This is a classic Boulder lunch or post-work ride. If you're a beginner looking to gain some more technical experience or a skilled MTB veteran, this ride has something for you.
Due to the Mesa's elevation and lack of trees, this ride is extremely sun-exposed, bring water! Additionally, this is a very popular trail system. Prepare for encounters with runners, hikers, and other riders.
Starting from the Marshall Mesa parking lot head south, through the main gate on Coal Seam
. This is a super fun connector with an extremely rocky option and a very easy walking path option. Continue south, paralleling CO-93, as the trail works its way up to a connection with Community Ditch
At the top of Coal Seam
, bang a left onto Community Ditch
. The ditch is a simple connector linking the Marshall Mesa trails east and west of Route 93. Though boring, you're not on it for too long. Take the first right possible onto Greenbelt Plateau
, across a small bridge, and directly into the first real technical move of the ride. Work your way up these large rock and log step-ups, and take a left at the second staircase to continue climbing.
Crest the hill on Greenbelt Plateau
and descend the uninteresting doubletrack, or the singletrack paralleling it that adds a little flair. Once at the bottom you'll intersect with High Plains
branching left, and Greenbelt Connector
heading right. Take Greenbelt Connector
across 93 where you'll stay right onto Flatirons Vista North
Flatirons Vista North
is straightforward, with views out across the plains towards the foothills. At the next trail intersection, turn left, then a quick right onto Prairie Vista
. This trail section is a flat, gentle trail with some loose rocks through a fairly open forest. You'll catch some nice views through the trees in places as you make your west, to a connection with Flatirons Vista South
Turn right onto Flatirons Vista South
, which is full of small, sometimes loose rocks, so ride within your ability level. This trail winds its way west, then north, eventually connecting with Flatirons Vista North
to the right, and Doudy Draw
to the left. Turn left onto Doudy Draw
Definitely one of the highlights of this ride, Doudy Draw
winds its way south through a nice forest with fleeting views of the Front Range and the Spring Brook Loop area. Blast your way through this descent, over the multiple rocks and drops on offer. At the bottom, cross the stream - it's rideable!
Once at the next intersection, turn left onto Spring Brook Loop South
. This rocky singletrack is not too steep, but may challenge less advanced riders in places. The trail works its way into the trees and the trail will get twisty and more deeply wooded as you continue on. At the halfway point, you'll arrive at a marked intersection. Stay straight to complete the loop (Spring Brook Loop North
Continuing north, Spring Brook Loop North
winds way back and forth on short snappy turns until you eventually start to emerge from the forest. You'll start to take in expansive views across the plains to the Flatirons. To your left (west), you'll have a great perspective of the foothills, and may even see a train climb up towards the Continental Divide.
The trail winds around back to the east and then south to meet up with Spring Brook Loop South
and the start of the loop. At the bottom, turn left onto Doudy Draw
. The trail descends quickly on loose, winding singletrack with multiple rock obstacles. After crossing a larger bridge, turn right onto Community Ditch
This doubletrack takes you back east and proves a nice respite from the bumping and grinding previously encountered on this ride. Head into the newly constructed underpass and turn left onto Coal Seam
. Take this trail back to the TH, and you're done!
Coal mining area in the 1860s. Mines after 1900.