Denver’s best biking trails for kids
posted by: Amber Johnson
With the rainy weather behind us (right?!), my family is ready to hit the trail so we’re sharing some of Denver’s best-paved biking trails for you and your kids.
But first things first: safety. I don’t know about your clan but we have a stack of helmets at our house. Bike helmets. Ski helmets. Climbing helmets. If we’re being honest here, I’ve bought them all second-hand and usually plop them on my child’s head, eye-balling to ensure the best fit. I heard about Bern Unlimited’s lifestyle sports helmet last year and loved that they are all-season, meaning one helmet can be used for both summer and winter sports by merely swapping out the inside knit liner. Sold! Plus, they’re stylin’ as you’ll see here.
Poorly-fitted helmets are a big problem but Bern Unlimited has created a simple 3-step guide to simplify the process for parents and ensure your helmet is providing the best protection for your kids to play hard this summer.
Denver’s Best Biking Trails
Now that you have your kids safely outfitted with helmets, they’re ready to ride! The Mile High City boasts more than 850 miles of paved, off-road trails that connect to hundred of additional miles of dirt trails offering mountain bike adventures. The Denver Convention and Visitor’s Bureau shares these trails that are excellent for families!
THE GREENWAY TRAIL ALONG THE SOUTH PLATTE RIVER
The Greenway Trail, a paved bike trail, follows the South Platte River for almost 30 miles, connecting a necklace of riverside parks. Since much of Denver’s early history occurred along this river, the Colorado Historical Society has erected more than 20 large historic signs that use photos and illustrations to tell the story of the area. Highlights include the Riverside Cemetery where many of Denver’s famous pioneers are buried, Confluence Park where you can cool down in the river or watch the kayers in the man-made rapids. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, the Downtown Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of Denver and Sports Authority Field at Mile High are all located along the bike path, are are Hudson Gardens. The bike path ends at Chatfield State Recreation Area, which offers horseback riding, sailing and swimming.
CHERRY CREEK BIKE PATH
This paved trail begins where Denver was first founded and runs along the creek for more than 40 miles to Franktown. The Cherry Creek Bike Path is one of the most popular bike/hike/jogging trails in Denver and one of the prettiest. Parts of it comprise the Front Range Trail, an off-road bike path that will eventually stretch the entire north-south length of Colorado, from the Wyoming border to New Mexico. Highlights include the Cherry Creek Shopping District, 12-acre Four Mile House & Historic Park (the oldest structure in the metro area), the Cherry Creek State Recreation Area and from the southern end of the Cherry Creek bike path, you’ll find Castlewood Canyon State Park, with walks through the canyon and historic exhibits on the dam that was once located here.
The Clear Creek Bike Path is a 20-mile long paved bike path that follows fast rushing Clear Creek from the South Platte River to the town of Golden. The path goes through residential neighborhoods and countryside, but is always near the creek. As it nears Golden, it offers outstanding views of the high buttes that surround the town. An award-winning kayak course runs through the center of the town and there are outdoor cafes where you can enjoy a drink while kayaks float by. Stop at the free Clear Creek History Park to feed the chickens or enjoy the Golden Farmers’s Market on Saturday mornings.
There are historic buildings located directly on the bike path, and the Colorado Railroad Museum is nearby. If you want to try mountain biking, North Table Mountain, South Table Mountain, Green Mountain all have dirt mountain biking trails, both along the sides of the buttes and up on top, where they offer spectacular sweeping views of the metro area.
BEAR CREEK BIKE TRAIL
Bear Creek Bike Trail is a 20-mile trail that follows Bear Creek from the South Platte River to the tiny mountain town of Morrison, the gateway to Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park. From here, there are paved bike trail links along C-470 that connect to Chatfield State Recreation Area in the south or Golden in the north, making it possible to make 40-60 mile loops from downtown Denver.
Highlights include the town of Morrison’s cafes, coffee shops, ice cream stores, galleries and fine restaurants, all at the base of unusual geologic rock outcroppings. Bear Creek flows through the edge of the town. Bear Creek Bike Path connects to Bear Creek Lake State Park and also Red Rocks, offering an opportunity to bike around 70 million year old red rock outcropping, some rising 300 feet high. Bikers share the road with cars in the park and it is a steep incline from Morrison to the amphitheater, but the views are incredible.
-Photos: City of Golden, Denver.org, City of Lakewood. Thanks to Bern Unlimited for partnering on helmet safety!
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