Whether new to the area, a resident, or vacationing in the greater Denver area, recreational and competitive cyclist are always looking for options to get their rides in. While Colorado is blessed with amazing single track, finding a dry trail during the winter season can be a challenge.
Green Mountain (a.k.a. William F. Hayden Park), a fun, intermediate mountain bike ride about 20 minutes west of Denver and close to the Peak Cycles bike shop in Golden, Colorado is a trail to be ridden year round. A special perk to this nearly treeless trail is that it can be enjoyed by both novice riders and competitive cyclists. In general, the trail options are numerous. Novice riders may forgo the steeper climbs and opt for an easier route while those looking for a challenge have a few hill climbs and intermediate descents to conquer. The trick to riding the trail well is having the right mindset, bike and gear.
Mindset: Because Green Mountain is less technical than some of the surrounding trails in Golden, some consider it to be boring. Yet, to others, it can be a great trail to do intervals or even test ride a new bike or dial in new bike components before heading out to a more challenging trail. For some, Green Mountain offers the mental ease of road riding, but on dirt. For others, it’s an opportunity to work heart rate and power zones. Either option works, but having a workout objective when riding Green Mountain trail can spice up the trail to those who consider this trail boring.
Bike: Hardtail or Full Suspension? The trail is hard packed but it also has loose and bobble head sections. A full suspension bike, like the Specialized Stump Jumper 29er, might be best for longer or more casual rides; however, opt for a hardtail like the Specialized Carve Expert 29 for a good workout and speed. Some ride cyclocross bikes.
Gear: Fortunately, the trail is nearby so it’s not as critical to be as prepared for epic rides. Do keep in mind, Green Mountain is exposed. Sunscreen is important. During the Summer months, thunder and lightening storms can roll in fast. Be prepared with the right gear. A hydration pack may be your better option during the warmer, summer months but opt for bottles for shorter and faster rides.
What else is great about Green Mountain? It is awesome for night riding. Of course, be safe – get a good light and be mindful of the evening critters.
Green Mountain may not be the most technical nor scenic trail Golden has to offer, but its accessibility and appeal to a range of cyclist for year round riding makes Green Mountain a keeper.