 (Peak to Peak Highway). Start in Boulder and head north along 36 to Lyons. Stop for fuel (coffee and a danish) at Button Rock Bakery because you’re going to need all the energy you can muster for 30 miles and 6245 ft. of total ascend.

Gateway Park Route

Looking for a challenging, 60+ mile group ride? We got you. The Gateway Park ride is an early season staple in Boulder and looping at Carter Lake. The ride draws anywhere from thirty to over a hundred riders, depending on the time of year and weather, and gathers on Saturdays, 10 AM at Gateway Park Fun Center (4800 28th St.). It’s fast-paced and resembles more of a race than Saturday morning ride‚ often with riders dominating the entire road.

Lookout Mountain

Start this route in the gateway to the Rocky Mountains—Golden, Colorado, only a 20 minute drive from Denver. Lookout Mountain pushes riders to climb 1,200 feet over just under ten miles from “pillar to post” referring to the stone pillars at the bottom and the sign post for Buffalo Bill’s gravestone at the summit. With incredible views and an average grade of 5 percent—welcome to the perfect combination of breathtaking and painful.