Out & Back Route from Coal Creek Canyon to Flagstaff

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Golden, Colorado
Date Published:
November 17, 2019
Gravel Ratio:
60% G / 40% P
Difficulty Rating:
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The scenery is really awesome on this route from Coal Creek Canyon to the top of Flagstaff Mountain. Gross Reservoir, which you will bike past, is quite beautiful. There are a few marked scenic overlooks and we highly recommend taking the detours to check them out!

The roads are mostly non-technical, hard packed and smooth with very little traffic.

The grades on these dirt roads are challenging with a few sections of 12-15%. Because of that, it reminded us of the gravel equivalent of biking paved Flagstaff Road from Boulder, but without the car traffic.


We originally planned to do a 40 mile loop ride, but there is construction in Coal Creek Canyon with signs saying NO BIKES from mile markers 12-24 (Bummer ?). We had to revise our plan  and do an out and back version instead.

Do this ride if you want a short, sweet and steep gravel ride with equal amounts of climbing and descending, all while taking in incredible views of the mountains and Gross Reservoir.

Other Notes:

Don’t be fooled into thinking Flagstaff road will be “easy” since it is paved. It has several very steep grades!

As many of the rides we do in Colorado mountains, you will be in remote areas. You will see other people enjoying the outdoors, but you will need to make sure you take enough water and fuel for yourself.

There are bathrooms at the Gross Reservoir Parking Lot (which you will find at about mile 8 and again at mile 14).

Canyons in Colorado often don’t have cell phone reception, which means loading routes onto your bike computer needs to be done prior to losing reception. We forgot about this but luckily the route is simple and we had reviewed it prior to leaving so we were OK. In another situation, however, we would have had a problem...

We started this ride at the intersection between Coal Creek Canyon (72) and Crescent Dr. where there is a convenient store. (This is about 7.4 miles up the canyon from 93.)

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Route Contributor

Laura & Rose

Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.

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