Located just 15 miles from the city of Golden, the Blue Grouse-Mule Deer loop offers a challenging yet rewarding cycling experience that's sure to captivate riders with its scenic beauty and technical intricacies. This article delves into the highs and lows of this enthralling trail network to provide cyclists a comprehensive understanding of what to expect.
Starting at Kirley Pond, a parking fee of $5 grants you a day of blissful isolation, as the trail is notably less crowded than others in the area. Once you hit the Blue Grouse trail, expect some pleasant singletrack that soon ramps up in technicality. The trail eventually meets the Mule Deer trail, which beckons you with picturesque campsites and valley views.
Prepare your legs for a climb, as the trail winds up to Panorama Point. While it might have been a rainy experience for some, clear days offer remarkable views that validate the uphill struggle. Though the trail lacks long downhills, the descent through loose rocky doubletrack is thrilling in its own right.
The area is a maze of interconnected trails, so if the Blue Grouse-Mule Deer loop doesn't suffice, consider venturing onto the Mountain Lion Loop. With around 1,200 ft elevation gain, this trail offers a semi-technical uphill and an exhilarating, rocky downhill experience.
The trail network is best suited for advanced riders equipped with modern freeride style bikes. While the trail is primarily rideable, it tests both your aerobic and technical skills. Beginners or those looking for a leisurely ride might find this trail strenuous and technically demanding.