Weekend Wheeling in Denver

Tour de Chatfield
By Tom Barnhart
  |  Gorp.com

This ride connects Chatfield State Park to a series of well-maintained, wide-shouldered county and state roads in the southern Denver metro region. It is a rolling ride along a popular training route from which there is easy access to the Platte River Greenway Trail, which runs north from the park all the way to downtown Denver following the South Platte River. Chatfield State Park has a hot air balloon port, which explains the colorful objects you might see hanging lazily over the lake.

Getting There
Take C470 to the Wadsworth Boulevard exit (State Route 75). Head south a short distance to the first traffic signal and turn right onto Deer Creek Canyon Road. Immediately park off the road on your right.

The Ride
Begin on Wadsworth Boulevard. Turn right and roll along for about 4.5 miles. Just before entering the Lockheed Martin Waterton plant, turn left toward Roxborough State Park. The shoulder of the road gets narrower as you cross the South Platte River. Continue for about 1.5 miles to a T-intersection. Turn left on Rampart Range Road to the north, then east for about 2.5 miles. Watch for the brown Chatfield State Park sign and turn left. There is only one main road through the park, but it does wind around a fair amount as it heads west and then north after crossing the South Platte River.

Along the way, check out the Great Blue Heron rookery exhibit where these majestic birds can be seen hunting for lunch. As you get close to the main entrance of the park, you can turn left onto Wadsworth Boulevard and back to the trailhead, making a 16-mile total ride. Or you can continue the tour of the state park by taking the main road to the top of the dam.

Once there, a paved out-and-back trail goes along the top of the dam to a great 360-degree view of the park. Return from the dam and take the road all the way to its end, near the dog-training area parking lot. Look for the concrete wide bike path and use it to cross the first bridge on the left. It connects to the Greenway Trail, which leads toward downtown Denver. To return to the trailhead, reverse course.


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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