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Level: Beginner
Length: 5 mi (8 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +197/ -187 ft
Total: 113 riders

Mountain Biking Dawson's Butte

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#187 of 1,353 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#1,422 in the world

It's a simple loop from the parking lot--you can't get lost if you stay on the main trail. There are a bunch of detours on bridle trails--leave them to the equestrians. The singletrack is usually wide, non threatening, and passes through a mix of ponderosa forest and open meadows. The loop is just over 5 miles with about 300 feet of elevation change, so the grade is always gradual. Going CCW provides a longer, more interesting downhill. Although a map is not necessary, one is available on the Douglas County web site.

First added by John Fisch on Mar 22, 2011. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Denver/Castle Rock--head south on I-25 to the Plum Creek Exit--go west across the freeway and turn south on the frontage road. Go 5 miles to Tomah road and go right. It's another 1.5 miles to the Dawson Butte Ranch entrance. From Colorado Springs/Monument--heat north on I-25 to the Tomah Road Exit. Go west across the freeway and make an immediate right on the frontage road and go north to Tomah Road. Take a left. It's another 1.5 miles to the Dawson Butte Ranch entrance.
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Dawson's Butte Trail map

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ktallakson (on Jan 3, 2018)
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(on Jul 17, 2019)
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Dawson's Butte videos

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Dawson's Butte Clockwise.AVI
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Castle Rock, Colorado

Beginner | 2 mi
Intermediate | 6 mi
Intermediate | 1 mi
| 2 mi

Rider questions

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  • BicycleWizard47

    Terrible trail for mountain biking, very sandy.

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  • bigAD

    Rated 4 in the winter for fat biking. 3 in the summer time. Would be good for beginners, but lots of horse traffic on summer weekends.

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  • Brian87

    This is a great trail that has a good bit of flow to it. There are a few spots with some deep sandnear the bottom of the trail that can make things challenging. There are hikers and horse on this trail, but for the most part they dont slow you down very much.

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  • rpsmithbarney

    Pretty easy going for the most part. One or two deep sand pits that was the most challenging part of the ride. Took me 40 minutes counterclockwise

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  • Jeremie C Moore

    Very very very sandy! Sand is not fun. I felt like I was mountain biking at the beach. Almost ate it really bad a few times.

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  • rhulsey

    Great place for an easy ride. The scenery is great and the trail is nice. There are the occasional hikers and horses, but neither are an issue (hikers generally move to the side or off the trail, and I always stop and move off for the horses). The worst issue on the trail is the deep sand in spots (mostly at the lower end).

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  • trav247

    The sand was hard to ride through!!

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  • Tominello

    Rode this trail for the first time today. Loved it. Fast, flowy and firm. I was doubting my newly purchased 29er, but this trail was made for the bike...or maybe the other way around :)

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  • cha-cha

    Love this trail as it flows through the pines and scrub oak. I like to go clockwise and then counter-clockwise just to add some miles. Nothing technical but the flow is awesome.

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  • AlwzLrng

    Perfect for families! My three kids and I (6yrs - 13yrs) tried this trail and found it to be perfect for all of us. It was fun for my older son who liked to hop over branches and rocks, but smooth enough for my 6 year-old who owns a pink bike with a basket. There were just enough obstacles in the trail (rock here, root there) to make her think she was world's greatest mountain biker, but nothing that a total novice couldn't handle. Minus us, the trail was empty at 9 am on the Monday after 4th of July. Great trail for those who want to be mountain bikers, but really aren't!

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  • Gdb49

    I'm giving this trail 5 stars because it delivers exactly what it advertises. Needed a beginer trail for a true beginer who is not ready for any tech or exposure and this trail delivers the most perfect true beginer experience for that type of rider. It is truly beautiful, fast and flowy, has more turns than you could ask for, and the real sharpe ones do not have any consequences. If you want to take your wife or girlfriend for a ride and she is a timid beginer, this is your trail. We loved it, even me and I love tech. Hills are gentle, but with a hint of a challange. Only 5 miles so the new rider isn't overwhellemed, and you can ride it the opposite direction if you need more mile. Make this a week day, weekends are full of horses, hikers and other bikers. Went just after a rain and it really removed the sand aspect of the trail- very nice hard packed trail. Trail is a slightly wide single track easy to follow and well marked. Rode CCW.

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  • BMCPete

    Fairly new to MTB riding, so whenever I go out for a ride, I try out new trails.

    Dawson Butte is a nice ride overall. A few areas with soft sand, some in tight hairpin turns, but nothing that a beginner cannot handle since you need to go slow around the hairpins anyway! :)

    Rode 2 laps, first in a counter-clockwise direction and the second the reverse.

    All in all, I would say that neither direction has any benefit or detractors. You will have uphill sections and downhill sections either way.

    Make sure you have plenty of water, as the open areas allow the sun to cook you!

    Total time for my ride was 1hr, 8 min. That includes a number of stops for horse traffic or hikers/walkers.

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  • jlryan36

    This is a great trail for beginners and kids. a little bigger than a single track, with some small inclines, fun descents and soft sand. Which makes it challenging to keep your bike steady. It's mostly in a covered area surrounded by ponderosa pines and opens into a meadow, and makes it's way back under cover. If you go counter clockwise you get more of the descent than going clock wise. You can't get lost, it starts and stops at the parking lot. There are also other trails to connect with in this open space. over all it's a fun family ride. There is some horse poo to deal with. But that's why we have water. :)

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  • bunnjovi

    I liked this trail. I would have given it 3.5 stars, maybe a little higher if i could. I definitely think its more fun to ride counter clockwise. Pros- fun, twisty, turny, short enough loop that it can be ridden by all skill levels by doing as many laps as you like. Nice wooded trail. Cons- very sandy in spots, lots of horse traffic. This trail will definitely go into my rotation.

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  • tetontom

    Rode this trail today with my wife, who is a beginner in need of a confidence-builder. this trail was the perfect choice. Nothing that could be called technical or hazardous.
    I admit, though, that I loved it enough to give it a second lap (alone this time). Ridden a bit faster and harder, this was a genuine thrill on my rigid CroMo 29'er.
    Also, scenery is hard to beat, and we were the only riders on the trail.

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  • BushyAR15

    Excellent Beginner MTB trail. Just got back into cycling (MTB) after 15 years and 30 lbs. later. Nice loop. Nice easy rollers, good interval training. Trail did seem very sandy. Be mindful of the number of equestrians on the trail...

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  • Corey Maddocks   ✓ supporter

    This is a mellow 5 mile loop. It is slightly downhill for the first 3 miles, then slightly uphill the the last two miles. There is some loose sand in the middle, but it's rideable with some practice.

    Unlike many Front Range trails, this one has a fair amount of shade so it's good for hot mid-day rides.

    This is a great place for beginners to build their confidence.

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  • schus08

    Nice scenery but way to much sand and horse crap.

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  • Joshb976

    GREAT local trail system. This system is not a monster downhill track by any means, but it is a really nice smooth flowing single track that is not only fun for beginners but great for the local rider who wants to take it easy for the day. I am in agreement with the previous reviews about this place. The shade is nice so you can ride here in the middle of the summer, the short stints of downhill are fun with some nice switchbacks thrown in, the uphill is smooth and non intimidating for beginners, and it's fast. The only two things that are kinda lame is all the sand in areas which can really put a damper on your speed, and all the horses. If you are a beginner are you are taking a beginner out this is the place to go. It has all the parts of a great single track XC system without the technical aspects to scare away the new comer.

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  • arizonaglider

    This is one of my favorite trails along the front range of Colorado but since it's so easy to get to from I-25 and between Denver and Colorado Springs it is often really busy on weekends. Also horses are allowed which both gives you something to watch out for around corners and also some things to dodge on the trail itself. The trail is very different depending on which direction you ride. The trail head is basically at the top of the loop so you always descend then climb back to where you started. Riding counter-clockwise is faster since the low point is at about three miles and the visibility going down is pretty good. After a very fast ride I'm warmed up and ready for the two mile climb of nearly 1000' back to the car. Riding clockwise I need to be on the brakes quite a bit at the start because of the limited visibility and the steeper descent. Riding clockwise is a little easier however since the three mile climb is a little easier. I usually ride counter-clockwise because those first three miles are really fun.

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