Cycling May 22, 2023

Cycling Loop: C470 Trail – Mary Carter Trail – Bear Creek Trail

Here’s a little lifestyle post that you might like.  For anyone that likes to exercise in the relative safety – traffic-wise – of bike and walking paths, here is one of my favorite loops.  It’s about 32 miles long with a gentle 1,200 ft of elevation change.  Other than the distance, I think it is suitable for all levels of riders.  There are ample parking opportunities all around the loop, so you can start almost anywhere.  And, of course, you could always do an out-and-back loop from anywhere and set your own distance. Here’s a link to my saved route on Ride With GPS.  But drop me a line if you want some help getting to it from your home.

The loop has a nice blend of  natural beauty, urban charm, and tranquility, taking you through breathtaking landscapes and allowing you to explore the region’s hidden gems.  If you are so inclined, you’ll find opportunities to stop for snacks, coffee, a full meal or just a beverage.

C-470 Trail:

I’ll start with the C-470 trail since I live in Lakewood and that is where I usually start.  Of course, being a loop, you can hop on

Yellow hot air balloon near a lake.

A hot air balloon early on a cool morning at Chatfield Reservoir.

anywhere.  The C-470 Trail  is a 36-mile trail that starts at the Golden Heights Park near the intersection of West 2nd Street and Quaker Street in Golden and ends at its intersection with the Cherry Creek Trail near the C-470 and Colorado 83/Parker Road intersection. It travels alongside C-470 highway and provides a seamless blend of urban and natural landscapes, passing through charming neighborhoods, rolling meadows, and pristine parks.

Here are three parking options:  Here and follow the string of mountain bikers and hikers over the bridge and turn right onto the trail; here and ride west on Alameda to the intersection with Rooney Road on the south side of the street; or here, where you’ll need to cross Bear Creek Boulevard to the south to enter the trail.

Want to properties for sale all along the C-470 trail?  Click here.

Mary Carter Greenway Trail:

From the C-470 Trail, just follow the signs as you approach Colorado 85/Santa Fe Blvd to transition to the Mary Carter Greenway Trail, which you’ll ride for about 7.5 miles along the South Platte River.  There are several restroom stops along the way, most with water and some with bike tools.  As you pedal along the Mary Carter Trail, you’ll pass golf courses and parks, as well as some more urban and industrial areas.  It’s an interesting mix for sure.

If you want to start your loop near this part of the Mary Carter Trail, here are two good options, both part of the South Platte Park and Carson Nature Center area.  The first option, and the one that I use when I ride from here, is to park here in South Platte Park.  The trail is just to the east, where you’ll want to head north and follow the river downstream.  Another good option is parking at the Carson Nature Center, which is behind the Aspen Grove Shopping Center off of Santa Fe Blvd. You can easily see the trail from the parking lot.

Click here to see properties along the Mary Carter Greenway Trail.

Bear Creek Trail:

You’ll merge onto the Bear Creek Trail, near Hampden Blvd.  The trail is at a T intersection immediately after making a sharp

Bronze statue of golfer with a real bicycle in front.

A bronze statue of a golfer in Fox Hollow Golf Course posing with my bike.

left turn and crossing a narrow bridge.  It’s well signed, but be sure to turn left here to follow the Bear Creek Trail west.  The first part of the trail is fairly urban – you’ll cross a couple of streets and will be riding near businesses.  Once you cross under Sheridan Blvd, though, the trail makes a sudden shift into a much more nature-type experience.  The ride will take you through some pretty meadows and some terrific views of the area in Bear Creek Lake Park.

Once you get to Morrison Road, at the entrance to Lakewood’s Fox Hollow Golf Course, you can to follow the trail to the left, into the golf course and through Bear Creek Lake Park.  If you started your loop on the C-470 trail, another option, with slightly less distance and climbing, is to cross the street and follow Morrision Road west.  You’ll join up again with the trail just west of C-470, near the gas station.  If you are short on water, though, definitely take the trail through the golf course, as there are water stops along the way.

Click here for properties along the Bear Creek Trail.

Bonus miles:

If you want a bit more mileage or more climbing, you’ve got options.  At the C-470/Alamenda intersection, you could continue west to ride over Dinosaur Ridge.  Once you turn onto the road going up the ridge, it’s open only to bikes, pedestrians and tour buses.  Go up and over this a few times.  Or, on the other side of the ride, cross the street and do a loop in Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre.  The park has some marked bikeways, but I don’t think it’s extremely bike friendly and don’t recommend it on a busy day.  Return to Rooney Road and get on the C-470 Trail.

Another option to add miles is to make a loop, before you get to the Mary Carter Trail, around Chatfield Reservoir.  This won’t add much climbing, but is a pretty ride.  To make a full loop, you’ll do some riding on gravel and dirt roads.  So, if that’s not your style, just turn around when the pavement ends.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you liked that small deviation from real estate posts.  If you are new to the area or visiting, give this loop a try to get a good tour of the SW suburbs and to get a taste of the extent of the Denver metro area’s trail network.  Drop me a line to let me know how you liked it!  Or, let me know if you need a guide and we’ll ride it together!


Thanks for reading.  Remember, I don’t know you or your specific situation.  Nothing in this article should be taken as advice specific to your situation.  If you have any questions, though, please get in touch – you can find my contact form here.  Also, feel free to sign up here for my monthly “Neighborhood News” newsletter for real estate information on your local area.