Run The Rockies Classic Trail Runs in Coloradoand39;s Front Range  by Steven Bragg

Run The Rockies: Classic Trail Runs in Colorado's Front Range

by Steven Bragg (Colorado Mountain Club Press)
Run The Rockies Classic Trail Runs in Coloradoand39;s Front Range  by Steven Bragg
Everyone knows that the Colorado Rockies contain some of the most spectacular trails in the country. Now the Colorado Mountain Club reveals some of its favorites for trail runners. Colorado Classics: Run the Rockies contains detailed information for 50 classic trail runs chosen for their proximity to the major population centers of the Front Range, as well as their incredible scenic qualities and appeal to runners of all abilities. Here you'll find everything you need to enjoy the best that the state has to offer: accurate access and route descriptions, must-have color maps and elevation profiles, running techniques, equipment checklists, safety tips and full-color photography. Fully GPS enabled means that you can use the newest navigational technology to keep you on the right trail.

© 2004 Steven Bragg/Colorado Mountain Club Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Run The Rockies: Classic Trail Runs in Colorado's Front Range" Guide Book
50 Trail Guides

This is truly a medley run, involving six trails, just remember to take all left turns until you reach the Hidden Fawn Trail, and to follow that trail back to the parking area. The trail provides great views including the Bear Creek Basin, and can also be a great place to spot some wildlife including the Cooper's hawk and mountain bluebird. Grade: Moderate, with a 5 degree average angle of ascent. The trail is well-maintained, with few rocks, except on the Sisters Trail; this trail requires careful foot placement through large boulders and rocky steps.
Evergreen, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.9
This breathtakingly beautiful run is situated along Four Mile Creek. Although there are no views of the surrounding area, the towering canyon walls provide not only a cool and refreshing place to run, but a home to an abundant variety of Colorado wildflowers to enjoy as you make you way along the trail. Grade: An average five degree angle of ascent over generally well-maintained trail. There is some sandy trail surface, as well as occasional embedded rocks.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.3
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This trail is very popular for Golden residents and mountain bikers, so be ready for lots of traffic. Though it is low in the foothills, only its southern and eastern sections are free of snow through the winter, with the north facing sections of the Grubstake Loop Trail being buried until mid-April. In summer, temperatures are likely to be very hot on the trail, so plan for an early start. Grade: Steep in parts of the Apex and Sluicebox Trails, with an eight degree average angle of ascent. The trail is generally well-maintained, but watch out for some loose rocks, especially while descending the Pick 'N Sledge Trail on the return.
Golden, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.1
The is the ultimate Colorado Springs running trail, swarming with dozens of runners on weekends. Be prepared to see upwards of a hundred runners during summer weekends. However, because of the high daytime temperatures on the bottom half of the trail, the parking lot is likely to be full by 6 a.m., so either show up early or be prepared to park further down the road. Grade: The trail has an average ten degree angle of ascent for over six miles, with most of the pain in the first three miles, where the gradient is 14 degrees.
Colorado Springs, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 12.8
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Despite the difficult footing in places, there are great views in many spots that make this route well worth the effort. Just be sure to run this route in the recommended order, so you tackle most of the difficult footing during the ascent. Grade: An average angle of ascent of seven degrees, but it seems harder when you throw in the roots, small rocks, medium rocks, really big rocks, and pea gravel littering the Bergen Peak Trail.
Evergreen, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 8.2
An exceptional trail that winds through ponderosa pine forest, meadows, streams and provides many scenic views of the canyons below. Very popular with bikers, so run this trail on Saturdays and Wednesdays when they are not allowed in the preserve. Grade: A scattering of rocky sections, and some sand near the parking area. Assuming a clockwise loop, the trail drops throughout the first half of the run, is flat for a short time, and regains the elevation loss during the final mile.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.4
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This trail would normally be too short to be worthy of attention, but it is very close to a large number of people who work in the Denver Tech Center area or who live in the Highlands Ranch area, and so makes a good lunch-time or after-work run. There is exactly one tree on this route, so do not rely on shade; also, due to the exposure, this is not a good run on stormy days when the risk of lightning is high. There are a number of signs posted warning of rattlesnakes in the area. This is the Tinsley Trail, but the name is rarely marked on the route. Grade: Easy, with a 3 degree average angle of ascent. The trail is very well-maintained double track, with no rocks.
Centennial, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.7
The uphill portion of this run is no joke, since there are hardly any truly flat sections where you can catch your breath. If you can ignore the rasp of your own tortured breathing, feel free to take in the excellent view of surrounding peaks and valleys. Grade: The trail designer conveniently packed nearly all of the vertical gain into a 2.4-mile stretch between mile 0.8 and mile 3.2, so you can agonize through a continuous ten-degree angle of ascent in one fun-filled segment. Once you crawl to the top, the rest of the run is a breeze, with a packed sand base underfoot.
Evergreen, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 7.6
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If you are just starting to run trails or are in poor condition, do not run this route - a number of sections are extremely steep, with loose rocks and gravel. On the other hand, the views are spectacular, especially from the aspen groves in the loop section at the far end of the trail. Also, watch out for dirt bikes and mountain bikes on this increasingly popular trail. Grade: A very difficult mix of sand, gravel, and rocks, sometimes including extremely steep ascents and descents. A turned ankle is possible in several sections.
Colorado Springs, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 8.1
An excellent trail for a hard morning run. However, there are a few sharp switchbacks with steps that will probably require you to come to a complete stop to make the turn. Also, this low and east-facing park can be quite hot in the summer, so either run early or during a different season. When returning to your car, look for rattlesnakes that like to rest in the warmth of the asphalt parking area. Grade: Moderate, with a 5 degree average angle of ascent. The trail is well-maintained, with few rocks.
South Platte, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 6.4
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The trail drops quickly into Castlewood Canyon and stays there until reaching the ruins of the old Castlewood Canyon Dam, which is over 100 years old. The canyon portion of this run affords one an easy cruise through the spectacular canyon walls. Something important to note is that the Rim Rock Trail can be difficult to follow in places, and also requires a stiff hike of several hundred vertical feet to reach. Rattlesnakes have been found on the Rim Rock Trail. Grade: Easy to moderate. The difficulty here is not elevation gain (with the exception of the Rim Rock Trail), but rather the constant rock ledges, steps, and frequent trail windings that must be negotiated.
Castle Rock, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 6.7
All things considered, this is the finest run in the Denver area. The trail rolls over a seemingly endless series of low, rolling hills. Though forest fires have ravaged much of this area, it has also eliminated much of the underbrush, resulting in excellent views. The only problem is that mountain bikers love this route too, and enjoy reaching warp speeds on the straighter sections. Consequently, a better running time is on weekdays, when the crowds are smaller. Grade: Fabulous rolling hills on a packed sandy base. Though there is almost 2,000 feet of vertical gain, it is so spread out that you hardly notice it.
Evergreen, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 13.9
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This is a pleasant run for mornings and late afternoons due to the lack of tree coverage, and be aware of the high amount of dog traffic and its byproducts. However, this trail also provides nice views of the Flatirons, and it is a great place to observe eagles and raptors. Grade: Though the distance would normally justify an "intermediate" trail rating, the angle of ascent is so minimal that this deserves a "beginner" rating. Also, since this is an out-and-back route, you can turn around at any time to shorten the total mileage.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 8.1
A pleasant and easy run with fine views of the Flatirons. Although the last mile leading east away from the mountains is a bit dull in the colder months, in the Spring the wildflowers are abundant. Grade: This trail has a 4% grade.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 6.2
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This trail run is an excellent opportunity to explore the beautiful wetlands areas around the Mesa Reservoir, which provide a lush habitat for an array of water and grassland birds. Grade: Exceptionally easy. Most of the route is on wide double track, with the exception of some narrower trails near the beginning and end of the route.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.6
This excellent trail system is ideal for a weekday run. Especially since it is so popular with bikers, runners, hikers and dog walkers. But whenever you decide to go, you won?t be disappointed. Grade: Minimal, with a two degree average angle of ascent. The trail is well-maintained.
Evergreen, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.7
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This run provides the occasional view of hot air balloons being launched at nearby Base Line Reservoir. Which is always a neat experience. However, the descent on Skunk Canyon Trail has some high steps. So if you have knees that can't take the impact, it's suggested you run this route in the opposite direction. Grade: A four degree average angle of ascent, but most of the ascents come in short bursts, so there is actually a fair amount of exercise required. The trail has some embedded rocks, through the return on the Enchanted Mesa Medley.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.6
This route provides an ideal introduction to trail running due to its ease and its relatively short distance. This is the perfect run for a beautiful Boulder morning due to its lack of tree cover. And because of its proximity to the Hogback Loop route at the same trailhead, it can be prolonged for a little extra mileage when your in the mood. Grade: An extremely easy grade on firm soil, with few rocks. The only downside is a rather narrow trail, so wear long running tights if the grass is wet.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.6
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This route actually has the less glamorous name of Forest Road 120, so it is given the more scenic ?Glacier Lake? name, based on the lake hidden to the north of its western terminus. Since this is not a trail, and is an actual road, be aware of the infrequent motorized traffic while running. It is still a very pleasant run, especially on the return trip, so enjoy. Grade: An easy two degree uphill angle of ascent on the outbound leg of this road. There are few rocks and no roots to dodge. The slight angle of descent on the return leg makes for a very pleasant run.
Boulder, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 10.8
A beautifully scenic run, not only because of the wildlife you are bound to encounter, but the aspen, wildflowers and peak views are spectacular as well. Do be careful though as the trail consistency changes constantly. Running this trail requires vigilance. Grade: Rolling, with a number of short, steep ascents. The trail is an odd mixture of excellent, smooth single track surface and rough, rutted track. This can be a surprisingly difficult run.
Golden, CO - Trail Running - Trail Length: 8.1
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