Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Front Range Super Trip: Part I

In my search for different trails, I have landed my Tacoma in an unlikely place. I’m in the big city of Denver, Colorado. The part of Colorado, in which I call my home, is nothing like the bright lights and big highways of Denver. I’m used to riding my bike two minutes to reach 40-miles of singletrack. In Denver, packing up your car and driving 20 – 40 minutes is mandatory. However, the drive can be worth it.

The Hall Ranch trail system in Lyons, Colorado was described to me as a winter riding destination. Quite naturally, when one qualifies the seasonality of a trail system, I generally hope that their perception is accurate. A bit of doubt always creeps in to my mind. Thus, I have to experience the trail for myself. From Denver, the Hall Ranch is 45 – minutes away. Depending on traffic, the drive could also take two hours. Once you are there, the riding reward is both technical and scenic and a must if you are in the Front Range.

The main trail head and parking area is directly off of St. Vrain Dr., which makes it both easy to find and, potentially, crowded. The parking area is also ample and very instructive. There are maps, loop direction markers, wildlife warning signs, trash cans, a corral and, uh, the trail head. It would be impossible for one to not find an education during the ride.

After reading all about the abundant Prairie Dog population, I took off from the main parking area. My first trail section was the Antelope Trail. This is the area’s test piece and most difficult trail. I road it up and down to get the full workout. I would gather that most riders ride through the technical rocky sections going down. At the top of the climb, I road the backside of the area, which contains some nice rolling hills and gentle technical sections. Currently, the conditions are snowing and spotty snowing. However, all of the trails are rideable. If you are in the Lyons, Colorado area hit this one for a good afternoon spin…

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