Welcome to White Ranch State Park, a biking gem nestled between Golden and Boulder, Colorado. This expansive trail network features a series of routes that will challenge both your uphill endurance and your downhill technical skills.Trail Stats:
- Distance: 14 miles
- Level: Difficult
- Route Type: Network
- Location: Golden, Colorado
To reach this outdoor wonderland, take 70W from Denver to Golden. From Highway 93, a turn west onto W 56th Ave will guide you to the designated parking area. Parking lots offer maps that detail several trail options, so don't forget to pick one up.
The Ascent: An Uphill Battle
Start your cycling adventure at the bottom of Belcher Hill and brace yourself for one of the most challenging climbs in the Front Range. The ascent accumulates a whopping 1,800 feet of vertical rise and offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Climbing on a combination of steep, rocky terrain and loose dirt, this is a lung-busting segment that can bring even experienced cyclists to their knees. Some areas still bear the marks of last year's flood, so tread cautiously. The altitude only amplifies the challenge, demanding an extra set of lungs if you're not well-acclimated.
Highlights and Features
- Maverick Trail: Get your granny gear ready for this black diamond-rated climb, where the views are nothing short of breathtaking. You might also spot some wildlife during your ascent.
- Longhorn Trail: This is a technical descent filled with rock gardens, log drop-offs, and adrenaline-pumping challenges.
- Rawhide Trail: For a flowy experience, take a detour onto Rawhide after conquering Belcher Hill.
- Mustang Trail: Currently closed due to last year's flood, but once reopened, this will offer another exciting option for cycling enthusiasts.
What Cyclists Are Saying
- "Belcher Hill doesn't disappoint, it's a brutal climb but the descending payoff is worth every vertical foot."
- "Gnarly descents, especially on Longhorn, test your technical skills."
- "Despite being a challenging ride, the trails are well-marked and maintained."
- "Be prepared for varying weather conditions. We were caught in a thunderstorm but found refuge in a cave on the Mustang Trail."
Tips and Precautions
- Weather: Weather can be unpredictable, so keep an eye on the forecast.
- Equipment: Due to the rocky and steep nature of the trails, a full-suspension bike is highly recommended.
- Water and Nutrition: Always carry ample water, especially during hot days. The trails are largely exposed and can get scorching in the mid-afternoon.
- Start Early: For a more comfortable experience, begin your ride in the morning when the sun is less intense.
White Ranch State Park isn't for the faint-hearted. However, for those seeking a formidable climb followed by a thrilling descent, this is a must-visit destination. The trail conditions may require some TLC, but they will undeniably help you grow as a mountain biker. So, gear up and get ready to experience one of Colorado's most exciting mountain biking trails.