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Mount Falcon and Lair O' the Bear Loop

Consensus:    (details)
 3.5 from 14 votes
  Intermediate from 1 vote
Your Opinion:
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Rating: -none- change
Rank: #19 in the Denver area
#100 in Colorado
#630 Overall
Featured Ride near Indian Hills,  area, 
“A physically challenging but technically moderate loop.”
Mark Eller on May 14, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
19.230.8 milesKilometers 2,777’846 m Ascent 7,762’2,366 m High 5.3% Avg Grade
35% Singletrack -2,784’-849 m Descent 5,786’1,764 m Low 15.2% Max Grade
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Restrictions
These trails are occasionally closed if they're muddy. Some segments are popular with hikers and Jefferson County rangers have been known to ticket riders who exceed 15 MPH or ride aggressively.
Overview
2:22 average ride time for 19.3 miles. Details

A combination of grindy climbing, more than a bit of road riding, shout-out-loud singletrack descending and even a touch of intermediate-level gnar. Finish up with beverages in Morrison and you've got a demanding, varied ride that anyone can feel good about accomplishing.
Need To Know
The Mt. Falcon climb offers almost no tree shade and positively bakes on warm days. It's also extremely popular with hikers, and the same can be said for most of the Bear Creek singletrack. Do this one on a weekday morning for maximum enjoyment.
Description
From the Mt. Falcon parking lot, you'll get a minimal warmup before the long grind on the Castle Rock trail begins. The grade isn't too steep but there are enough of water bars, tight switchbacks and rock fields to make this a demanding climb.

About halfway up, a hard lefthand turn (with just a touch of tree shade) offers a brief respite before the climbing kicks in again. Then it's more grinding in small gears to the top. It's challenging to stay on the bike the entire time — not because the technical challenge is super high but simply because of the relentless climbing and moderate obstacles that just keep coming.

A fit rider keeping the hammer down will need about 30 minutes (give or take) to reach the stone shelter. Ride at a conversational pace or take a few breaks and you might be looking at an hour-long effort — but fear not because you've put nearly all the hard work behind you.

Atop Mt. Falcon there's an opportunity to extend this ride — and add more singletrack — by exploring the Parmalee Trail and a few other options. If you're content to ride just the loop you'll skip those trails and exit the park for a road descent.

Keep an eye peeled for the easy-to-miss left turn onto gravelly Picutis Road. Follow that to the paved Parmalee Gulch Road and climb a moderate grade, following it through the small town of Indian Hills.

Keep following Parmalee Gulch Road. You'll pass Pence Park on your left, then get ready to hit the singletrack again. Look for the Bear Creek Trail on the right, just past the yellow hiker sign.

Clear your throat and prepare for some whooping and hollering. The Bear Creek descent is mostly flowy singletrack, with a few small climbs and some very fun rock features. Almost all of the technical bits offer an intermediate line, though you could miss it if you charge into the drops with too much speed.

A final descent at the end of the singetrack is followed by a hard righthander onto a flat, wide segment of the Bear Creek trail following the river to Little Park.

Once you reach the Little Park parking lot, it's time to get your roadie on again. Fortunately, the paved descent on Route 74 is quite fun as far as that kind of thing goes. Swooping bends and a mostly adequate shoulder brings you to Morrison.

If you've got a speedster in your group, pitch her the car keys and ask her to retrieve the car from the Mt. Falcon parking lot while the rest of your group gets the first drink order started. There's another 10-20 minutes of climbing to reach the car.
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COMMENTS
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PHOTOS of Mount Falcon and Lair O' the Bear Loop
 4.3 from 4 votes
One of the ride's many techy corners (Morrison, CO)
 4.0 from 2 votes
James in the meadow. Spaceship cloud closing in. (Morrison, CO)
 4.0 from 2 votes
Occasional glimpses of the high peaks (Morrison, CO)
 3.7 from 3 votes
Fun technical stuff at Lair O' the Bear (Kittredge, CO)
 3.3 from 3 votes
The big-ish initial climb up Bear Creek Trail (Morrison, CO)
 3.3 from 4 votes
Challenging rock features amidst the flowy singletrack. (Kittredge, CO)
 3.0 from 2 votes
Cresting the summit. (Morrison, CO)
 2.7 from 3 votes
There's an honest-to-gawd bear, though it's not clear where his lair mig... (Morrison, CO)
 2.3 from 4 votes
Whoop! Yee-haw! Take your pick of exclamations and enjoy the flowing des... (Morrison, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
Finally! Hit that singletrack just beyond the hiker sign. (Morrison, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
Looking to extend your loop with more singletrack? Take this turn onto t... (Morrison, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
Keep cranking! You're about halfway done with the Mt. Falcon climb. (Morrison, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
Leaving Mt. Falcon. You can get all aerodynamic on the road descent, but... (Morrison, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
Take a big swig and get ready to sweat â the big climb is just ahead. (Morrison, CO)
 2.0 from 3 votes
castle trail towards the upper parking lot (Morrison, CO)
 1.3 from 3 votes
Are we having fun yet? Never fear, the climbing is almost all behind you. (Morrison, CO)
 1.3 from 3 votes
Get your roadie on as you turn right onto Rt. 74/Parmalee Gulch Rd. (Morrison, CO)
 1.3 from 3 votes
Trail into Pence Park (Evergreen, CO)
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