“Perhaps the most classic mountain bike ride within spitting distance of downtown Boulder.”
— Mark Eller
No bikes on the Benjamin/Betasso trails on Wednesdays or Saturdays. These loops are also directional for bikes: Check the signs and only ride in the indicated direction.
This is a longer version of Betasso - Canyon Loop
and Benjamin Trail ride. This one starts from town - a popular way to ride these trails for Boulder residents.
You'll find a bit of everything in this 16-mile linkup of bike path (just a bit), road (brief but with a minimal shoulder and fast-moving traffic), a tough climb, and some really fun, swoopy singletrack on the two upper loops.
If you're not feeling up to climbing the Betasso Link Trail
, there's also the option to access the upper singletrack loops by climbing Four Mile Canyon on the road. You'll enter the Benjamin Loop
from this road (passing Poorman's Road along the way) on the Fourmile Link
trail, and you can still descend on the Betasso Link Trail
Need to Know
The bike directionality at Betasso changes month-to-month. Please check and follow signage at the trailhead.
From Eben G. Fine park you'll get a gentle warmup on the Boulder Creek Path
-- follow it heading upstream next to the river. At the end of the trail, pop up onto Boulder Canyon Road and turn left, heading uphill.
(If you intend to skip the Betasso Link Trail
, head downhill on Canyon for 100 feet, then cross the road to access Four Mile Road. A steady climb on pavement brings you to the Fourmile Link
trailhead on your left. You're about halfway there when you pass Poorman's Road on your right; look for the trail at the back of a pullout, after you've passed a few yellow signs that warn drivers about the serpentine twists in the road.)
Pray that drivers on Canyon Road are paying attention and keep pedaling. Look for a sign on your right, next to a small pullout and just before the tunnel, pointing you onto the Betasso Link Trail
A tough climb begins immediately. Steep grades and rock obstacles test both fitness and skill. It's all rideable, but if you run out of gas or bobble a technical bit you'll have some pushing to do. There's a major effort going on now (May 2013) to smooth out and improve the stability of this section.
Cross the road and continue on singletrack through a meadow. You've reached the Canyon Trail be sure to observe the directional sign for bike traffic, and keep an eye peeled for hikers and equestrians. Give yourself enough room to stop for other trail users, keeping in mind that the trail surface is loose in many places.
Canyon Trail, like the Benjamin loop, rides well in either direction. Whether you're going clockwise or counter-clockwise, you'll find the Benjamin/Betasso Link trail. This is a fun, twisty trail that's always signed for two-way bike traffic, so keep your head up, please.
Access the Benjamin Loop
and follow the directional sign at the intersection. Again, both directions are fun, though the long descent on clockwise days is hard to beat.
Back to Betasso on the Link, then finish out the Canyon Trail. Descend through the meadow, cross the road, then hold on tight for the rowdy descent of the Betasso Link Trail
. This trail gets blown apart every summer so do your best to live up to the motto "ride it don't slide it." And be kind to anyone who is grinding their way up the hill.
Merge onto Canyon Road and return to Eben G Fine park.