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Dakota Ridge / Red Rocks Loop from Zorro Trail

Difficult
 4.0 (146) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great winter or after work ride. Fast, technical and exciting.


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Map Key

8.2

Miles

13.2

KM

95%

Singletrack

6,615' 2,016 m

High

6,005' 1,830 m

Low

1,368' 417 m

Up

1,364' 416 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

The Dakota sandstone gets really soapy when it's wet.

Overview

A typical rider should be able to do this loop in under 2 hours. It makes for a great after work ride if you want something more technical.

Drawbacks: It can get really hot, there are often rattlesnakes, and a lot of features will take a very skilled rider to clean - expect to walk some of the trail.

Note: There are several ways to do this ride. Another popular option is to park at the Stegosaurus Parking near I-70, which puts you at the bottom of Dakota Ridge trail, and skips Zorro.

Need to Know

Watch for hikers on the Red Rocks side. The climb on the North side of Dakota Ridge is all bentonite clay, if it has rained or snowed it will need time to dry or you'll have a mess on your hands.

Description

Start in the Alameda parking lot for the Zorro trail or Green Mountain. Warm up on the Zorro trail climb, try the stairs at the top, they are a prelude to the waterbars up ahead.

Head South (Left) at the intersection of Zorro and Dakota Ridge trail.

Get ready for a difficult, steep, technical climb with off-camber rocks, big moves over water bars, all with your heart jumping out of your chest. Then as the trail heads downhill, you'll be negotiating 2 foot drops while you try to take in the sharp drop off on both sides of the view. When you hit the road, keep heading south (right)(uphill) the trail picks up again on the left just before the top. After a short climb, be ready for a fast descent.

Watch for traffic, cross the road to the right and head into Red Rocks. The trail picks up again on your right, about 1/4 mile up the road after you enter the park. The Red Rocks trail is much different from Dakota Ridge. You'll find yourself climbing steadily on smooth dirt. This trail is often full of hikers, so watch for them, but you won't be moving very quickly as the climb gets fairly steep in places.

As you near the top of the climb, you'll start seeing giant Red Rock formations the park is named for. The scenery is pretty epic as you climb, and it will help you forget about the hot, dry conditions as you work hard.

Eventually you'll top out with a choice to make. Take a right to follow this ride and slice through the middle of a rock formation, climbing steeply up a short section of rock. Otherwise, take a left for the Morrison Slide trail if you want a harder alternate way back.

Once you reach the top, there's a viewpoint on the rocks you can walk out to. Otherwise, head left to follow the trail back down. It's mostly downhill or flat from here and very fun. There are some small rocks along the way down that keep it interesting, so stay alert. There's also a fairly significant stream crossing (rideable).

When you reach a junction with the Village Walk trail, stay right. Left is a hiking-only trail, and right is a bike only trail. You can fly the rest of the way down the short singletrack section without worry of encountering hikers here.

Then you'll cross the road again and finish climbing up the part of the Dakota Ridge trail you didn't ride yet. Grab a little more technical on the very steep rocky climb, then take a left to head back down Zorro.

Contacts

Shared By:

Matt Thoele with improvements by Bat Masterson

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 146 votes

#120

Overall
  4.0 from 146 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
36%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
8%
1 Star
1%
Recommended Route Rankings

#38

in Colorado

#120

Overall
433 Views Last Month
50,259 Since May 2, 2013
Difficult

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4%
1%
64%
31%

Photos

Smashing rocks on Dakota Ridge with Yeti employee Matt Fisher.
Feb 17, 2017 near Morrison, CO
Ride Dakota Ridge with world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater in the background. What a view!
Mar 2, 2017 near Morrison, CO
Just past the Zoro intersection are the stairs. Typically ridden up but are fun to ride down!
Sep 26, 2016 near Morrison, CO
The original drop on Dakota ridge. Many more have been added with the recent trail expansion
Dec 8, 2017 near Morrison, CO
The "Push" drop.
Mar 18, 2016 near Morrison, CO
Have fun on the descent!
Mar 5, 2017 near Morrison, CO

Weather


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Check-Ins

May 21, 2021
Shawn Miller
May 14, 2021
Ryan Hickman
Apr 12, 2021
Kyle Mahanes
Apr 5, 2021
Eric Miller
7mi — 1h 45m
Jan 31, 2021
Fabian N
Nov 15, 2020
Steve Muller
Linked With green mountain intermediate loop. Rode with Jim Voss.
Sep 14, 2020
Kearse George
Aug 5, 2020
Grant Warner