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Mount Falcon and Lair O' the Bear Loop

 43 votes

19.3 Miles 31.0 Kilometers


35%

Singletrack

2,655' 809 m

Ascent

-2,660' -811 m

Descent

7,755' 2,364 m

High

5,788' 1,764 m

Low

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

26%

Max Grade (14°)

Minor Issues

8 days agoUpdate

A physically challenging but technically moderate loop.

Mark Eller

Overview

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.
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.

Contacts

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   Clear Rating

3.6 from 43 votes


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Check-Ins

Nov 13, 2017
Charnley Slack
I took a wrong turn on the paved portion, checking GPS recommended. Doing Mount Falcon or Lair of the Bear out and back would cut the pavement. 20.9mi — 2h 30m
Nov 11, 2017
J Welle
19.3mi
Oct 1, 2017
Pat Murphy
Sep 26, 2017
David Raska
Sep 8, 2017
Brad Walsh
Aug 13, 2017
Blake Gansborg
Aug 12, 2017
Burak Cetin
21mi
Jul 2, 2017
Robert De Rose
This trail is more fun when done in a counter-clockwise direction. Ride the paved road up from Morrison and descend all of Castle trail. 19.3mi

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Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 43 votes

#196

Overall
  3.6 from 43 votes
5 Star
16%
4 Star
42%
3 Star
33%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
5%
Rankings

#58

in Colorado

#196

Overall
646 Views Last Month
21,969 Since May 14, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Conditions


Minor Issues 8 days ago
Snowy, Mostly Dry, Icy - Small patches of thin snow/almost ice. Mostly clear.
Update ConditionsHistory

Getting forecast...

Photos


 
Rode the loop this morning. Bear creek is open again, Park Service cleared quite a bit of the old pines from the trail. Oct 31, 2015
I rode this today from Lair o the Bear park, so did the road downhill then the climb, and then back to the park. That way it doesnt feel like you lose so much at the end going back to Morrison. Jun 12, 2016

 
I rode this yesterday, parked at east falcon access lot and then took 74 back down the hill to morrison and take a right onto highway 8 headed south toward 285 once you see the museum you can go behind it and there is a little gravel nature trail behind the museum back to the lot. Saves about 15 minutes of riding hgwy 8 back to the lot. Aug 29, 2016

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