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Level: Intermediate
Length: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +488/ -403 ft
Total: 105 riders

Mountain Biking Picture Rock Trail

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#201 of 1,348 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#1,565 in the world

This is a great way to access the Heil Valley Ranch trails, especially if you don't want to do the climbing of Wapiti Trail. There are some cool old buildings (and an old, broken-down, shot-up car) that provide some fun scenery. It's not a terribly difficult ride, but it will test you every once and a while to keep you on your toes. To extend the ride, take Wild Turkey to Ponderosa, and complete the loops at the top of the ranch.

First added by dr_albright on Aug 29, 2012. 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 Boulder, take Highway 36 north to Lyons. After the left turn and after you've gone through downtown Lyons, take a left on 5th Ave., which turns into South St. Vrain Road. Take a left on Red Gulch Road, and follow it to the trailhead.
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Picture Rock Trail Trail map

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Local Info

Trail checkins

teables (on Sep 22, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Sep 22, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Lyons, Colorado

Intermediate | 14 mi
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Advanced | 9 mi
Intermediate | 5 mi

Rider questions

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  • kilo523

    Great ride. The rock gardens were a bit rough for me, but overall had a good time. Will ride again

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  • Jared13   ✓ supporter

    Overall, this was a pretty fun trail. When we rode it, it was a bit wet (we turned around just past the 3 mile mark). Even with the shortened ride, it was still a good ride. On the way down there is some great flow which later turns into some great chunk.

    It can get a bit crowded on the trail as the day wears on.

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  • Nick Cady

    Varied, fun trail. A little bit of everything good.

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  • antho_bldr

    Great trail for an improving-beginner or intermediate rider. There are a lot of rock gardens in the top 2 miles of the trail but almost all can be cleared with momentum and confidence. This is once of those trails that's most fun if your fitness is dialed as the downhill is a lot less fun when you're bone-tired from the uphill.

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  • rcraft6826   ✓ supporter

    This is an intermediate/beginner trail. The trailhead starts just southwest of Lyons, and makes a gradual single track climb up into the southern foothills and eventually connects with the Heil valley ranch Trail system. Its about a 6.5 mile climb to the top with a few technical rocky sections that take a little bit of finesse to navigate... But overall nothing too crazy for the average weekend warrior. In terms of "fun factor" I think this is a very fun trail with the decent being very fast and flowy. The views from the top are pretty awesome, and like I said before you can always connect it with the Heil valley trail systems if you want to log a few more miles. You can ride this on a hard tail, but I would recommend a full suspension just so your not hating your life on the descent.

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  • jkey6

    This trail gets very very hot midday towards the bottom. It is very well-built and provides a nice addition or entrance to Heil Valley but it's not the crown jewel of the trail network. It turns into a moderately technical climb halfway to the top. The bottom half is buffed out pretty well with hardly any obstacles. Top to bottom is just shy of 1,000 ft.

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  • dmuney

    This is a good way to reach Heil, and overall the climb was very manageable. As a trail by itself it's nothing that I would go out of my way for.

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  • gregval   ✓ supporter

    Wife and I rode the trail today. Weather was great; trail was dry.
    The lower part of the trail is quite smooth, except for recent horse hooves on a damp/wet trail. This bumped up the bottom. The trail above the silo is quite rocky, with lots of flat flagstone rocks in the trail. This upper part was ok coming back down (still pretty bumpy), but was tougher going up due to the lower speed. If we ride it again, we would just go up to the silo, for a smoother, flowy ride.

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  • alskoj   ✓ supporter

    My son and I rode this trail twice this season. The first time when we rode the whole Heil trail from Picture Rock to the Wapiti trailhead. The second time we rode it we turned around at the silo and headed back to the trailhead. Picture Rock is quite a bit smoother than the other trails in Heil. Mostly smooth and flowy and a blast coming back from the silo. If you want more of a challenge continue on past the silo to the other parts of Heil. Picture Rock is a good trail for even beginners to enjoy.

    10/23/2012 update. I picked up a new 2011 Trek Superfly carbon at the Denver Veloswap and took it on its maiden voyage on Picture Rock. Cold weather is setting in so the trail was fairly crowded for a Tuesday afternoon. I enjoyed my new bike and again enjoyed the trail.
    11/1/12 update. Took my son for a ride on his new bike (he inherited my AL Superfly). We both enjoyed the trail again and the weather was perfect (cloudy and cool).

    * Review edited 10/23/2012

    * Review edited 11/1/2012

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  • dralbright

    I really enjoyed this trail—although the descent on Wapiti is fun, this is more enjoyable overall. There's definitely more flow on this trail than the other Heil Valley trails, and it's not so technical that you're struggling up the whole way.

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