Boulder County features mountain biking areas such as Betasso Preserve, Boulder Valley Ranch, Dot Trails, Doudy Draw, East Bouler and East Boulder County, Erie Trails, Hall Ranch & Heil Valley Ranch, High Country Trails, Marshall Mesa, Middle Country, Mud Lake, Rabbit Mountain, Walker Ranch and West Magnolia. Each area offers a number of trails to explore!
Trails in the Lyons area to the northeast (particularly Picture Rocks, which connects to Heil, and Hall Ranch) also provide fun intermediate technical rides within an hour’s drive. However, these trails see loads of use and are best done on a weekday if possible.
7 miles of moderate/difficult bike trails Just west of Lyons, you'll find the rolling grasslands and sandstone buttes of Hall Ranch. The over 3,000 acres of open space provides excellent viewing opportunities for wildflowers, animals, and scenic landscapes. Boulder County - Hall Ranch
13 miles of moderate bike trails With beautiful hanging valleys, picturesque vistas, and forest meadows that seem to cling to the sky, Heil Valley Ranch is a playground for wildlife. It only takes one visit to this 5,020-acre property to turn a sedentary person into an outdoor enthusiast. Boulder County - Heil Ranch
6 miles of easy/moderate bike trails Rabbit Mountain is located between Lyons and Longmont. It comprises over 2,733 acres with five miles of trails that take you over sweeping grasslands and through ridge top pine forests. Boulder County - Rabbit Mountain
moderate bike trails The Lion Gulch trail offers access to the Homestead Meadows National Historic District, which is the location of a number of homesteads that were established in the late 1880's and inhabited through the 1940's. It is also part of critical winter range and migration corridor for elk. Larimer County - Lions Gulch
With a few exceptions, Nederland rides are a menagerie of rocks and roots. This mountain bike destination is best for riders looking for technical challenges. However, strong intermediate riders ready for a push may also enjoy Ned. Farther down Boulder Canyon, Betasso offers short, easy mountain bike rides, but beginner rides in the Nederland area are scarce. Nederland rides aren’t the most family-friendly; for that, check out Steamboat Springs. Instead, bring your technical-minded friends who want something different in a small, funky town within easy reach.
Nederland is also great for anyone wanting to combine some rock climbing with rock riding. Boulder Canyon Drive (Route 119), which connects Boulder with Nederland, is strewn with dozens of climbing routes, including both sport and trad (seasonal restrictions apply, so be sure to check in advance). And if you’re into mountaineering, 14,259-foot Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park is a classic Colorado climb.
Afternoon storms are a given in Nederland. Remember Colorado’s massive 2013 flood? It rained here in biblical proportions, destroying roads and closing many mountain bike trails. Be sure to check trail conditions before visiting to find out what’s open. And expect storms after 2:00 p.m. Start riding early and bring appropriate gear for a deluge, no matter how bright and sunny the skies may be when you start -- the Continental Divide is a storm incubator. The town doesn't need another frozen dead guy. Oh, and did we mention mountains? Ned’s elevation is 8,230 feet, so factor the altitude into your plans – you may need time to acclimatize.
Nederland's rides offer a true mountain setting within a stone’s throw of Denver and Boulder. Most, if not all, of Nederland’s rides are on the U.S. Forest Service land that surrounds the town. The USFS Boulder Ranger District lists hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails west of Boulder that are “generally hilly and rocky, winding through pine forests and wooded grasslands.” Bring good trail maps or a local who knows how to get around. Checkout Ned's trails in Boulder County.
Strong intermediate mountain bikers may enjoy the Sourdough trails. The intermediate West Magnolia trails have recovered from recent forest thinning and include plenty of challenging but mostly rideable, fun techy sections. The East Magnolia trails are stunning and experience little use. The first half of Buchanan Pass is a great intermediate skill-building ride, and the second half, with some seemingly unrideable sections, can be mastered by experts. South Saint Vrain will also thrill advanced riders.
A half-hour drive south, Golden Gate State Park offers rides for strong intermediate and advanced riders. The $8 entrance fee scares away most mountain bikers, and numerous hiker-only trails means you’ll have the multi-use routes mostly to yourself. Recent trail work at this park opened up some new rides!