Donald Ash rides the High Plains trail at Marshall Mesa.

Ever take that mountain bike off any sweet jumps?

No excuses here in Boulder. We have plenty of rad trails for mountain biking. Go jump with impunity.


Bikes aren’t welcome on all of Boulder’s trails, so snag a map from a local bike shop or check out the trail maps on the county’s Open Space Web site to make sure you’re in the know before you head out.

Map it

Much of Boulder County’s singletrack lies on Open Space. Check their Web site,, for maps and more trail info. Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, an area advocacy organization, also has maps of area trails (they helped build them!). Check out BMA at .

Also, be a good trail steward — don’t ride when it’s muddy and tear up the trail. Fortunately, it’s not hard to find dry trail around here most of the year.


1 Marshall Mesa

Difficulty: Easy

Location: Just south of Boulder

For your first taste of mountain biking in Boulder, head to Marshall Mesa for some mellow, rolling trail beneath the Flatirons. Head south from the trailhead to check out the connecting trails, like the out-and-back on High Plains and the Spring Brook Loops.

You’ll be back with your friends — even if they’ve never ridden a mountain bike before.

Trailhead: Take Colo. 93 south of town. The trailhead is on the southeast corner of 93 and Marshall Road, across from the Eldorado Corner Market.

2 Hall Ranch

Difficulty: Moderate to advanced

Location: Southwest of Lyons

The trails at Hall Ranch offer some of the area’s best dirt riding — big climbs, sweeping singletrack and a grand vista of Longs Peak.

To avoid the rock garden on the Bitterbrush Trail, start toward the Nelson Loop via the Antelope Trail. It has all the climbing (and switchbacks), but fewer boulders to pop over or hike-a-bike.

Speed with joy along Nelson’s hardpack and enjoy the ride back down the big hill.

Trailhead: From Lyons, head north out of town on U.S. 36. Turn left on Apple Valley Road, then left on Antelope Drive, which ends at the trailhead.

3 Picture Rock

Difficulty: Moderate

Location: South of Lyons

Since the Picture Rock Trail links the trails at Heil Valley Ranch to Colo. 7 near Lyons, you can link Heil to Hall for a monster MTB ride.

To reach Heil’s loops — Ponderosa, 2.6 miles, and Wild Turkey, 2.9 miles — head up through wide-open spaces to tight rocky turns through foothills forest.

Trailhead: Take Colo. 7 south out of Lyons to Old St. Vrain Road. Turn left, then left again on Red Gulch Road.

4 Walker Ranch

Difficulty: Moderate, advanced if you ride the hike-a-bike

Location: West of Boulder

For days when you’re looking for a high-mountain feel without actually driving to the high country, Walker Ranch has that vibe — plus plenty of climbing and technical sections to make you bust out your mojo.

Recommendation: Ride the loop clockwise, and unless you’re a pro, hike-a-bike the stairs. Bonus climbing points if you ride up to the trailhead from Chautauqua.

Trailhead: Take Baseline Road west; past Chautauqua, it turns into Flagstaff Mountain Road. Make a left at the signs for Walker Ranch, just after Pika Road.

5 Sourdough area

Difficulty: Advanced

Location: North of Nederland

For some at-altitude gnar, the Sourdough Trail (and other trails it leads to) provides solid adventure riding. Be ready for tight switchbacks, baby heads and rock gardens, all through the thick forest beneath the Indian Peaks.

To seek out more of the goods, pick up the Little Raven Trail on the south side of the Red Rock Trailhead, or take the Sourdough north from there to pick up the South St. Vrain Trail.

Trailhead: To reach the Red Rock Trailhead, head toward the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, off of the Peak to Peak Highway just northeast of Ward. The trailhead is just shy of the entrance station for the Recreation Area.

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