Tired of the crowds on local trails and ready for some rural mountain biking adventures? Here are five great spaces with many trails to choose from. 

  1. Red Mountain Open Space, north of Wellington, has 15 miles of trails open to mountain bikers. Trails of varying lengths wind through washes lined with red rock cliffs and sand and take you through rolling grasslands with spectacular views of the front range.
  2. Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, also north of Wellington, allows the imagination to carry one back to when buffalo roamed, and people lived entirely off the land. In fact, you may see buffalo. Several trail options wind through the flower-filled prairie and bluffs. Check the wind before you go because this area gets it. Pronghorn Loop is a great choice for first-time visiting cyclists. 
  3. Red Feather Lakes. There are several mountain biking trails in this hidden gem of Northern Colorado’s mountain area. Mount Margaret Trail and Lady Moon Trail are great options, but there are many more when the forest roads open again. Enjoy pine-scented air as you bike through stunning mountain terrain.
  4. Medicine Bow National Forest. Tired of crowds in Colorado? Head on up to Laramie, Wyoming! Medicine Bow National Forest has a lot of great mountain biking trails. A section of it east of Laramie, containing Happy Jack and Vedauwoo Recreation areas, is filled with options depending on length and experience level. 
  5. Poudre Canyon trails: Poudre Canyon has a lot of great trails for mountain biking. Check openings before you go with fire-related closures. Old Flowers Road is a nice ride, and there are trails and roads in Pingree Park. For a greater challenge, try Lower Dadd Gulch or Young Gluch.

Choose trails based on your experience level. Always wear protective gear, and bring food, water, and first aid. Check the weather where you go and plan accordingly. This author uses Alltrails and CoTrex apps to find local trails, trip reports, and trail conditions. You can also visit park websites for up-to-date information or pick up brochures at trailheads. This author always uses the Alltrails app on trails to record the route, as not all trails are well-marked, and it’s the best way of avoiding getting lost.

Originally Published in New SCENE magazine, June, 2021