Dawson Butte Ranch Trail offers an accessible and beginner-friendly mountain biking experience. Located near Castle Rock, Colorado, this loop track promises a blend of picturesque ponderosa forests and open meadows across its 5-mile course. While considered very easy in terms of technical demands, the trail does present some unique characteristics worthy of exploration.
From Denver/Castle Rock:Head south on I-25 to the Plum Creek Exit. Cross the freeway westbound and turn south on the frontage road. Continue for 5 miles to Tomah Road and take a right. The Dawson Butte Ranch entrance is another 1.5 miles away.From Colorado Springs/Monument:Head north on I-25 to the Tomah Road Exit. Go west across the freeway and make an immediate right on the frontage road, then go north to Tomah Road. Take a left and proceed another 1.5 miles to the entrance.
The main loop starts and ends at the parking lot, making navigation straightforward. It features a singletrack that is wide and non-threatening, with slight turns and gentle gradients. While the track itself is mostly smooth, there are sections filled with deep sand, particularly near the lower end of the trail, which can be challenging for some riders.
The trail offers a slightly different experience depending on the direction. Riding counter-clockwise provides a longer, more interesting downhill segment, and many riders recommend this direction for a more enjoyable experience.
One of the highlights of the trail is its scenery. Flowing through ponderosa pines and scrub oaks, the trail offers ample shade, which is particularly welcoming during hot, mid-day rides.
The trail is also frequented by hikers and equestrians. Generally, they do not cause much interference, but caution and trail etiquette should be exercised, particularly around blind turns.
Overall, Dawson Butte Ranch Trail serves as a versatile loop perfect for families and beginner mountain bikers looking to build confidence. The occasional sand pits and minor inclines add just enough challenge to keep the ride interesting. With beautiful scenery and a convenient location, it's a local favorite that continues to deliver a wholesome biking experience.