Golden Colorado is known for many things including Coors Beer, Colorado School of Mines, and well cycling of course. Separated from the urban sprawl of Denver by North and South Table mountains and flanked by the foothills of the Rockies to the west, there are mountains in every direction. For mountain bikers, Golden has a little bit of everything to offer. While the majority of the trails lend themselves better to intermediate and advanced riders, there are certainly beginner-friendly options out there.
From downtown Golden, you’re only a few miles away from several riding zones including Lookout Mountain, Apex, White Ranch, Green Mountain, Dakota Ridge, and North Table Mountain. Did we mention that Golden is a cycling Mecca?
For Beginners | Bear Creek Lake Park
For beginner riders, your best bet is going over to Bear Creek Lake Park. There are over 32 trails to choose from, 27 of them being rated for beginners. The majority of the trails in Bear Creek Lake Park are single track, with the longest trail clocking in at 7 miles with 645 feet of climbing. Getting to the park is easy from Golden but you do have to pay to park. Aside from mountain biking, there are other activities to do in Bear Creek including swimming, paddle boarding, hiking, and picnics.
For Intermediate Riders | North Table Mountain & Green Mountain
For intermediate riders, we recommend checking out North Table Mountain, which has a challenging trail that goes around the perimeter of the mountain. At the top of North Table Mountain, there is a fun trail called Rim Rock that is worth checking out too (Rim Rock is closed from February 1 through July 31 2020 to protect raptor nesting territory and ground-nesting bird habitat). On the east side of North table mountain, you will find New Terrain Brewing and the Golden Bike Park which has a fun jump progression line to work on your skills. There is even an area where young kids can work on skills with their strider bikes.
Another great area well suited for intermediate riders is Green Mountain, which is just south of Golden. One of our favorite trails in this area is Rooney Valley, which was newly constructed in within the past few years. It is a multi-directional trail, but if you ask us it’s best ridden down. The trail is smooth and flowy, featuring swooping berms over a couple miles of mellow single track. There are plenty of options for advanced riders too, including the Box o’ Rocks Trail which was built by the Colorado Mountain Bike Association. It’s a short rock garden trail that is fun to hot-lap over and over!
Advanced Riders | Lookout Mountain, Apex Park, & White Ranch
For advanced riders check out Lookout Mountain, Apex Park, and White Ranch Park. These three areas have some of the most technical and difficult mountain biking that Golden has to offer. On Lookout Mountain, Chimney Gulch is a fantastic descent that goes from the top of the mountain all the way to the town of Golden. It offers 1,800 vertical feet of chunky and fast single track, but note that this trail is very busy on the weekends with hikers. In White Ranch, Connecting Maverick with Longhorn Trail is another challenging and technical descent. Steep, rocky, and fast, you will be peeling your hands off the bars by the bottom. Lastly, Apex Park is home to Enchanted Forest which is arguably the most popular trail in the area. Unlike the rest of Golden, Enchanted Forest provides some shade and woodsy type riding. It is a classic!
Whether you are visiting Colorado or live in the front range, Golden is definitely a mountain biking destination worth checking out. Much like the rest of Colorado, the trails here are both dry and rocky. Having a full suspension bike is definitely an advantage, but you can certainly get away with a hardtail too. If you’re used to riding in wetter and more foresty terrain, the dry and loose single track will certainly be a noticeable difference. We hope you found this article helpful. If you’re coming out here to ride, swing by the shop and say hello!