Flying Past the Flatirons: The Best Boulder Bike Trails for Mountain Bikers
boulder bike trails

Anybody can explore the city limits of Boulder by car, but are you ready to see this jaw-dropping city from an entirely new vantage point?

When you want to get up close and personal with the breathtaking mountains and sweeping natural areas that define this landscape, only a biking excursion will do.

Yet, with so many acres of lush greenery, rugged landscapes, and postcard-perfect views, where do you begin?

Today, we’re sharing our guide to the best Boulder bike trails around, so you can stop wondering and start pedaling.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. The Trails at Heil Valley Ranch

Want to be surrounded by a bevy of like-minded mountain bikers who know the only way to experience Boulder is on two wheels? Head to Heil Valley Ranch.

Here, you’ll find open meadows, shaded forests, and plenty of bike trails for exploring it all. There’s something here for everyone and every skill level, whether you’re looking for easy and sustained climbs, moderate technical trails, or fast-paced descents. 

In 2017, the ranch added the 2.3-mile Overland Loop Trail to its impressive collection of winding trails. Ideal for beginners, it’s a great way to get up to speed before tackling some of the location’s more strenuous excursions, such as the 5.2-mile Picture Rock Trail, which connects Boulder to nearby Lyons with plenty of switchbacks along the way!

A few of the other trails to check out while you’re here include:

  • Wild Turkey Trail: Intermediate, 2.9 miles
  • Ponderosa Loop: Intermediate, 2.6 miles
  • Wapiti Trail: Intermediate, 2.5 miles

2. The Trails at Walker Ranch and Meyers Ranch

Both located at the foothills of Boulder, these ranches boast some of the most glorious mountain views around. Thankfully, they’re also super biker-friendly.

While you could spend hours transfixed by the peaks around you, the real fun awaits in the valleys.

If you’re up to the challenge, the 7.6-mile Walker Ranch Loop is a trademark destination, available to ride in either direction.

Wherever you begin, you’re up for plenty of adrenaline-racing action thanks to rocky technical climbs, quick descents, and tight woodland switchbacks. There’s even a stone staircase to cross at the path’s lowest elevation!

A few miles away, Meyers Rance offers an ideal reprieve for your nerves.

Traverse the 2.5-mile Meyers Homestead Trail and immerse yourself in wildflower fields and forests, all while following a beginner-friendly doubleback along an old dirt road. At the end of the path, you’re rewarded with an amazing overlook that showcases the span between Indians Peak and Longs Peak.

3. The Trails at Betasso Preserve

In the mood to hit a quick loop after work? When you don’t have a ton of time to invest but want a great workout and even better views, Betasso delivers.

Can’t-miss trails include the 3.3-mile Canyon Loop and the 2.9-mile Benjamin Loop. Both of these trails are accessible and relatively easy to navigate, presenting just enough of a challenge to earn a difficulty level of “intermediate.”

If you’re coming to the preserve from town, take the Boulder Creek Path. From there, you can access the 1.3-mile Betasso Link Trail from Boulder Canyon. This once-illegal path is now one of the most popular in the area, though it can be a little rough to traverse.

You can also start your ride at Fourmile Canyon and take the Fourmile Link Trail to get on the main trails at the preserve.

4. The Trails at Hall Ranch

Experienced bikers flock to Boulder’s Hall Ranch to try their hand at the impressive, highly technical Bitterbrush Trail. This path spans a total of 3.7 miles, but it has one particular 1-mile stretch that’s become infamous over time.

It’s here you’ll find the path’s lower rock garden, which is a lovely name for a stretch of land that’s anything but gentle. 

Those looking for a more relaxed ride can check out the 1-mile Antelope Trail. From Apple Valley Road, take the Antelope Trailhead to hop on, crossing your fingers that there’s a spot open in the tiny, eight-space parking lot.

If it’s full, you can take the 2.7-mile cruise that runs from LaVern M. Johnson Park to reach the trailhead. As you ride along the Antelope Trail, you’ll eventually join back up with the less-treacherous upper portion of the Bitterbrush Trail. From there, keep going to check out the 2.2-mile Nelson Loop!

Right before that path’s ascent, take a look around. That restored ranch house is a marvel like no other!

5. The Trails at Marshall Mesa

Highway 93 divides two of Boulder’s most iconic bike trails: Marshall Mesa and the Flatirons Vista.

When you want uncomplicated double-track loops, Marshall Mesa more than delivers with its 4.7 miles of North Trails, a series of short and interconnected loops on easy terrain.

On the other side of the highway, you’ll find the 4.6-mile network of trails at Flatirons Vista. Scenic and flat, these loops are great for beginners. The biggest loop is a 3.7-mile one that connects the trails at Flatirons Vista-North with the ones at Flatirons Vista-South

When you reach the middle, you can choose to stay on the Flatirons Vista trails. Or, you can turn off and head along the nearby 2.2-mile Dowdy Draw Trail. A moderate challenge with worth-it views, this is one worth checking out.

Explore These Boulder Bike Trails With Us

Now that you know a little more about the diverse range of Boulder bike trails available, are you ready to explore them yourself?

If so, we want to come along.

We provide guided bike tours all around Boulder, including city tours, mountain-to-farm tours, mountain tours and more. We also offer group and corporate tours, so bring the whole office along!

You don’t have to settle for seeing Boulder from within the confines of a car. Contact us today to schedule an adventure and let’s explore together!

About Author

Herschel Goldberg
Herschel is the founder and senior guide for Boulder Bike Tours. He brings an infectious love of biking and a gift for sharing road, trail, city and farm tours with riders of all levels. Whether around his home of Boulder, Colorado, or on tours around the world, Herschel looks forward to joining you and friends for great riding.