Left Hand Canyon

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
52.7 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,094 km
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama of Left Hand Canyon road biking route near Boulder, Colorado

Left Hand Canyon is one of the best road bike rides in Boulder and along the entire Colorado Front Range. Featuring a long steady climb along a shaded shoulder, it is the perfect way to spend a day out in Boulder.

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Route Description for Left Hand Canyon

Left Hand Canyon is a world class Boulder bike ride. It begins in the flats of Boulder Valley and climbs to the historic mining town of Ward. Newly paved and nice wide shoulders make this an enjoyable bike ride. Left Hand Canyon gradually climbs out of Boulder Valley along a curvy canyon road that follows the path carved out by Left Hand Creek. You will be surrounded by tree covered mountains as you ride through sections of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest.

The road becomes steeper as you continue to climb towards Ward, until a section called “Turn of events” where the climb becomes strenuous up the final mile and a half. You will know you are getting close to town, when you start seeing abandoned classic cars and trucks along the road. Ward is not technically a ghost town, but there is a sense of a place time forgot.

Once you make your way into town, you will see the 3 or 4 buildings that make up the main street and downtown. One of the buildings is the Utica Street Market, which is a bike friendly destination for snacks and refreshments and is also the turning around point to head back down the canyon. The way down is fast and flowy! Put it in the big ring and blast downhill. Make sure to be careful and watch for sections of loose gravel or debris on the road as you fly back down.

Insider Hints for Left Hand Canyon

  • Utica Street Market in the town of Ward is a bike friendly destination for snacks and refreshments.
  • Continue to climb up to Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Getting to the Left Hand Canyon Trailhead

From Boulder, head north on US 36 towards Lyons. The entrance to Left Hand Canyon will be on the west side of US 36. Parking is along the road at the beginning of Left Hand Canyon Dr.

Route Information

  • Type of Ride


  • Re-supply points

    Utica Street Market in Ward, CO

  • When to do

    April - November

  • Toilets

    Ward, CO

  • Level of Car Traffic


  • Road Type

    Shared roads with cars

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    One Way

Left Hand Canyon Elevation Graph

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Left Hand Canyon Reviews

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