Waterton Canyon

Actions Embed
17
miles

Beginner

Fire Road
↑ 700 ft
↓ 600 ft
5,509
elevation (ft)
6.8
avg mph
271
ridden
111
wishlist
2:36
avg time

Lariat
AVERAGE RATING
3.83 out of 5
About This Trail
added by jeff World Champ on June 18, 2003
actions now above photo
 
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.
Rider Questions
 

1

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

Answer | See all 2 answers

 
Recommended Trails
Mount Falcon Park
Deer Creek Canyon
Lair O' The Bear / Bear Creek Trail
Buffalo Creek
Indian Creek Loop
Apex Park
Elk Meadow
Colorado Trail: Waterton To South Platte
Bergen Peak
Red Rocks / Dakota Ridge
Get Local
Trail Activity
what's this?
 
Recent Trail Check-ins
24 check-ins
 
on Aug 20, 2014
on Aug 19, 2014
on Aug 2, 2014
on Jul 13, 2014
on Jul 3, 2014
 
ShaleBreaker on July 22, 2014
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Greg Heil on May 5, 2014
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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."

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
tetontom on August 25, 2013
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
tikigoddess on April 26, 2013
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
wigg006 on September 17, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
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!!

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
shezarednek on June 23, 2012
0 out of 1 readers found this useful
 
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.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Guest on June 4, 2013
0 out of 1 readers found this useful
 
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.
Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
Guest on May 27, 2012
4 out of 4 readers found this useful
 
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.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
djlarroc on March 13, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Rode WtC on 3/10. Lot's of people. Pretty mild ride, w/a very slight climb that does get your HR going. Beautiful views. Made it to 1776, but too much snow. Will go back in a few mos.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
runaroundaroo on March 3, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Just FYI - Waterton Canyon is back open as of March 1st, although it is to be closed for about three weeks some time in the spring to remove more equipment. At the moment the trails are dry up until the Colorado Trail.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
maddslacker on March 15, 2011
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Fireroad in...singletrack out. This is a good trail to ride with the family, as they can come back the fireroad while the adrenaline junkies come back the singletrack. However, it is closed for 2011 for work by the Denver Water Co.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
jrkronstein on November 11, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Gravel road next to the Platte, lots of mountain goats. Great for out of town sea-level'ers.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Gr8lizzard on September 14, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The first 6-7 miles to the dam are great for family leisurely or beginner rides. Because of the group we were with we did not do anything more than just getting to the dam this time. Can't wait for it to open again.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
sdelano26 on July 2, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The 6 mile road leading up to the dam will be closed for the better part of 2010 and most of 2011!!! Check out the following website for dates. http://www.denverwater.org/Recreation/WatertonCanyon/. So basicly the loop descibed here will not be accessible. You can still access the Indian Creek trail from the trailhead off of Highway 67 west of Sedalia (I think you have to pay $4 to park there). * Review edited 7/2/2010

* Review edited 7/2/2010

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
papawheeler on August 15, 2009
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The 6.5 mile ride up the road wasn't hard but it sure took forever to get to the good stuff. The dam at the end of the road was a cool sight to see. Take the roxborough loop counter clock wise. The uphill kicked my butt. It wasn't real hard I was just dragging today. Good trail if you can't spend all day riding. Started at 7:45 amand we were back at the car by 10:am

* Review edited 8/15/2009

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
meh2u on July 27, 2009
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: I didn't like the first 7 miles of the ride. This is the portion that is a two lane fire road. However once you get past this part it becomes a very excellent single track that was very challenging in some spots but mostly enjoyable. Like the person that posted this trail said go counter clockwise. I went the other way and boy it was tough.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
flip8u on June 30, 2009
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: I don't mind the first 6 miles on the dirt road, it goes by quick and it's a beautiful canyon. The Roxborough Loop is fun with two good downhill sections. Most people don't make it past the dam so you usually feel pretty alone back there.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
BFD on August 3, 2008
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The 6-7 mile fire road is a nice warm-up, take a breather at the dam and see some Big Horn Sheep...Take a deep breath and begin the ascent!

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
CURLY007 on October 8, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: 6 miles to get to the trail was nothing as the scenery was again amazing.....Lack of signs on the trail, so dont be fooled that the Colorado trail is a loop!...Thanks to Henry who maintains the trail we were saved from making a wrong turn to hell and back....Thank you..So glad to meet a true honest person up there...

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
raleighman91 on July 27, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The fire road is amazing everytime i go up there something makes me turn around right at the base of the dam

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Lancefan on July 26, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The singletrack section must have seen some recent trail work beacuse it is in amazing condition.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
arnolda14 on June 6, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: When it's really, really hot, you ride the fire road up to the waterfall and soak in its mist. That much is amazing. Other than that the road portion is fairly unremarkable and crowded. Pretty lame imho but the waterfall makes up for that.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
BobinConifer on May 13, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: I like the Roxborough loop better than any of the other short trails that are "commuters" Yes the 6 miles up the river has a head wind weather you're coming up or down and it's not as fun as riding a chairlift or taking the shuddle up Monarch Pass but hey, it's close and The Roxborough Loop has a fun first climb with a couple of switchbacks and a great DH in the trees after you take the left at the Indian Creek Sign, with a bunch of great tight turns and refreshing creek crossings. There's one tough climb before you arrive at the downhill. It's not terribly long but it's a big v so you have to carry your speed all the way up or end up or you end up rocking back and forth too much and walking. The next intersection is the start of the DH which is a blast. A little boney in a few places but it's fast and most hikers can hear you coming from a long way out and usually clear the trail! The Tree! I always go to the right of the Tree which might be a little less forgiving but its straighter and I think lines me up better for the must make left turn.

Similar Trail: Apex

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Boots! on March 5, 2007
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: My husband and I did this trail for the first time last summer and loved it. We were a little turned off at first when we saw how crowded the parking lot was, but the trail in Waterton Canyon is big enough that it didn't seem too crowded. It's beautiful scenery and I highly recommend it!

* Review edited 3/5/2007

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
yellowdman on December 7, 2006
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: I find this ride to be fun. I know it's 6 miles(12 mile loop) of gravel road but it's a great ride to help get your cadence up. Plus you can ride to the start of the Colorado Trail and then split off and do the Roxborough/Indian Trail loop to make the ride a lot more fun plus you add another few well worth it miles to your overall ride. There's always a breeze through the canyon and it always seems to be going against you no matter what. There's also good scenery, good fishing and you get to see some wildlife. It's a great place to take the family or the very very beginner so they can get use to riding in the dirt.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Lancefan on December 2, 2006
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Nice trail, except for the fire road, if you want more single track, try adding on indian creek.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
LilBeast on January 17, 2006
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: nice trail to take entry level friends. the first 6 miles is good for a warmup. as i am new to colorado the climb after the gravel road was challenging, but do-able. after making the first left at the top of the switchbacks there are some tough climbs and some quick drops, make sure you are in good gear. watch your wrists as you come along the last mile it is quite rocky and technical if you go fast. i loved the scenery!!!

Similar Trail: matthews/winters

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
jbersch on January 11, 2006
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Trek7's description pretty much nails it. Great ride. The 6 mile ride up the fire road is beautiful, then the real climbing begins. Not quite as steep as others, but pretty much 1000' straight up through many switchbacks. Nice singletrack through the trees. Make it to Lenny's rest then turn around or head left around the loop to the Roxborough Connection. RC connection to Indian Creek is an absolute blast. Many rocks and roots with nice sections of smooth singletrack.

* Review edited 7/15/2008

Similar Trail: Enchanted forest (Apex)

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Ratchet_Jack on September 22, 2005
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: Great trail. Gets very crowded as the day goes on. I have enjoyed this multiple times this summer. The first six miles are a good warm-up. It is a gravel road but look around and enjoy the scenery. We did see the bighorn sheep. On the Colorado Trail section. This trail has soft singletrack, tight singletrack, creek crossing, climbs, rocks and roots, and some technical areas. Multiple spurs should be explored at a later day. The return to the parking lot is down the same gravel road. Great to cruise and to get the feeling back in your hands. Less than 30 minutes from Parker, this is a great ride when you just have to get out and bang.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Big_Alien on May 22, 2005
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: I agree with the reviews above but here's the deal with Waterton Canyon. I have gone on numerous "wildlife trails" seeing nothing wilder than the tread on my front tire. This so-called fire road is amazing. I have taken it just four times and seen non-human-shy big horn sheep that you could practically reach out and touch three times. From old beat up grandsheep to grazing females to frisky younger ones. I saw 5 great blue heron on one trip. Red tail hawks patrol the canyon. And lots of dear, who watch you casually without being stuck in your headlights. I could go on but you get the idea. No dogs allowed in the canyon and plentiful water make the wildlife comfortable with bikers and hikers. When you hit the dam, don't turn back -- at least go up to if not onto the Colorado Trail.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Pain_Is_Relative on October 28, 2004
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: The 6 mile fire road start is a great warm up, but is a huge waste of time. I bought a mountain bike to go fast and jump off large rocks. This trail is more similar to a road ride. Like the Cherry Creek trail. For the mountain biker looking for great single tracks with fast sections and hairy turns, go somewhere else. This is a great trail for the family ride.

Similar Trail: Green Mountain

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Guest on August 31, 2004
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: This is a good beginner trail, but otherwise, ehhhh, you could take it or leave it. Any serious rider wouldn't do this trail, unless they hook it up with Indian Creek or the Colorado Trail or they really really like starting off doing 6-7 miles of slightly uphill fire road. Sorry, just not the best use of your mountain biking time.

Similar Trail: Keystone Gulch

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Guest on September 19, 2003
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
 
Review: As the description states this out and back (i personally call them lolly pop trails, get it - a stick and loop?). Anyhow the first 6 miles are mundane but scenic, the 6 miles are used a warm up for the main event, plus it gives some good time for conversation. The loop isn't what i considered that difficult, it has it's moments but they're not sustained. The first climb up the the first "T" isn't exhausting for anyone that rides regularly. However, for someone riding once a month at best will find themselves gasping for air. Once at the top of the first climb (this is where most people stop for a break) take a break because after you make that left there are some shorter technical climbs that require a combo of strength and skill. The main thing to remember on this loop is to make all left turns to make it back to the canyon dirt road. After turning left at the Indian trail "T" you'll enjoy a fast downhill and rolling track. Watch them drops and don't take them too slow. After the last "T" (denoted by a .8 mile sign to the canyon road) you'll get a wrist workout. By far the last .8 miles are the rockiest most wrist straining part of the ride. If you're a beginner or sketchy moderate rider make sure you don't take this stretch with too much speed. Some special notes on this stretch: beware of the tree. A Pine tree in the trail denotes some significant drops and technical riding. Also, not much after the lone tree is a hair pin switch back to your left. After taking the nearly .8 down this corner will throw anyone for a loop. I hope this helps and please please please only take this trail counter-clockwise; I've seen way too many people go clockwise only to find themselves in pain.

Was this Review helpful? Yes | No
 
Waterton Canyon MTB Trail 3.83 out of 5 based on 32 ratings. 32 user reviews.
Get Directions
loading...
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Features
 
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Trail Conditions
< / > embed
 
Loading...