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Tour de Foothills - Escaping Denver

Littleton, Colorado , United States
|
48 mi

48

mi

6.8k

ft elev +


Story

Starting at the parking lot of Jefferson County Open Space's South Valley Park on Deer Creek Canyon Rd, cyclists will head west up Deer Creek Canyon. This starts a steady climb that winds up the canyon, then after turning left onto Deer Creek/High Grade Rd, you are rewarded with spectacular views as the road hugs the rock face and drops off deep into the canyon on the far side. Once climbers leave the canyon, they are not quite finished the ascent, three miles further up the road at the Pleasant Park Schoolhouse, built in 1894. 

Locals stock the schoolhouse grounds with a cooler of cookies and cold drinks, so be sure to pack an extra couple of dollars in your jersey pocket as a thank you for their kindness. Once riders leave the schoolhouse, many either head back down the canyon or continue on to the commonly referred to "City View Rd loop." However, this tour stays straight on High Grade Rd, heading down and under Hwy 285 in Conifer. The descent is short-lived, however, and soon after a right turn on State Road 73, riders will take a left on to Shadow Mountain Rd at Jefferson County Open Space's Flying J Park. 

Climb number 2 takes riders up Shadow Mountain. They can catch glimpses of a privately owned ski hill that cuts into the mountain. While the road changes names from Shadow Mtn Rd to Black Mtn Rd to Brook Forest Rd, there are no turn-offs, and the pavement is smooth on both the climb and descent. Be watchful of cars parked along the side of Black Mtn/Brook Forest Rd. On a beautiful weekend, many Denverites venture up the trailheads along the road to Maxwell Falls, a popular Front Range hiking destination. A detour off the pavement on to Columbine Rd gives riders a taste of smooth dirt, wildlife, and sweet-smelling Ponderosa Pines. The dirt road is easily navigated on skinny tires and shortly transitions back to pavement. 

Once cyclists turn right on to Snowshoe Rd, they want to be sure to look over their left shoulder, past serene pastures and horse stables to take in Silver Plume quartz outcroppings and snowcapped Mt. Evans in the distance: a perfect place to stop for a photo and a snack. If running low on fuel, further down the road, after passing Alderfer/Three Sisters Park and Evergreen High School, turn left on SR 73. Less than a mile up the road is old town Evergreen and the historic Muddy Buck coffee shop. Following this route, riders will take a right on Little Cub Creek Rd just before entering historic Evergreen, the last big climb of the day. 

Make sure the brakes are working for the descent down Stanley Park/High Drive, for it is thrilling, a true Colorado mountain road filled with tight turns and spectacular views. Once cyclists cross back under 285 on N. Turkey Creek Rd, they can turn right on S. Turkey Creek Rd back to Deer Creek Canyon Rd or take a slight detour and go left to visit Tiny Town. This is a miniature village of over 100 Colorado historic buildings plus railroads and Tomari's Coffee for a treat across the street. A 5.5-mile descent down Deer Creek Canyon Rd brings riders back to their starting point. For a little cooldown spin, turn right into the White Deer neighborhood and loop around Grizzly Rd. You will be able to take in the Dakota Ridge hogback. This sharp-angled rock formation spans much of the Front Range, marking the end of the plains and start of the majestic Rocky Mountains, a perfect way to cap off a day of climbing up the mountains and returning to the flatlands. 

-Deanna McCurdy PEARL iZUMi Crew
...Be sure to look over their left shoulder, past serene pastures and horse stables to take in Silver Plume quartz outcroppings and snowcapped Mt. Evans in the distance...