Mountain bikers who live in Colorado are a lucky lot. As is the case in many of the western States in the U.S., a large part of Colorado’s territory — 35%, or over 23 million acres — is public land. These public lands include national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, wilderness areas and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Most of these lands are owned and overseen by the federal government. But whether under the umbrella of federal, state or more local authority, these lands may be used by the public for recreation. Residents of Colorado spend millions of dollars of tax revenue every year to preserve, protect and improve their public land. In the mountains near Denver there are dozens of city, county and state parks where people may hike or ride mountain bikes. In most places, trails are well mapped and equipped with signs. Most trails are well maintained, either by governmental agencies or local volunteer groups. New trails are always being proposed and are generally built in a collaborative manner by local interest groups (i.e. mountain bike clubs) working in cooperation with government agencies. The result is a terrific network of trails which mountain bikers and all outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy.
Today’s outing was a ride in Golden Gate Canyon State Park in the mountains not far from Golden, Colorado, the western-most suburb of the Denver metro area. The loop ride on the Blue Grouse and Mule Deer trails covered 11.2 miles (18.0 kms), with an elevation gain and loss of 1500 feet (457 meters). The trailhead sits at an altitude of 8400 feet (2560 meters) and the highest point of the trail crossed the 9400 feet (2865 meter) mark. Nine members of the Rocky Mountain Bicycle Boys bike club took part. After completing the ride, the group stopped for lunch and liquid refreshments at a local brewery in Golden.
To view a map of the trail network at Golden Gate State Park, click here.