Exploring Denver’s Best Bike Routes
Denver, with its stunning scenery, vibrant neighborhoods, and extensive trail network, is a haven for cyclists of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned road rider seeking a new route or a casual cruiser enjoying a leisurely weekend ride, the city offers a path to suit your fancy. Let’s pedal through some of Denver’s best bicycle paths.
For the Leisurely Cruiser
- Cherry Creek Trail: This paved gem, stretching over 40 miles, follows Cherry Creek, offering charming scenery and connecting parks, shops, and restaurants. Perfect for a family outing or a scenic commute. Take a break at the Denver Botanic Gardens, grab a bite at a patio cafe in the trendy Cherry Creek North neighborhood, or extend your ride to the sprawling Cherry Creek State Park for a full day of adventure.
- South Platte River Greenway: Cruise along the South Platte River, enjoying stunning views of the city skyline and encountering diverse wildlife. Take a break at Confluence Park, where the South Platte and Cherry Creek converge, offering a vibrant hub with restaurants, shops, and kayaking opportunities. Explore the trendy RiNo district with its art galleries, breweries, and unique shops.
- Washington Park Loop: Immerse yourself in the heart of Denver’s largest park. This 2.6-mile loop is car-free and offers a tranquil escape amidst the urban buzz. Rent a paddle boat at the lake, visit the Denver Zoo, or simply relax on the grass and soak up the sunshine.
For the Fitness Enthusiast
- Highline Canal Trail: This moderate 7-mile route features gradual inclines and stunning foothills views. Take in the sights of Sloan’s Lake, a popular spot for paddleboarding and picnicking, and explore charming towns like Wheat Ridge and Golden, known for their historic downtowns and breweries.
- Bear Creek Bike Trail: Challenge yourself with this 12.5-mile trail leading to the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Enjoy moderate climbs, creekside scenery, and a well-deserved post-ride victory at Red Rocks Trading Post, where you can stock up on souvenirs and enjoy a delicious meal. Keep an eye out for wildlife like deer and turkeys along the way.
- Platte River Trail Loop: This 12-mile loop combines sections of the South Platte River Greenway and Cherry Creek Trail, offering diverse terrain and a healthy dose of elevation gain. Cruise along the river, navigate through urban sections, and enjoy the scenic Cherry Creek corridor.
For the Mountain Biker
- White Ranch Park: Experience a taste of the Rockies with this 21-mile loop featuring rolling hills, singletrack sections with varying technical difficulty, and breathtaking vistas of Mount Evans and the surrounding peaks. Be prepared for some challenging climbs, but the rewards are worth it.
- Betasso Preserve: Immerse yourself in aspen forests and rolling meadows on this 10-mile moderate trail system. Navigate through open meadows, twist through wooded sections, and enjoy the diverse birdlife. This trail is perfect for honing your technical skills and enjoying the beauty of nature.
- Green Mountain: Conquer this challenging 25-mile ride with technical climbs, exhilarating descents, and panoramic views of the Denver metro area. Prepare for a true test of your skills and endurance, with sections like “The Wall” and “The Plunge” offering a real workout.
Colorado Bike Laws & Safety Tips
No matter where you bike in Denver, whether on the city streets or mountain trails, it’s important to be aware of local laws and safety tips.
- Cyclists under 18 must wear a helmet.
- Cyclists must follow traffic signals and other rules of the road.
- “Colorado Safety Stop” – bicyclists are allowed to ride slowly through a stop sign without coming to a full stop, assuming they yield to pedestrians and any other vehicles that have the right of way.
- Ride with the flow of traffic, and don’t weave in and out of traffic.
- Use hand signals 100 feet before turning, merging, or stopping.
- Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Use a headlight and taillight when riding in low-light conditions.
Even though it’s not legally required that adults wear helmets, it’s strongly recommended. Regardless of the distance or terrain, a properly fitted helmet can be the difference between life and death in the case of an accident. The same goes for celll phone usage – while it’s not legally prohibited, it’s recommended for your safety and the safety of others on the road.
It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for opening car doors and pedestrians. Keeping an eye out for hazards and following traffic laws will minimize the risk of accidents, according to Denver bicycle accident attorneys at Kane Dulin McQuinn Young.
You can also download the Denver B-cycle app to rent bikes at various locations throughout the city. This is a great option for visitors or those who want to try a route before committing to their gear.