Nestled in the scenic Idaho Springs, the Waterline Trail offers cyclists a blend of history and adrenaline in a compact package. Although the trail spans only 3 miles, its unique features like the cliff section and its historical significance as an old water line can make any rider's heart race.
This trail isn't your standard ride in the woods; it's an old water line that's literally notched into the side of a cliff. It's believed to have initially served a water wheel, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the path. The trail does offer some engaging singletrack sections, though they are short-lived. The cliff, with its narrow, foot-wide trail that leads hundreds of feet down, stands as the defining adrenaline-rushing moment of this route.
To get to the trailhead, take I-70 west from Denver and exit at #240. A left turn on Highway 103 will lead you to parking options either at the Forest Service parking lot or across from the school.
If the objective is to break a sweat, then this trail might disappoint. With just around a mile of singletrack and a smidge more jeep trail, it's over before you can say 'Waterline.' However, many riders often combine this route with nearby Warren Gulch or Barbour Fork for a more comprehensive 15-20 mile experience that includes plenty of climbing.
Waterline Trail is the kind of trail you don't drive hours to reach. It's a local's trail—a quick loop that offers a different kind of thrill. It might not be a day-long affair but it has its moments that will keep you coming back. If you're around Idaho Springs or are exploring neighboring trails, giving Waterline Trail a spin will serve as a small yet memorable notch in your riding belt.For the thrill-seekers and history enthusiasts alike, Waterline is a hidden gem worth discovering.