Last Summer we did a variation on this Castlewood Gravel Loop. The 2019 version was the Roll Massif‘s gravel route in the 2019 Elephant Rock Ride, and one of our “lows” was that about 10 miles wound though subdivisions on paved roads with heavier car traffic. This new route eliminates that portion and explores some new roads further East of Castlerock.
Getting to and biking through the beautiful Castlewood Canyon State Park was certainly one of our favorite parts of this ride.
Even in August, the open fields were still very green and wildflowers were abundant.
We luckily got an excellent day for this route. Starting early is always recommended in the summertime, but we also got a fair amount of cloud cover which made the heat a lot more bearable.
In general, most of the dirt/gravel roads were in great condition and were non-technical except for a few miles on Dahlberg road which had really thick and deep gravel.
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, food and sunscreen!)
Dahlberg road. It comes at the end of the route at around mile 53, and while it has beautiful scenery, the thick gravel sapped a lot of our energy!
Highways 83 and 86 are paved and had heavy traffic. They are small sections of the otherwise low-traffic and quiet route, but were are least favorite part.
Do this ride if you want a longer-mileage ride with 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 are public bathrooms/outhouses at the Greenland Open Space Trailhead and in Castlewood Canyon State Park.
There are not many places to stop and refuel or get water and it is a long ride on a hot day, so make sure you take enough with you. You do go through Franktown and there is a gas station/convenient store we biked past near the intersection of highway 83 and 86.
We parked at the Greenland Open Space Trailhead where there is ample parking and a port-a-potty. It was relatively quick (approximately 50 min.) and easy to get to the start from Denver when we left early on a Saturday morning.