Maps from site: http://www.lakewood.org/BikeMap/
Distance: 9.28 mi--but you could make this much longer.
Elevation Gain: 1,201 ft--but you could make this much higher.
Photo Credit: 303cycling.com
Description: The perfect lunch-time loop...in the Spring or Fall. Avoid this mid-day in the summer because there is no shelter. Anywhere. Better make it sunrise/sunset in the summer months. Oh, and also. Don't start from the South side. That would be heinous.
Avoid it if: You hate sharing the trail with hikers or runners and/or the errant toddler.
I did this trail with my husband as a newly-wed about 15 years ago. It was my first attempt at mountain biking and nearly my last. I didn't have a second attempt for about 10 years. Riding this again on my new cross bike last Fall, I realized that this large time gap (and my slight mental break-down) were not the fault of the trail. Let's put blame where it needs to fall: on my husband...and maybe on my poor attitude...but mainly my husband.
But I digress.
A few days ago, I had exactly one hour for a lunch-time ride. I hadn't ridden my Mountain bike for a while and was feeling it's accusing eyes on me every-time I rolled my popular kid road bike out of the garage. I also happened to be working near the area that day, so it was a perfect fit.
A few things I love about this ride:
- The views. Really spectacular. Really. It even makes Downtown Denver look pretty--and makes you happy that you aren't in it.
- Wide trails make it easy to be a true multi-use trail. I never feel badly for hikers or runners. There is pleeeeennntyyyy of room for everyone. Therefore, everyone gets along fairly well. At the tightest, it's a pretty wide single track. At the widest, it's a triple track that may be wide enough for a Wagon from the late 1800's. This allows for the fasties to bust it without being jerk-faces.
- Multiple access points for where you're coming from and what you need. Let's say you want to start with a grotesquely hard climb. Fine. Park on the South side. Want a good warm up? Park in the West parking lot across from the BMX track on Rooney Rd.
For my most recent ride, I parked at the West lot, took the Green mtn. trail South. I kept going until I hit the radio towers, then flipped it back on the William Hayden trail. I was sure I had enough time to double back instead of looping with a steep downhill fire-road finish. I kind of didn't. But again, due to the wide trails, I was able to sprint back to the lot without offending anyone(even after getting a touch off course towards the end. It's pretty lax out there, so I could change in the lot and was back to work with minutes to spare. Plenty of time. This was even after stopping for pictures. The perfect leg-burning lunch-hour ride.
Straight from the horse's (the website's) mouth:
"With more than 2,400 acres of open space, William Frederick Hayden Park on Green Mountain is the second largest park in Lakewood. The park features a challenging network of multi-use trails. The summit, at 6,800 feet, offers unique and stunning views of the Denver metropolitan area to the east, as well as high mountain peaks to the west."
They aren't kidding. This trail is easy to get to with a mix-and-match menu of trails that allow you to slam out a quick lunch-ride or explore for hours. Plus, it's always nice when you read the phrase, "Once home to the buffalo, this park now provides rich habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, including coyotes, hawks, rattlesnakes, bluebirds, rabbit, mule deer and an occasional mountain lion." --particularly that last part. You throw in the possibility of a jumbo cat attack and my interest is piqued!