We got this awesome Cherokee Park Loop route from Zack and Whitney of Bike Sports in Fort Collins, CO. They have “adventure travel experiences” and one they have upcoming is called Gravel Graceland where “riders are treated to specifically designed routes to get a taste of what’s offered East, North, and West of Fort Collins”.
The goal of Gravel Graceland is to introduce riders to mixed terrain riding. Each days route contains at least 80% dirt to pavement. The routes are challenging, fun, and exploratory, and will range between 39 and 48 miles each day with varying elevation.
If you are interested, Bike Sports is currently offering 10% off registration. Just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you a promo code!
This Cherokee Park Loop route is fantastically beautiful and very quiet. At times, we rode alongside a river, dodged open range cows and we even spotted a herd of antelope and an elegant buck with a great rack of antlers.
Most of the road surfaces are in incredible condition- smooth, non-technical and very little sand or washboards.
Our favorite road on the loop was the Prairie Divide Road. It winds through Aspen groves and had a little more shade than the rest of the ride.
There is a very short section on paved Highway 287 where there is heavy traffic that travels fast. There is a decent shoulder, but it is still a little uncomfortable to have semi’s zipping by, and turning across the traffic takes special attention.
There is little shade on this route. We started early in the morning which helped us beat the heat, but it was still quite warm by noon. If you really want to avoid the heat, save this ride for the fall or spring.
Do this ride if you are near Fort Collins or camping in the Red Feather Lakes area and want a really beautiful route that is a decent length and mostly non-technical.
We found some bathrooms around mile 13.5 at the Cherokee Park Wildlife Area/Trailhead. (You’ll pass that same spot on the way back at about mile 35.)
There are no services and little shade along this route so be prepared with enough water and fuel. (We were powered by Skratch Hydration Drink Mix and Sour Cherry gummies which kept us going for the 50 miles.)
County Road 82E is the bumpiest part of the route. It is a pretty short section. Even though it is mostly down hill, you have to slow down a bit and dodge and weave to find safe lines.
We parked on the roadside just by the Park Creek Reservoir on County Road 80. There isn’t an official parking lot there but a few obvious pull off/parking places along the road.It took us about 1.5 hours to drive to the start from downtown Denver.