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.), scenic moments where you bike alongside trains and 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. (So make sure you plan accordingly and bring enough water!)
The last 10 miles are the least inspirational/interesting as the route winds though subdivisions on paved roads and had heavier car traffic than the rest of the ride.
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.
We checked out this route since it is the Roll Massif‘s new gravel route option in the 2019 Elephant Rock Ride.
There are no places along the way to pick up any fuel, so make sure you have plenty of water and your pockets are stocked with a few snacks!
When summer temperatures are happening, it pays to get those wheels down early! It was a 90º+ day, but by starting at 6:30, we avoided the worst of the heat and even enjoyed a cool breeze in the first hour or so.
There are public bathrooms/outhouses at the Greenland Open Space Trailhead and in Castlewood Canyon State Park.
We started this ride at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Parking Lot 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.