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Betasso - Canyon Loop and Benjamin Trail

Consensus:    (details)
 3.6 from 25 votes
  Intermediate from 1 vote
Your Opinion:
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Rating: -none- change
Rank: #3 in Boulder
#43 in Colorado
#283 Overall
Featured Ride near ,  
“A solid ride close to Boulder that is often ridden from town.”
Michael Ahnemann on Jul 25, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
7.2 Miles 90% Singletrack 1,006’ Ascent -1,006’ Descent 6,176’ Low 6,594’ High
Restrictions
No bikes on the Benjamin/Betasso trails on Wednesdays or Saturdays. These loops are also directional for bikes: check the signs and only ride in the indicated direction.
Overview
This is a shorter version of the Super Betasso/Benjamin ride that starts from town.

Betasso is a good but short ride close to Boulder. It's not the best ride around, but it's very popular because it can easily be ridden from town by cruising up Boulder Canyon on the bike path, and riding the steep Betasso Link Trail up to the trailhead.

It's also an easy drive to the trailhead, which has a ton of parking and a covered structure with picnic tables and grills.
Need To Know
There can be heavy hiker traffic on this trail, and the riding direction for bikers is determined by a sign at the start of the ride. Pay attention to the ride direction, and please be courteous to hikers.
Description
Starting from the trailhead, you'll find yourself on the Canyon Loop. The riding direction is predetermined, and indicated on signs along the trail. Pay attention to this direction and adhere to it - the trail is carefully monitored due to the extremely high traffic and its proximity to Boulder.

The Canyon Loop is a relatively quick loop (15-20 minutes) that can be ridden by just about any rider. It's got enough twisty singletrack and fast sections to keep intermediate and expert riders entertained, but the lack of any extremely difficult moves or dangerous areas will allow beginners to feel comfortable as well.

The trail surface is dry, hard-packed dirt most of the way, with a short section that winds through slightly more lush forest. There are some nice views along the way, looking out over the hilly terrain of the foothills.

New as of May 2011 is the Benjamin Loop, which starts as a spur off of the farthest point on the Canyon Loop. This new trail was built by large groups of volunteers, and features significantly more interesting terrain than the Canyon Loop. This trail winds through thick forest, and in places is cut right into the side of rock faces that required major engineering feats to build.

The new trail flows very well, and offers a nice 4 mile addition to the original trail.

If you're still feeling fresh after one loop, do a couple more, and throw some burgers on the grill back at the trailhead when you're done.

Many Boulder riders choose to cruise up the Boulder Canyon bike path along Canyon road (119). The path eventually dead-ends and forces you onto the road, and you'll ride a quick 1/2 mile section of road with ample shoulders until you get to a small trailhead on the North side of the road. From there, you can ride up the steep Betasso Link Trail to join the Canyon Loop.
History & Background
The area near Betasso preserve called Orodell was a small mining town in the late 1800's but was completely destroyed by wildfire in 1894. The mining operations there never recovered, but the land was homesteaded in the early 1900's, and in 1915 Steve Betasso, a local miner, purchased a small ranch here. The Betasso family expanded the ranch through proceeds from their lucrative mining operations, and In 1976, Boulder County purchased 712 acres of the ranch from Ernie Betasso, one of Steve's sons. Ernie, worked with Boulder County Parks and Open Space department until the early 80's to ensure that others could enjoy the land that his family enjoyed for many years. Boulder County purchased additional land in 2007, and this open space area now includes nearly 1200 acres of land for the public to enjoy.
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Today

45° | 27°
Tomorrow

53° | 35°
Friday

66° | 42°
Saturday

59° | 39°
Sunday

60° | 40°
Recent Conditions
Oct 22
muddy
May 6
Beautiful!
Apr 23
wet
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COMMENTS
OTHER RIDES NEAR HERE
3.8 (10)
Perhaps the most classic mountain bike ride within spitting distance of downt...
near Boulder, CO
3.7 (22)
A classic loop near boulder with a nice mix of technical riding, flowy descen...
near Boulder, CO
3.5 (2)
An easy cruise with nice scenery, but not much singletrack.
near Boulder, CO

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PHOTOS of Betasso - Canyon Loop and Benjamin Trail
 3.3 from 3 votes
The trail is smooth and wide through the trees to finish the Canyon loop. (Boulder, CO)
 3.3 from 3 votes
Sweet smooth singletrack through rough terrain! (Boulder, CO)
 3.0 from 3 votes
Arriving at the Benjamin loop from the connector. (Boulder, CO)
 3.0 from 2 votes
One of the many superbly-made switchbacks on the Benjamin Loop (Boulder, CO)
 2.0 from 1 vote
Nice, easy singletrack in Betasso (Boulder, CO)
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