The Waterton Canyon trailhead is a bustling point of entry for both hikers and mountain bikers, situated about 4 miles south of C-470 on Wadsworth Blvd. A popular segment, the first 6 miles through Waterton Canyon are crowded and peppered with children and meandering pedestrians.Note: Waterton Canyon has faced periodic closures in the past, and it's always good to check the latest updates before you head out. Alternate access is available via the Indian Creek loop.
Upon reaching the Strontia Dam, the real grind starts:
Turn left at the "sitting bench," and you'll find yourself on the Roxborough Loop. But if the spirit of adventure guides you past this bench, welcome to the authentic Colorado Trail. Here, a stretch of 8 miles greets you with very limited downhill riding, dominated instead by pleasant forested areas and technically challenging rocky ascents.
The terrain becomes even more challenging upon entering the open-to-motorcycles zone, populated by bigger rocks and complex sections best navigated on foot.The last descent—a nearly 4-mile straight downward trajectory—is not for the faint-hearted. You'll experience a thrilling descent with well-maintained switchbacks, offering an adrenaline-charged end to the outbound segment of your journey.
In summary, this 34-mile out-and-back ride offers a bit of everything: crowded starting points, isolated woodland stretches, grueling ascents, and exhilarating descents. It's an epic trail that promises to both challenge and mesmerize, making every pedal stroke worth the effort.
"I rode this trail from South Platte to Waterton, and it was epic. Over 3600 feet of elevation gain, crazy climbs, and a stunning 3.8-mile downhill stretch to cap it off!" — Cyclist"This is not a solo venture. Given its technical terrain, having a buddy around is advisable." — Mountain Biker"Bring your A-game and a Camel Back. This is an all-day affair that tests your stamina and resolve." — Trail Enthusiast