This is a repost and re-working of a route which we had published back in 2019. We kept all the best parts and found more enjoyable ways for the sections we hadn't loved.
It is loosely based on the Roll Massif‘s (now The Ride Collective) gravel route option in the 2019 Elephant Rock Ride. (Which sadly, doesn't exist any longer.)
This is also the route for our August 2023 Group Gravel Ride!
This is a picturesque ride that starts about 35 min South of Denver in Castle Rock:
There are lovely views of both Longs Peak and Pikes Peak at the beginning (There are 180 miles between those two peaks and it’s quite spectacular when you can see the entire range from peak to peak.),
Expect scenic moments where you might be biking alongside trains.
You also bike through beautiful Castlewood Canyon State Park.
Green, green, green! We’ve had a wet summer and the route was lush and full of flowers. The extra wetness has made biking the plains enjoyable into the summer.
All the dirt roads were in great condition and were non-technical except for a few rare places where there was a little wet sand/mud.
There is little shade, not many services available and lots of sun exposure during most of this ride. (When summer temperatures are high, it pays to get those wheels down early, and or chose a cooler/cloudier day.)
The 3.5 mile section between Greenland and Larkspur on the Colorado Front Range Trail (which is quite a lovely and fun trail), was a little more tricky than usual to navigate. Because of recent rain, it was both extra sandy and washed out in sections. It is almost all bikeable if you take your time and choose your lines wisely, but just be aware.
Do this ride if you want a decent amount of elevation gain without having to do a long, sustained climb in the foothills. This route has rolling hills and varied scenery that included open fields, a pine forest and Castlewood Canyon views.
There is a gas station/convenience store at mile 25 as you get off the Colorado Front Range Trail and enter the town of Larkspur. Otherwise, there are very few places along the way to pick up any water or fuel, so make sure you have plenty of water and your pockets are stocked with a few snacks!
There are public bathrooms at Founders Park, the Greenland Open Space Trailhead (a slight detour from the route- just up the road and to the left before you get on the Colorado Front Range Trail) and in Castlewood Canyon State Park.
We started this ride from the main parking lot of Founders Park where there is ample free parking and bathrooms. It was quick and easy to get to the start from Denver when we left early on a Saturday morning.