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Centennial Cone

Consensus:    (details)
 4.0 from 71 votes
  Intermediate from 15 votes
Rank: #7 in the Denver area
#42 in Colorado
#306 Overall
Condition:
Nov 8 Dry
Featured Ride near Idaho Springs,  area, 
“One of the better beginner/intermediate rides in the front range.”
Nick Wilder on Nov 9, 2012
Getting There     GPX File     Print
16.827.0 milesKilometers 2,675’815 m Ascent 7,921’2,414 m High 6.1% Avg Grade
80% Singletrack -2,686’-819 m Descent 6,803’2,073 m Low 12.9% Max Grade
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Restrictions
On weekends, closed to bikes on ODD numbered days. So it is open to bike on all weekdays, and EVEN numbered weekend days. The area is completely closed December and January.

Each year, Open Space implements a seasonal closure from January 31 to approximately June 15, as shown on the park map, to buffer the elk herd’s winter range and calving grounds from visitors. Jeffco Parks and Trails
Overview
2:53 average ride time for 16.3 miles. Details

Built in 2006, these trails are great examples of modern, purpose-built recreation trails. They are smooth, flowy, and not eroding as most seem do in the front range. They're also beautiful, fun, mostly easy, and take you through great scenery.

Though the trails are all technically easy, the long climbs and precipitous drop-offs might not make it suitable for some beginners.
Description
Starting from the large Mayhem Gulch parking lot (with bathrooms) just off Highway 6, you immediately start your climb up Mayhem Gulch trail. This is the longest climb of the day, but the grade is moderate and the surface is smooth. Some of the switchbacks are tight and might need you to step off you bike a few times.

In 1.5 miles, the Juniper Trail goes left. Take it (you'll return via the Mayhem trail that continues to the right). This trail is much flatter and feels great after the long climb.

After a mile on the Juniper Trail, you'll reach an intersection with the Centennial Cone Road parking just ahead. Continue past the other trails to the parking, and continue on the Elk Range Trail, which is really a dirt road. This section is flat but beautiful as it passes by a small working farm (careful of horses and cows near the trail).

After 3 miles of dirt road you'll arrive at the North Trailhead parking area. Turn right on the Travois Trail and follow beautiful, smooth, flowy singletrack down a gentle grade for half a mile. Here, the trail splits (Travois to the left, Evening Sun to the right). Take either one - they rejoin half a mile later. They are both great and about the same difficulty (both easy).

From here, the Travois trail starts getting a bit more difficult, and many people find this to be the best singletrack in this area. You climb, descend, climb a bit more, all with great views of the surrounding hills. The views down Clear Creek Canyon are cool - it looks amazingly deep from up this high.

After reaching a high rocky point, you make a long descent to Elk Creek and a bridge. Fun, but the bad news is you now have to climb all the way back out of this drainage. It's quite a bit of work, but again the trail is smooth and not too steep. Mastering the tight switchbacks is a good challenge.

Once back on the ridge top, the trail goes gently up and down, with steep drops to the left, and great scenery everywhere. This is perhaps the highlight of the entire ride.

After 7.4 miles on the Travois trail (and about 14 total miles so far), you reach the Mayhem Gulch trail intersection. Take it to the left and enjoy the great views and smooth, wide singletrack for .8 miles.

You are now back on the part of Mayhem Gulch that you road up a few hours earlier. Take a left and cruise back to your car.

This loop can be done in either direction, and can be made shorter by parking at the Centennial Cone Road Trailhead (avoiding the biggest climb, out of Mayhem Gulch).
History & Background
Centennial Cone Park was acquired in 1999 with voter-approved Open Space Bond funds. Located north of Clear Creek Canyon, nearly to the Clear Creek County line, the park is valued for the habitat it provides to elk, mountain lion and other species.
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COMMENTS
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PHOTOS of Centennial Cone
 4.5 from 4 votes
Running from the storm, we later got hammered (Golden, CO)
 4.0 from 2 votes
Clear Creek (and your car, probably) WAAAY down there. (Golden, CO)
 4.0 from 1 vote
Nice views! (Golden, CO)
 3.8 from 4 votes
Sunset at the end of a great ride. (Idaho Springs, CO)
 3.5 from 2 votes
Lot of climbing up those switchbacks, but they're not too steep. (Idaho Springs, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
A short technical section that beginners may want to walk down. Clear C... (Golden, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
Did I mention the smooth, flowy singletrack yet? (Golden, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
Near the high point of the ride, and a great place for a break. (Golden, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
Yep, more smooth, fast, flowy trail with amazing scenery. This ride kee... (Idaho Springs, CO)
 3.0 from 1 vote
Fast descending down the best part of the Travois Trail (Golden, CO)
 2.7 from 3 votes
Nice smooth climb with great views! (Golden, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
The restrictions are complicated - plan ahead! (Idaho Springs, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
The easy beginning of the Travois Trail (Golden, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
Official map (Idaho Springs, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
A short pass through a working farm (Golden, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
The dirt road section (Elk Range Trail) isn't an exciting trail, but it ... (Idaho Springs, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
The final descent to the car. (Idaho Springs, CO)
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