There’s nothing like a breathtaking view to reward all the sweat and hard work you put in on a hiking trail. Most every trail in Boulder has a refreshing vista or two, making them some of the best hikes near Denver, and offer varying degrees of difficulty and to accommodate any skill level. Find a hiking trail: Boulder Trails & Trailheads.
Find the perfect mountain biking trail for you in or near Boulder with this guide to 22 of the area’s top trails.I'm a total beginner. Where should I ride?
We’re assuming that you know how to ride a mountain bike and have the hang of basic skills like braking and shifting, you wear a helmet when you ride a bike, and jumps and loose rocks scare you. With that said, we recommend the following beginner trails.
The trails at Mud Lake are wide and smooth. There are some roots here and there, but very, very safe. It’s up near Nederland, so it’s also nice and cool on a hot day. If you feel like you’re developing mastery of this, ride over and do the Sherwood Gulch Trail.
This place is chockablock full of riders of all calibers. You can put on a lot of miles at Marshall Mesa as a beginner without too many scary bumpy parts. For the most part this area is gradual ups and downs in open plains. Check out our recommendation for the easiest beginner ride on the Mayhoffer Singletree trail or the Flatirons Vista Beginner Ride.
Most of the Boulder Valley Ranch trails are wide, safe, and not too steep. Left Hand Trail is the only true singletrack here and it’s got a few ups and downs, but rides mostly flat. If you are on one of the roads like the Sage Trail look for singletrack that runs parallel just a couple feet off the trail.
Erie Singletrack is a fantastic riding area in the heart of a growing suburban community. These trails are perfect for beginners, returning cyclists, and experts looking for a great workout. Built on city-owned open space, they feature a very smooth singletrack that undulates with the terrain and offers fantastic views of the mountain range. Sunset West is a great place to start with easy green-rated trails.
Valmont Bike Park is a great place to dip your toes into the world of mountain biking. This City of Boulder Park offers skills areas, cross country trails, pump tracks, jump lines and more – there’s something for everyone!
You’re in luck! We have a huge variety of trails nearby – and there are several bike shops in town that rent bikes. It’s going to be a bit harder to get to the trails than getting the bike. See if you can wrangle a ride from someone with a big car or truck if you can.
If you’re a desk jockey looking to get in some easy miles to beat the stress of a work trip, grab a bike and head down to Marshall Mesa. Do the Dirty Bismarck loop. It’s about 15 miles and is rideable by all but the most newb-ish of riders. Largely open, dry, and warm, this is a great place to just hammer out the frustrations of a bad meeting with the boss.
Want to go home with some new scars? Head to “the Rock Garden” at Hall Ranch. You’ll want a car to get there, but the Bitterbrush Trail is a couple miles of ridiculously technical climbing. After that, continue up the trail and to the Nelson Loop and come back down the way you came. This trail is a serious black diamond route. If you are looking for something a bit easier, try looping from Lyons by climbing Antelope, taking a spin around Nelson (popular direction is counter-clockwise) and descending Bitterbrush.
If you are riding from downtown and it’s not a Saturday or Wednesday, ride up to Betasso! Note that Betasso is closed to bikes on Saturdays and Wednesdays. From town this whole ride is about 16 miles, but most of them go by quickly and easily. Driving to the Betasso trailhead shaves off about 9 miles from the ride.
Want to get up to the mountains? West Magnolia is a great network of trails. You can even take the bus from Downtown (the N Bus). These trails are a rabbit warren that is easy to lost in, so use one of the map apps to help guide you. You’ll see lots of aspen trees and views and the riding is fun.
Valmont Bike Park is managed by City of Boulder Parks & Recreation and offers cross country trails, skills areas, pump tracks, jump lines, gravity trails and more – there’s something for everyone! It’s a great place to check out if you don’t have transportation to a trailhead or if you are short on time. Many local bike shops rent bikes and The Fix is right next door.