There is tons of dirt/gravel surface variety on this route, all of which is approachable for a beginner/intermediate gravel rider: chunky gravel, old cracked asphalt pavement, perfectly groomed crushed gravel, rutted dry mud/sand, smooth hero dirt and even a tiny bit of single track.
Lee Gulch and the High Line Canal Trails are groomed crushed gravel that is smooth, fast and fun. The scenery is beautiful and particularly delightful in the spring when flowering trees are in bloom and birds are singing.
The High Line Canal Trail that goes from Chatfield State Park to Waterton Canyon is a little more rugged and the terrain will keep you on your toes. It is a winding, double track dirt trail that is a little rutted and is used more frequently by horses. Don't forget to look up every now and then! There are great views of the city of Denver and Deer Creek Canyon in the distance and we saw some deer in this area too.
As you begin to loop back, there are some spectacular views of the reservoir and boats in the water at Chatfield State Park.
Lee Gulch narrows in places and has fun twist and turns, but because of that, you can't see very far ahead and you must be careful in the blind curves.
Both Lee Gulch Trail and the High Line Canal Trails cross roads. In most cases, there are marked crosswalks and/or signals, but you definitely have to slow down and/or stop and make sure traffic is clear before crossing.
At approximately mile 20.5 you have to briefly get on Waterton Road which has fast moving traffic on it. Luckily, it is very short section and there is room to stay to the right.
Do this ride for a really fun mixed-terrain adventure that is not too far from the city of Denver. There is minimal elevation gain, terrific scenery and a tasty beverage to be had if you want one at the end!
This route starts from Pedal Bike Shop of Littleton. Stop in and pick up last min supplies. The staff is very friendly and helpful!!
On most days, the trails will be used by pedestrians, dog walkers and horses. Please be kind, yield to pedestrians and horses and call your pass.
On the High Line, there are underpasses that are paved. It’s tempting to follow the gravel, but if you follow the map, you'll have no problem using the underpasses which avoid crossing heavily trafficked roads.
There is one unofficial High Line underpass that goes under Santa Fe at approximately mile 11. It is easily rideable but it’s steep on both ends and dark in the short tunnel.
You will cross a railroad track twice right before entering Chatfield State park at approximately mile 12.6. The first crossing is signed and intuitive. The second is unmarked and requires getting off and walking your bike (and looking for trains!). Follow the map closely in this area to avoid getting turned around.
There are public bathrooms in several places along the way (For example: mile 9 at the Fly'n B Park, in Chatfield State Park, and at mile 21 near Waterton Canyon), but there are no good places to stop to refuel until the end. Bring enough food and hydration to last almost 40 miles . (We love Skratch Labs' Sport Energy Chews!)
If you are in the mood for a post-ride beverage, there are a few options, but Breckenridge Brewery is conveniently right on the way at about mile 34!
We parked in the shopping center parking lot for Pedal Bike Shop. There is plenty of parking anywhere in the large lot.
Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.