Waterton Canyon

3.82 out of 5
View Topo Map


Fire Road
↑ 700 ft
↓ 600 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
This is really two different trails. The first, the Waterton Canyon trail, is a wide gravel road that gradually climbs along the S. Platte River. This is a nice place to ride with the family and get some fishing in. The second trail is the Colorado Trail loop. This trail starts at the end of the gravel road, about 6 miles from the parking lot. Take this loop counter-clockwise and be sure to take a look at the map at the trailhead before you get started. This trail has a ton of switchbacks but it is all totally rideable. Lots of trees and very well maintained singletrack. This loop has a good bit of climbing (especially compared to the first 6 miles on gravel road). You'll probably climb a little over 1000 feet on this loop. A great workout and a very fun and scenic trail.
added by Jeff BarberWorld Champ June 18, 2003
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
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Trail Q&A
Rider Questions


Q: Trail map? -Guest

A: Singletracks has a topo map for Waterton Canyon but you'll need to subscribe for access (earn just 30 contribution points to subscribe or purchase instant access). If you don't need a full blown topo, the CO Trail Foundation has a simple map of the trails around the Waterton Canyon area here: http://www.coloradotrail.org/forms/Seg1Map_Singletrack_Dogs.pdf

Jeff Barber answered on March 29, 2014. Did you find this helpful? Yes | No

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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
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Recent Trail Check-ins     (33 total check-ins)
  hmotys   1 week ago
  Jon_Gotow   1 week ago
  hmotys   on Jun 7, 2015
  jondury   on May 3, 2015
  ducati900dark   on Apr 4, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (32)
Trail Photos & Videos (32)
Reviews (35)

June 14, 2015
Review: It's a great ride, I didn't go all the way up but it's very pretty. Super super busy though!

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April 24, 2015
Review: Nice easy ride we just rode the wide road portion up to the damn and back its about a 14 mile round trip , very very easy riding with plenty of bathrooms along this part of the trail! Saw big horn sheep beautiful area!

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February 16, 2015
Review: I'm a super new beginner to mountain biking (on actual trails) - but someone else's beginner review helped me, hence me posting a review for fellow beginners out there. This trail was GREAT to get a taste of trail mountain biking. The snow on the last half of the loop, past Lenny's Rest was a bit of a bummer, but what can we expect this time of year. I have high hopes of re-riding the trail over and over until I'm proficient. Perfect beginner trail - but I'll bet more experienced people fly through it and love it, too.

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July 22, 2014
Review: First off, I am a novice rider, for whatever that is worth. As others have said, the first 6.2 miles is smooth gravel up to the Strontia Springs Dam. After that the trail gets a bit more interesting. A seemingly endless stretch of uphill switchbacks will bring you to Lennys Rest. A few tricky spots, but the uphill is the challenge here. I elected to take a left at the Roxborough Loop, which after a few left turns will eventually lead you back to Waterton Canyon. A few rocky sections and some large roots along the way, nothing too crazy.

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May 5, 2014
Review: Temporary closure: "Hikers, walkers, runners and bikers won't have access to Waterton Canyon for most of next week while Denver Water does some annual maintenance. The dust mitigation project will close the canyon from Tuesday, May 6 through Friday, May 9, the utility said in a news release. Both the canyon and the parking lot will be closed for recreation until Saturday, May 10 at 7 a.m."

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August 25, 2013
Review: If you're looking for a 12-mile gravel road out&back w/ nice views, and close to home, then by all means go do it.

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April 26, 2013
Review: The Waterton Canyon trail itself is a 6.3 mile dirt road that goes through the South Platte River system to the Strontia Springs reservoir. This stretch of the trail is, as rated, a beginner trail. It is perfect for weekends with the family as the roads are wide and very flat. It can be rather boring for the experienced mountain biker. In my experience, only this part of the trail can be considered "beginner". What follows after the end of the huge dirt road is a series of trails connected to the Colorado Trail 1776. Once you start your uphill ascent past a residential area (about 2 or 3 houses along the trail) you will hit Lenny's Rest which marks the beginning of a grueling 2.3 mile uphill climb. Once you get to the top there will be trails that connect to either the Indian Creek Trail or the Roxborough State Park Trail. Take the Roxborough Trail to do the loop back to Waterton Canyon. We went to do this trail 2 days after a snow storm. It had been sunny the days before that and we thought the trails would have dried by then but we were wrong. This trail is tough to begin with, huge drops, rocks and roots will give you quite a challenge. To add to that we had mud and snow as well! The switchbacks on this trail is tough and the uphills do not seem to stop. I wiped out about twice trying to steer through the tough sections of this trail and it was not pleasant. This section is about 4 miles around with a few scenic areas, streams and plenty of wildlife to see. If you are an inexperienced beginner, I do not recommend that you try this trail specially not when it is wet and snowy. For everyone out there out for an aerobic challenge, go ahead, it'll be worth your while.

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September 17, 2012
Review: Rode this trail today 9-17-2012, rode back to the dam and then did the CO Trail to Roxbourogh park trail loop!! HOLY CRAP was there alot of hard uphill with some really good downhill, just didn't think there was enough downhill reward for all the punishing uphill :( . All in all the trail was fun with lots of great picture taking!!

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June 23, 2012
Review: Im fairly new to mountain biking, as this is my second year, but I brought my friend with me who has NEVER ridden a mountain bike before and she went all the way to the dam with me. It was scenic and quiet and not intimidating at all. Now its all she wants to do, too. Great ride. Next time I plan to take the loop at the top.

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June 4, 2013
Review: Your review is deceiving...anyone can get up the first 6 miles, hence the elderly, kids, cruiser bikes, bike tows, etc. What follows after that is a whole different world. Have fun on doing the "whole loop" next time around, but I wouldn't bring your newbie friend. Exertion wise, that first 6 miles accounts for about 5% of your effort.

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May 27, 2012
Review: There are two distinctly different trails here. First, the 6.5 miles of fireroad up Waterton Canyon to the dam and then the Colorado Trail/Roxborough loop. The fire road up to the dam is very scenic as you cruise along the river. You can almost always spot some sort of wildlife and the scenery makes the miles go by quickly. Pretty busy with runners and bikers so don't expect to be the only one. When you reach the dam, the road pitches up steeply and you will shortly arrive at the beginning of the Colorado Trail. This is where it turns to some sweet singletrack! You will climb for a little over a mile at a pretty steep grade with many switchbacks, but all of it is very rideable. When you reach the top you will be at a bench called "Lenny's Rest". Just before you reach the bench there will be a trail going left - take this for the Roxborough loop back to Waterton canyon. You will climb just a little bit more (with a few technical spots) before reaching another intersection in the trail; go left again. You will now have ~3 miles of super sweet singletrack in front of you on your way back to Waterton. Great ride through meadows ith a creek crossing and a some big tree roots to play with. You can tell this trail gets MUCH less use than the first climb on CO trail - much narrower, more technical areas, and somewhat overgrown. Awesome trail. Eventually you will run into the Indian Creek (#800) trail; where there is some obvious signage telling you to go left again. There is one technical spot near the end of the trail (the tree!) that will force you into a right/left decision (I'll let you decide). Trail spits you out right near the dam and you cruise back down Waterton Canyon to your car. Total ~17 miles.

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Waterton Canyon MTB Trail 3.82 out of 5 based on 35 ratings. 35 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed