If you're lucky and can find a spot at the Upper Antelope Trail
Parking Area, you can shave the road riding portion off of this ride. Otherwise, find parking in town and ride up to the trailhead as shown. For what it's worth, the road from town to the trailhead winds through a series of gorgeous homesteads on the banks of the North Saint Vrain.
Keep an eye out for equestrians, as they're known to frequent this park.
Starting from the town of Lyons, find a parking spot and unload your gear. From town, follow West Main Street (HWY 36) north out of town for a third of a mile until you reach Apple Valley Road. Head left onto Apple Valley Road as it winds its way west. Bear left on Antelope Drive and climb the dirt road to reach the trailhead.
From the trailhead, The Antelope Trail
climbs steadily up a drainage on a mixed tread of granite and dirt. Soon, the trail begins to switchback its way up the headwall of the drainage, challenging beginner riders with trickier line choices and limited sight lines.
After surpassing the headwall, the Antelope Trail
ends at a junction with the Upper and Lower Bitterbrush Trails. Bear right at the junction, starting up the Bitterbrush - Upper Section
. On this trail, expect gentler grades, and overall easier technical challenges throughout the climb. Upon reaching its upper extent, head left at the junction with the Nelson Loop
Travelling left on the Nelson Loop
, the trail ups its grade while presenting further technical challenges, including a mix of switchbacks armored with rocks and exposed roots. However, once past the technical features at its beginning, the rest of the Nelson Loop
provides fantastic flow as the trail swoops across open meadows blanketed by golden grasses.
Upon reaching the end of the Nelson Loop
, you're welcome to make another lap, otherwise drop your seat, flip your suspension into descend, and click into high gear, as the long downhill back to the car is about to begin.
From its junction with the Nelson Loop
, descending the Bitterbrush - Upper Section
presents a fast, flowing rollercoaster ride. Expect the occasional rocky technical section interspersed with grade reversals just waiting to help you practice your pumping skills.
Upon reaching the following junction, make your way left to continue your descent down the switchbacking and technical Antelope Trail
. Be mindful of folks making their way up the trail, as the limited sightlines on the trail can make it easy to sneak up on other trail users.
Once you've reached the trailhead, return the way you came along the road, and be sure to celebrate a successful ride with a slice of pizza or beer at any of the great restaurants in Lyons.