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  1. #1
    MSH
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    Denver's "Ride out the front door" Best Towns to Live

    Hi all,

    My wife and I are making the trek out to Denver tomorrow evening (11/29) for a "check out Denver" trip. We are seriously considering moving from the SF Bay area to Denver, so we are going to make the 3 day trek to check out places we may want to live. At the top of the list for us to check out are...

    Golden,
    Morrison,
    Littleton,
    maybe Highlands Ranch (but we are trying to get away from what is a supposed LA version of Denver...could be wrong on this only what I have read)
    Arvada
    Louisville

    Of all the aforemetioned places which city in your opinion is the absolute top of the list as far as quality "out the front door" rides. From what I can tell it has to be Golden and Morrison, but I will defer to the experts on this forum. I appreciate any feedback you could provide.

    Thanks,
    MSH

  2. #2
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    From the provided list, Golden and Morrison are best for accessing trails "out the front door".

    You might want to add Evergreen to the list.

    Ed

  3. #3
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    Have lived in both SF and CO...

    For diversity and access SF can't hold CO's jock (at least as far as offroad riding). To be fair, the reverse could be said when considering things like food, culture and surfing, but Denver has a pretty happening food scene and its disadvantages in terms of cultural offerings are overblown - how much ballet do you really need? I think these are more than offset when considering how close you are to MTB cultural icons like Durango, Fruita, Moab et cetera. I've lived here for almost 10 years and I still have this pervasive feeling of disbelief that all that stuff (plus the stuff right out the back door!) is really that close.

    Back to your question; Golden. Morrison. Evergreen. All good choices with great access. We were living in Edwards (just west of Vail) after 7 years in Breckenridge and considered all those as potential candidates for a move. If you don't mind a short season Summit County is where it's at in terms of incredible quality and volume right out your back door. In Breckenridge we call the 17-dozen hour-long choices available from town "inside-the-park-homeruns". Also just 60 minutes to Denver (and that much closer to Moab and Fruita).

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    nederland!!!

    bay area transplant here, shhhh!

  5. #5
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    Actually, I'd recommend Littleton - specifically K/C Valley. Not only do you have Deer Creek and South Valley "out the back door" you have K/C's own private stash of trails. And they're NICE.

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    Golden

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    Golden if you are nailed to Denver metro area.

    Check out Loveland/Fort Collins 60 miles north if you are bringing your job(s) with you. Even better.
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  8. #8
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Golden and Morrison. Golden may have a slight advantage in that it's slightly closer (5 minutes tops, if not equal) to I-70 for skiing and high-country rides, but Morrison tends to have more affordable housing.

    I tried to live in Golden, but I got sick of looking at Bi-level houses (my price range was saturated with them) and I got more bang for my buck in Morrison.

    Of course I live east of the Hogback in Morrison, not the cool little downtown area. It's the best access from my front door I've ever had for both road and mountain biking.

    Some ride times to some local rides from my front door:
    Waterton Canyon/Indian Creek: 45 minutes
    Deer Creek: 35 minutes
    Mt Falcon: 20 minutes
    High Grade (road bike): 25 minutes
    Bear Creek Lake Park: 3 minutes
    Green Mountain: 30 minutes
    Dakota Ridge: 30 minutes
    Apex: 40 minutes
    Chimney Gulch: 50 minutes
    White Ranch: 1 hr 15 minutes
    Lookout Mountain (road bike): 45 minutes

    If I lived in Golden/Lakewood (Green Mountain area) I would be closer to Green Mountain and everything below on the list, but the first 3 are 3 of my 4 favorite front range rides (the other being chimney gulch)

    If you really enjoy road biking then you can't beat Boulder for the amount of classic climbs/rides there.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepbug
    Golden and Morrison. Golden may have a slight advantage in that it's slightly closer (5 minutes tops, if not equal) to I-70 for skiing and high-country rides, but Morrison tends to have more affordable housing.

    I tried to live in Golden, but I got sick of looking at Bi-level houses (my price range was saturated with them) and I got more bang for my buck in Morrison.

    Of course I live east of the Hogback in Morrison, not the cool little downtown area. It's the best access from my front door I've ever had for both road and mountain biking.

    Some ride times to some local rides from my front door:
    Waterton Canyon/Indian Creek: 45 minutes
    Deer Creek: 35 minutes
    Mt Falcon: 20 minutes
    High Grade (road bike): 25 minutes
    Bear Creek Lake Park: 3 minutes
    Green Mountain: 30 minutes
    Dakota Ridge: 30 minutes
    Apex: 40 minutes
    Chimney Gulch: 50 minutes
    White Ranch: 1 hr 15 minutes
    Lookout Mountain (road bike): 45 minutes

    If I lived in Golden/Lakewood (Green Mountain area) I would be closer to Green Mountain and everything below on the list, but the first 3 are 3 of my 4 favorite front range rides (the other being chimney gulch)

    If you really enjoy road biking then you can't beat Boulder for the amount of classic climbs/rides there.
    What part of Morrison do you live in? I don't consider anything east of the hogback to be "Morrison" technically.

  10. #10
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    You've done your research well

    Golden and Morrison (probably in that order) are indeed the two best out-the-door access points in the Denver metro area. Both have managed to keep some of their small town charm despite being swallowed whole by suburbia.

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    i've always wondered for folks who live in/near morrison about the noise from bandimere speedway? when i was a kid, we could hear the bigger events at my parents' house clear out in littleton (unincorporated, kipling/belleview).

    P.S. i also thought morrison just went west of the hogback, as bear creek lake park (about as close east as you can get) is city of lakewood.

    P.P.S. you should also check out the unincorporated (jeffco) area north of golden (golden mailing address, but outside city limits).

    though you can't really go too wrong w/ any on the list... comes down to price and 'hood character (or these days, lack thereof, unfortunately).

  12. #12
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    MSH,

    How much dough you got to spend?

  13. #13
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    Lyons! You get to go to Dale's afterwards.

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    what kind of rides?

    In boulder we have lots and lots of fantastic road riding which is what I mainly do from the front door. I've got a busy family and don't have much time for car transit. However I have some very nice mtb riding from the door too, tho its not technical, very XC or even CX, and you must be able to tolerate pavement.

  15. #15
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    All I can say is Louisville and littleton are at the bottom of this list, unless you like lots of road riding too!

  16. #16
    MSH
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    I appreciate the feedback everyone.We are definitely looking forward to the trip out your way.

    Thanks,
    MSH

  17. #17
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    The Inflexables endorse all those locations. Hard to go wrong with any of 'em.

  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    All I can say is Louisville and littleton are at the bottom of this list, unless you like lots of road riding too!

    might want to remove arvada off the list while you're at it.

    truth be told anywhere on the plains and foothills might have one or two good rides out the door and a little to a long drive to mix it up. If you want quality and quantity out your door. you need to live in the suburban mountains. evergreen, coal creek, up I-70, ned, lyons, maybe morrison...


    crips I'm getting buzzed off tripple. nevermind me

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinjin4131
    Durango
    Best answer yet.

  21. #21
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    No more tripples for nOOby...must -- switch -- to -- McCallans!!

    (He has a Yeti on the way, ya know...)
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  22. #22
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    * hiccup

  23. #23
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    I'm in for a 1/2 a sixer of Inversion IPA. Goddam this stuff is good.

  24. #24
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    2 Below Ale in a cold glass...

    so my brother-in-law is getting a new 575 and i have to hear about first on MTBR? WTF?






    be prepared for some serious riding next season...

  25. #25
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    cerealsly

  26. #26
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    I cant believe im saying this but I like it down here in Castle Rock(too many people moving here but hell 1 more isnt going to make a difference) We got Denver and Colorado Springs both equal distances away and its not too far of a drive to go to the mountains for the day. However we do not really have any out the back door riding here so if thats what you are basing where you move off of Castle Rock might not be the best place for you

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inflexables
    The Inflexables endorse all those locations. Hard to go wrong with any of 'em.
    LOL.
    A trail thatís too difficult wouldnít exist because itíd never be used. But, trails can exist thatíre too difficult for you.

  28. #28
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    I agree with Inflexables

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOby
    All I can say is Louisville and littleton are at the bottom of this list, unless you like lots of road riding too!

    might want to remove arvada off the list while you're at it.

    Don't count out Arvada - it reaches as far west as 93 and as far south as North Table, I think. Those houses there are closer to W. Ranch than I am, and it's only about 3 mi of pavement to get there from my house.
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  30. #30
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    sounds good db

  31. #31
    Which way? Uphill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles
    What part of Morrison do you live in? I don't consider anything east of the hogback to be "Morrison" technically.
    I'm just North of C-470 and Belleview. I think Littleton officially starts South of Belleview. The nice homes North of BCLP are also part of Morrison, and pricey.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles
    Actually, I'd recommend Littleton - specifically K/C Valley. Not only do you have Deer Creek and South Valley "out the back door" you have K/C's own private stash of trails. And they're NICE.
    ...and the valley is full of californians! Great spot

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSH
    Hi all,

    Golden,
    Morrison,
    Littleton,
    maybe Highlands Ranch (but we are trying to get away from what is a supposed LA version of Denver...could be wrong on this only what I have read)
    Arvada
    Louisville
    Do a search on Golden in this forum. Here is my 2 cents:

    Golden: Ridable access to Chimney Gulch, Apex, White Ranch, North Table and South Table mountain parks... without ever getting in your car. I live AT the Mt. Galbraith trailhead (hiker only), and it takes me a 2 minute bike ride to hit single track. Golden offers a small town mountain feel with tons to do. Easy access to everywhere.

    Morrison: The Actual town of isn't very big. Its a road side downtown between the hogback and mountains. If you managed to find a place there, you can ride your bike to: Mt Falcon (5 minute ride) and Red Rocks/Mathews winters (5 - 15 minute ride). Most of the cookie cutter houses are on the inside of C-470 which will require you to hop in a car and drive to the aforementions spots. Green Mountian (treeless hump) is close along with bear creek park. Both are ridable from your home if you happen to end up on that side of the highway (both are not quality singletracks, but there none-the-less).

    Littleton area (excluding Ken Caryl Valley): If you enjoy a 20 minute bike ride to the afore mentioned spots in Morrison, Littleton is a nice, cheap place that is a suburb. Hint: You're more than likely to drive to all the places to ride.

    Highlands Ranch: This place was invented by Californians. If you love windy streets, horrible traffic, row's of houses, and a 30 minute commute to the mountains, this is the place for you.

    Arvada: Suburb of Denver, a little confused as a town, but for the most part, close to the mountians. Depending on where you end up there, you'll probably drive to your mtb park of choice (with the exception of North Table Mountain).

    Louisville: Poor man's Boulder (but still expensive). If you look around the area, it is also Californicated with miles of row houses. There are a few local spots to mountain bike (marshal mesa, random green belts). Boulder County doesn't like mountain bikes, so your closest places you'll head will be White Ranch (30 minutes south), Walker Ranch (40-50 minutes, traffic dependant), or Hall Ranch (call it an hour).

    Evergreen: Someone mentioned this place: Its okay (I lived there for 2 years). Wife and I ended up hating it. The mtb season is shorter up there than down on the front range, which means you'll drive to go do anything. There are a few places you could ride, but if you're not really close to them, the traffic (no bike lanes in some cases) will kill you (literally).

    Ken Carl Valley: Behind the hog back in the southwest part of Denver, there is a cute little suburb that has their own trail and trail system. Its quite good, and depending where you live, you can have singletrack ripping behind your house. Can be pricey, but I'm sure a SF couple could clean up in there!

    Check this site out for local riding area's with maps:
    http://co.jefferson.co.us/openspace/...e_T56_R108.htm

    and get onto Google earth and look around.

    Good luck!

  34. #34
    MSH
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure
    Do a search on Golden in this forum. Here is my 2 cents:

    Golden: Ridable access to Chimney Gulch, Apex, White Ranch, North Table and South Table mountain parks... without ever getting in your car. I live AT the Mt. Galbraith trailhead (hiker only), and it takes me a 2 minute bike ride to hit single track. Golden offers a small town mountain feel with tons to do. Easy access to everywhere.

    Morrison: The Actual town of isn't very big. Its a road side downtown between the hogback and mountains. If you managed to find a place there, you can ride your bike to: Mt Falcon (5 minute ride) and Red Rocks/Mathews winters (5 - 15 minute ride). Most of the cookie cutter houses are on the inside of C-470 which will require you to hop in a car and drive to the aforementions spots. Green Mountian (treeless hump) is close along with bear creek park. Both are ridable from your home if you happen to end up on that side of the highway (both are not quality singletracks, but there none-the-less).

    Littleton area (excluding Ken Caryl Valley): If you enjoy a 20 minute bike ride to the afore mentioned spots in Morrison, Littleton is a nice, cheap place that is a suburb. Hint: You're more than likely to drive to all the places to ride.

    Highlands Ranch: This place was invented by Californians. If you love windy streets, horrible traffic, row's of houses, and a 30 minute commute to the mountains, this is the place for you.

    Arvada: Suburb of Denver, a little confused as a town, but for the most part, close to the mountians. Depending on where you end up there, you'll probably drive to your mtb park of choice (with the exception of North Table Mountain).

    Louisville: Poor man's Boulder (but still expensive). If you look around the area, it is also Californicated with miles of row houses. There are a few local spots to mountain bike (marshal mesa, random green belts). Boulder County doesn't like mountain bikes, so your closest places you'll head will be White Ranch (30 minutes south), Walker Ranch (40-50 minutes, traffic dependant), or Hall Ranch (call it an hour).

    Evergreen: Someone mentioned this place: Its okay (I lived there for 2 years). Wife and I ended up hating it. The mtb season is shorter up there than down on the front range, which means you'll drive to go do anything. There are a few places you could ride, but if you're not really close to them, the traffic (no bike lanes in some cases) will kill you (literally).

    Ken Carl Valley: Behind the hog back in the southwest part of Denver, there is a cute little suburb that has their own trail and trail system. Its quite good, and depending where you live, you can have singletrack ripping behind your house. Can be pricey, but I'm sure a SF couple could clean up in there!

    Check this site out for local riding area's with maps:
    http://co.jefferson.co.us/openspace/...e_T56_R108.htm

    and get onto Google earth and look around.

    Good luck!
    Nice!! Thanks for the last minute detailed info. We are about to head out of here for the airport, so perfect timing on your post. It really sounds like Golden could be the best possible place not only for close riding, but some of the other criteria my wife and I are looking for as well.

    Thanks again everyone

    MSH

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSH
    It really sounds like Golden could be the best possible place not only for close riding, but some of the other criteria my wife and I are looking for as well.
    Psssttt... IndecentExposure is just trying to increase the value of his house. Trust nothing he says.
    A trail thatís too difficult wouldnít exist because itíd never be used. But, trails can exist thatíre too difficult for you.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickle
    Psssttt... IndecentExposure is just trying to increase the value of his house. Trust nothing he says.
    SHhhhhh.... I'm secretly trying to saturate the town full of mountain bikers and run out all the anti-bikers..

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser
    Don't count out Arvada - it reaches as far west as 93 and as far south as North Table, I think.
    not quite, as there is that little chunk between 58th ave and 64th ave, east of 93 that is unincorporated jeffco (golden mailing). add the little hamlet of fairmount too before you hit arvada to the east.

    Quote Originally Posted by nepbug
    I'm just North of C-470 and Belleview. I think Littleton officially starts South of Belleview. The nice homes North of BCLP are also part of Morrison, and pricey.
    D'OH! of course, i forgot about that area (quincy/470). my parents are north of belleview (again unincorporated jeffco) and littleton mailing.

    . . .

    btw, you should probably check out colorado springs, just because those punks down there are getting too smug about sending everybody up north... (they didn't learn to share in kindergarten).

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure
    Boulder County doesn't like mountain bikes, so your closest places you'll head will be White Ranch (30 minutes south), Walker Ranch (40-50 minutes, traffic dependant), or Hall Ranch (call it an hour).
    hey, the new mayor is a mnt biker. times might be a changin'

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOby
    hey, the new mayor is a mnt biker. times might be a changin'
    I know, I can't wait to hear about his 'DH trail' Agenda

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure
    ...and the valley is full of californians! Great spot
    I only know natives there.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure
    Littleton area (excluding Ken Caryl Valley): If you enjoy a 20 minute bike ride to the afore mentioned spots in Morrison, Littleton is a nice, cheap place that is a suburb. Hint: You're more than likely to drive to all the places to ride.

    You forget I have single track that is 5 minutes from my front door.....if I poach Ken Caryl. (Which I never do of course.... ) But if I were to do that theoretically there is single track from there all the way to Deer Creek.

    You can score a house for less than a million if you go for Ken Caryl Ranch instead of KC Valley. It's basically on the east side of the hogback. You won't have single track wandering through your back yard though, you'll have to hit some bike path/street to get onto the goodness. But not very much.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotdirt
    not quite, as there is that little chunk between 58th ave and 64th ave, east of 93 that is unincorporated jeffco (golden mailing). add the little hamlet of fairmount too before you hit arvada to the east.
    Well, you're right that there is a pocket of Golden northwest of N Table and east of 93, but Arvada does extend as far south as 58th and west beyond 93.
    See this map.
    So, like I said, you could live in Arvada and be easy riding distance to W. Ranch...
    Golden Bike Park

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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser
    See this map.
    wow, that is one convoluted boundary...
    (though golden's probably doesn't look much different)

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles
    you have K/C's own private stash of trails. And they're NICE.
    You're not even supposed to tell people who live HERE about that, let alone yahoos from Cali.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reporterkyle
    You're not even supposed to tell people who live HERE about that, let alone yahoos from Cali.
    It's private... so it's safe. Unless you like the thought of going to jail for riding.

  46. #46
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    If your jobs are portable why live in the Front Range? The Grand Junction area has lots to offer and the ride is at your doorstep.

    Beanman

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeanMan
    If your jobs are portable why live in the Front Range? The Grand Junction area has lots to offer and the ride is at your doorstep.

    Beanman
    Or Montana.

  48. #48
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    I live in Louisville and will only defend an earlier Louisville bash with this, Soon (within the next year I hear) there will be a way to ride from my front door to Walker ranch and beyond via Eldorado Canyon. I think you can do no wrong on the front range. Good luck
    P.S. I'm a big fan of S.F., that said, you're gonna love it out here.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles
    Or Montana.
    NIMBY
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  50. #50
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    I feel compelled to defend my neck of the woods here.

    I live in the C-470/Belleview/Quincy area. Our mailing address is listed as Morrison, though we are in unicorporated Jeffco. And it's about as suburban as it gets.

    There is some great riding from the area here ... and it doesn't require taking a car to the trals. There is some pavement involved, but what part of the metro area doesn't require some sort of road or bike path to get to a trail?

    Nepug was correct about the distance and ride time to the trails ... Mt. Falcon (and associated trails at Lair and Bear Creek trail), Green Mtn., Mathews Winters, Bear Creek are all easily rideable from the doorstep of my house. Some road but mostly dirt. And if you're driving to the trail head, C-470 can get you to all of the front range trails in a matter of minutes. You also can access the mountains within minutes given C-470 connecting to I-70 and US 285.

    And there are a lot of other riders in this part of the neighborhood ... from single-speed fans and DH'ers to XC and even a roadie or two. It's not the "big scene" but you're not alone. Don't know why I'm disclosing all of this ...
    Morrison, Fruita, Crested Butte, Salida

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