Panorama on Marshall Mesa mountain biking trail near Boulder, Colorado
Marshall Mesa mountain biking trail near Boulder, Colorado

Mountain Biking Trails in Boulder

Region in Colorado, United States
Boulder Mountain Biking Map

Boulder is Colorado’s mountain biking hotspot, with countless epic trails in some truly spectacular landscapes. You’ll find hundreds of miles of awesome mountain biking routes, winding through lush woodland, across beautiful valleys and over undulating, rocky terrain. It’s no wonder this place attracts thousands of keen bikers every year – if you’re searching for thrills on two wheels, Boulder has everything you’re looking for.

Boulder is Colorado’s adventure playground, with plenty of outdoor activities on offer throughout the year. In particular, this beautiful region is home to some fantastic mountain biking trails, whether you’re a complete novice, or an experienced biker in search of new challenges. The sheer variety of terrain on offer here makes it a joy for hiking, biking and other outdoor adventures, with gorgeous valleys, fragrant pine forests, stunning canyons, and of course, the iconic Boulder Flatirons.

The Boulder Flatirons are one of the most distinctive natural features of Colorado, a series of sharply sloping rocks that rise up out of the landscape. Some of our favorite mountain biking trails pass alongside the Flatirons, offering wonderful views of these strange rock formations, set in a beautiful lush, green valley. From the stunning Roosevelt National Forest, all the way to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area in the Indian Peaks, Boulder has so much to offer for lovers of the great outdoors.

We think Boulder is one of the best places in the United States for mountain biking, and to give you a little inspiration for your next trip, we’ve put together a list of all of our favorite trails. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride!

Top 10 Mountain Biking Trails In Boulder

Boulder is an outdoor adventurers paradise and you’ll find a wide range of awesome mountain biking trails around the city. This is a great place to test your skills, with some steep, technical trails that will leave your heart pumping and your legs shaking! If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, don’t worry. In the foothills around the city you’ll find flat, sweeping trails that require a little less effort, whilst still providing some exceptional views of the beautiful Colorado landscape.

  • Hall Ranch Mountain Biking Trail: Looking for a challenging mountain biking trail in Boulder? Look no further than this exciting trail at Hall Ranch. You’ll enjoy fast, flowing downhill stretches, climbs that will leave your legs shaking, and some technical sections over the rock gardens. A day out on this trail will leave you feeling tired but happy, and we think it’s one of the best mountain biking trails in Boulder.
  • Bestasso Preserve Mountain Biking Trail: This fast, fun mountain biking trail is conveniently located close to downtown Boulder and has plenty of variety to keep you entertained and to test your skills! The terrain is incredibly varied, with rocky uphill sections, lush forests, and flowing downhill loops. Be aware that bikes are prohibited on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when the trail is reserved for hikers only.
  • West Magnolia Mountain Biking Trail: If you’re looking for a little adventure, this magnificent route through the forest is the ride for you! The West Magnolia mountain biking trail is actually a complex network of trails from which you can choose your own route, with plenty of options for going off the map. Pass along the Hobbit trails before ascending into the lovely Lost Meadow, winding through the aspen groves, and then enjoy the fast downhill trail known as the Magic School Bus. You’ll need some route-finding skills, but this is one of our favorite mountain biking trails in Boulder.
  • East Mag Dot Trails Mountain Biking Trail: Want to get off the beaten track and find a more secluded mountain biking trail? The Dot Trails are a hidden gem, located just east of the popular (and often busy) West Magnolia trail system. There are multiple trails that climb through the forest, with some steep, challenging sections. The Dot Trails are typically much quieter than some of the other nearby mountain biking trails, but you’ll enjoy some fabulous scenery and lots of fun, varied routes.
  • Heil Valley Ranch Mountain Biking Trail: The Heil Valley Ranch is one of the most picturesque mountain biking trails in Boulder, with some lovely views out over the valley. The ride begins on the Wapiti Trail, a rocky trail that climbs steadily out of the valley through a dense pine forest. You’ll be glad of the opportunity to stop and admire the views after this tough ascent! The return journey is a pure delight, passing around the Ponderosa Loop before bombing down the Wapiti Trail to the trailhead.
  • South Sourdough Trail Mountain Biking Trail: This epic route is one of the best mountain biking trails in Boulder! You’ll start high (at 9199ft), so make sure that you’re properly acclimatized, but the trail passes through the beautiful Roosevelt National Forest, and is well worth the effort. The initial climb is challenging, but the trail soon levels off, and you’ll enjoy the descent all the way to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
  • Marshall Mesa – Doudy Draw Loops Mountain Biking Trail: This fantastic mountain biking route passes along the base of the iconic Boulder Flatirons, and is a wonderful way to see this beautiful, distinctive natural feature. The trail offers a little bit of everything, from challenging climbs to cruising sections and fast downhills, making it a must for all fans of mountain biking. We think the Doudy Draw Loops is one of the best all-round mountain biking trails in Boulder.
  • Dirty Bismark – Marshall Mesa Mountain Biking Trail: This fantastic loop trail is a must for all outdoor adventurers, passing along a smooth trail in the foothills around Boulder. You’ll enjoy great views of the Boulder Flatirons and the snow-capped Indian Peaks, and there aren’t too many technical sections so you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the ride. Although this trail is conveniently located close to Boulder, you’ll feel as though you’re out in the wilds, with a wonderful vista over the varied Colorado landscape.
  • Walker Ranch Loop Mountain Biking Trail: If you’re an experienced mountain biker, there’s no better trail in Boulder than the Walker Ranch Loop. This strenuous, technical trail is a bit of a challenge, with large rocks, steep climbs and an un-rideable hike-a-bike section. However, the views are simply breathtaking, and completing the loop will give you an incredible thrill. If you’re nervous about the steep sections, they can be avoided by splitting the loop into shorter rides.
  • North Boulder Valley Mountain Biking Trail: This accessible trail can be completed year-round, and is a good option if you’re new to mountain biking or don’t have much time. The route follows a combination of single track and gravel trails, and can be customized by either extending or shortening the ride along the various trails that crisscross the valley.

When Is The Best Time To Go Mountain Biking In Boulder?

The best time to go mountain biking in Boulder is between March and November, when most of the trails will be accessible. Some higher-elevation trails remain closed until April or May, or run the risk of early snows in October, and in spring and autumn the trails can often be very muddy. As a result, we think the best time to go mountain biking in Boulder is in summer, when you’ll have the chance of the best weather and trail conditions. Always check the forecast before you set out, as even in the summer months the weather can be unpredictable, with regular afternoon thunderstorms. Some trails (including Marshall Mesa or the Boulder Reservoir) remain open throughout the year, as any snow or ice will quickly melt on warm winter days.

Other Outdoor Activities In Boulder

Boulder is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors, with a whole host of fantastic outdoor activities on offer. In addition to mountain biking, Boulder is a wonderful place for road biking, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking and tubing. In winter, the region is transformed into a winter sports playground, with possibilities for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice climbing. Whatever time you visit, there is a fantastic range of outdoor activities in Boulder.

How To Plan A Trip To Boulder

Is Boulder on your mountain biking bucket list? If you’re thinking of heading out into the hills on two wheels, we’ve got exactly what you’ll need for the perfect trip. Our guide to planning a trip to Boulder contains a plethora of insider tips, including recommendations for where to stay and where to eat, and how to make the most of the fantastic range of outdoor activities on offer. It’s time to start dreaming of the trail and planning your trip today!

Frequently-Asked-Questions About Boulder

Is Boulder suitable for beginner mountain biking?
Boulder is one of the best places for mountain biking in the United States, with plenty of trails suitable for bikers of all levels. If you’re a beginner, there are plenty of easy trails where you can get comfortable with the sport, and lots of companies that offer guided mountain biking tours.

Is mountain biking dangerous?
Like all outdoor sports and activities, mountain biking does come with some risks, and it’s important to be properly prepared. Injuries can happen on steep or difficult terrain, so be aware of your limits and do not attempt anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Always wear a helmet.

What equipment do I need for mountain biking in Boulder?
Most of the equipment you’ll need for a fun day out on the bike can be hired in Boulder, so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have all your gear to hand. If you’d rather bring your own kit, you’ll need a mountain bike (of course!), a certified helmet, gloves, comfortable clothing, including bike shorts that protect you from chafing, drinks and snacks, and a small bike repair kit.

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The best Mountain Biking Trails in Boulder

Scenery on Heil Ranch mountain biking trail near Boulder, Colorado

01. Hall Ranch
Difficulty

11.6mi 1,470ft 2-3h

Hall Ranch is one of the best mountain bike trails along the Front Range! This… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Mountain Biking in Betasso Preserve near Boulder

02. Betasso Preserve
Difficulty

9.3mi 2,182ft 1.5-2.5h

Betasso Preserve is a great all-around MTB trail with enough challenges to keep it interesting… Read More

User Rating

9.2Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery on West Magnolia MTB trail near Boulder, Colorado

03. West Magnolia
Difficulty

13.0mi 1,736ft 2.5-3.5h

West Magnolia is a spaghetti network of trails that will test your riding abilities along… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery on East Mag Dot Trails mountain biking trail near Boulder, Colorado

04. East Mag Dot Trails
Difficulty

11.2mi 1,424ft 2-3h

Riding The Dot Trails feels like you have your own private MTB trail! The Dot… Read More

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No ratings yet
Scenery on Heil Valley Ranch MTB trail near Boulder, Colorado

05. Heil Valley Ranch
Difficulty

7.9mi 951ft 1.5-2.5h

Heil Valley Ranch is a popular MTB trail just north of Boulder that boasts semi-technical… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
South Sourdough Mountain biking trail

06. South Sourdough Trail
Difficulty

11.2mi 1,703ft 2-3h

South Sourdough Trail is a ride at altitude! Starting at 9200ft with a… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Marshall Mesa mountain biking trail near Boulder, Colorado

07. Marshall Mesa - Doudy Draw Loops
Difficulty

10.3mi 925ft 1.5-2.5h

The Doudy Draw Loops ride along the base of the iconic Boulder Flatirons making it… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery on Dirty Bismark - Marshall Mesa MTB trail near Boulder, Colorado

08. Dirty Bismark - Marshall Mesa
Difficulty

15.2mi 886ft 2-3h

Dirty Bismark is a cross-country rider’s paradise! It is a big loop just east of… Read More

User Rating

9.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery of Walker Ranch Loop MTB trail near Boulder, Colorado

09. Walker Ranch Loop
Difficulty

7.8mi 1,457ft 2.5-3.5h

Walker Ranch Loop is breathtaking… in both sense of the word! The trail runs through… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
North Boulder Valley mountain biking trail near Boulder, Colorado

10. North Boulder Valley
Difficulty

9.3mi 371ft 1.5-2.5h

North Boulder Valley is a fun cross-country trail perfect for ripping around on your gravel… Read More

User Rating

8.3Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

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