Bike enthusiasts all over the world flock to Colorado to ride its expansive network of mountain bike trails or to tour miles upon miles of scenic byways. However, these long and sometimes technically difficult trails are not always ideal for families looking to introduce young children to the joy of bike riding.
The good news is that Colorado offers dozens of trails perfect for the young rider, trailer-towing parent, or someone simply seeking a leisurely ride and breathtaking scenery. Following are some of the best the state has to offer:
Yampa River Core Trail – Steamboat
The best way to explore Steamboat Springs is by bike. The town has built a city-long bike trail that runs from one end to the other and meanders along the Yampa River. This 7.5-mile trail is relatively flat and passes the Yampa River Botanic Park, restaurants, shops, and multiple places to kick your feet up and relax.
Rio Grande Trail – Glenwood to Aspen
This mountain-high trail travels through the Roaring Fork Valley from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. Ride through multiple towns like Carbondale and Basalt, pass by magazine-worthy ranches, and soak in the beauty of the aspen trees. The trail inclines slightly as it travels up the valley from Glenwood, making it a bit of a challenge for younger riders. However, if you start on the Aspen side, your ride will be largely downhill, and once you’ve had enough, you can jump on the valley’s public bus route for an easy trip back.
Breckenridge to Frisco Bike Path – Breckenridge and Frisco
The most popular section of Summit County’s 55-mile bike path network is the part that runs from Breckenridge to Frisco. This 10-mile out-and-back climbs a few small hills but takes riders through green forests and finishes at either one of these popular mountain towns where visitors can grab a bite to eat, play in parks, or shop unique downtown boutiques.
Cherry Creek Regional Trail – Denver
The Cherry Creek Regional Trail is a picturesque 40-mile route that begins in downtown Denver and connects suburban and rural Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, including the communities of Parker, Centennial, and Franktown. The vast majority of the trail has an 8-foot wide concrete surface, but short sections of the more rural southern end consist of gravel trail and road. Finish your ride at the Cherry Creek Reservoir, a park that not only offers an 880-acre lake, but also a natural prairie environment of gentle, rolling hills, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
Mineral Belt – Leadville
Travel up to 10,000 feet to the historic town of Leadville and ride the state’s highest paved bike path. Enjoy spectacular views of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountains while riding among conifer forests, aspen groves, and meadows. This 11.6-mile loop offers remnants of Leadville’s mining days complete with interpretative signage, which helps to make this ride an educational adventure as well as a recreational one.
Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail – Glenwood Springs
The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail follows the winding course of the Colorado River between Glenwood Springs and Dotsero for 16.2 miles. This paved trail is easy going and heavily used by outdoor recreationists of all pursuits. Along with rafting, there is no better way to see Glenwood Canyon, one of Colorado’s most beautiful destinations.
Poudre River Trail – Greeley
At 21 miles long, this popular northern Colorado trail wanders along the majestic Cache la Poudre River from Greeley to Windsor, Colorado. The trail is located about 50 miles North of Denver and 2.5 miles East of Interstate 25 with many locations within Windsor and Greeley to jump on.
Make bike riding a family affair. Start your kiddos young and they’ll thank you when they’re older. There are few better activities to do together than cruising on bikes, getting great exercise, and soaking in Colorado’s beautiful landscapes.
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About our extraordinary writer: Lindsay Diamond is a novelist and freelance writer living in the mountains of central Colorado. Visit Lindsay-Diamond.com to learn more.