Weekend Wheeling in Denver
This closed forest road makes for an easy out-and-back of approximately 9.5 miles (total, 4.8 miles one-way). Due to the Buffalo Creek fire of 1996, Trail 695 has been closed to vehicles, making it a much more peaceful ride than in the past. You will lose a significant amount of elevation from the start, making a long climb back to the start for a total elevation gain just over 1,000 feet. A good cyclo-cross bike with thinner tires could easily manage the smooth, gravelly surface, one that is ideal for novices or a family.
Take US Route 285 and drive west to Pine Junction. Turn left on Jefferson County Route 126 and drive 13.2 miles, crossing both Pine and Buffalo Creeks before reaching Forest Road 550 near the top of a long hill. Turn right on Forest Road 550. The trailhead is a tenth of a mile ahead on the right. Drive time from the west side of the Denver metro area should be under an hour.
Begin the out-and-back by returning to Route 126. Turn left on the pavement and take the first gated road (Forest Road 530) on the right (pass through the gate). At the "Trail Closed" sign (Trail 695) approximately three miles from the trailhead, the road curves left and begins a series of rolling elevation gains. At an abandoned piece of construction equipment on the left, the road drops one more time down to the end at mile 4.8. While bikes, horses, and hikers are allowed beyond this end point, the United States Forest Service has dropped numerous logs across the trail, effectively closing the route to bikes down to Spring Creek. Return to the trailhead byyou guessed itpedaling back up the hill.
This ride can be combined with the Chair Rocks ride on the Colorado Trail if one is so inclined. Just bike a short distance along Route 126 to hook these two easy rides together. Watch for the Colorado Trail sign on your right.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication