The 7 Best Bike Rides in Denver

From scenic bike paths that weave through the city to a festive, monthly pub crawl, you can truly choose-your-own-adventure along Denver’s bike paths and lanes. The city is trying to establish itself as a world-class bicycling city, so there's lots of terrain to cover!

If you’re visiting, you can rent a ride from one of these great bike shops. Or if you're sticking close to the city, you can borrow a B-Cycle bike from one of the stations throughout downtown. For $9, you get unlimited 30-minute trips for 24 hours.

Once you've got a set of wheels, these seven bike rides will show off the best Denver has to offer.

01 of 07

Bear Creek Bike Trail

Photo courtesy of Bob Ash and VISIT DENVER

You’ll get a two-for-one with this trail that shows off Denver’s urban landscape as well as the mountainous landscape of the foothills. The highlight of this 14.5-mile trail is its entrance into Morrison, the gateway to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. The trail connects to Red Rocks, so you can set your legs on fire and pedal up to Red Rocks, and enjoy some great views of the city.

The paved path weaves through Morrison, Lakewood, Sheridan and Denver, crossing through neighborhoods and past parks and golf courses. You can pick up the Platte River Trail from the Bear Creek Bike Trail. Turn this bike ride into a day trip by visiting the Colorado Music Hall of Fame inside Red Rocks and grabbing a rooftop beer and lunch at the Ship Rock Grille.

02 of 07

The Platte River Trail

Photo courtesy of Stan Obert and VISIT DENVER

Ride along this 28.5-mile trail, and you’ll get a good history lesson, too, thanks to the Colorado Historical Society that has set up 20-some historic signs. The signs delve into the area’s history, describing where Native Americans once lived and relaying facts about wildlife and birds in the area. You’ll also learn about the railroads and trolleys that once traversed through the area, as well as the soldiers, mountain men, and farmers who traveled alongside the South Platte River.

This trail starts south of Denver in Englewood, travels through downtown Denver and stretches up toward Henderson. Along the Denver portion of the ride are several local landmarks worthy of a stop. Among them: Riverside Cemetery, a 77-acre cemetery where Denver’s early pioneers and mayors are buried and My Brother’s Bar, which is nearby Confluence Park and was once a watering hole for beatniks like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. 

If you're biking with children, you can make a stop at some family-friendly attractions in downtown Denver, including the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus.

03 of 07

Denver Cruiser Rides

Photo courtesy of Evan Semon and VISIT DENVER

The Denver Cruiser Ride is fun to watch. But, it’s even more fun to join in on. This group bike ride tradition got going in 2005 with just a few friends and has been picking up momentum ever since. The monthly, Wednesday night rides happen from mid-May to mid-September, and each night has a theme. As an example, the 2017 themes ran the gamut, and included “Ski Bums and Bunnies,” “Rock Stars and Party Animals,” “Mad Max,” “Green,” “Dress Night,” and “Bubble Wrap, Duct Tape and Cardboard.”

Previously, the evening pub crawls took place on a weekly basis. But because the rides kept increasing in popularity, the costs also increased. The rides are free to join, but the group that organizes them needs to pay for clean-up, security, and other costs. 

You can choose your meet up location, depending on what part of town you’re at or where you want to get a drink prior to the ride. The meet-up spots include: Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway, Monkey Barrel Brewing, Be on Key, The Ginn Mill, and Little Machine Beer.

The riders convene at 8:15 p.m. and end up in a secret spot for an after-party. The bike rides happen rain or shine (and even in the snow, as Colorado has been known to get some late-May powder).

While it’s free to ride, you can purchase a membership to Denver Cruiser Ride. They start at $20 per year, which will also get you a bike license plate and deal card.

04 of 07

The Washington Park Loop

Photo courtesy of VISIT DENVER

This is Denver’s version of New York’s Central Park, as it’s a local favorite for fitness and expansive green space. At 165 acres, it’s also one of the largest parks in Denver. If you’re arriving to the park on a bike, you can access the park from the Platte River trail from the south.

Whether you’re on a road bike or a cruiser, you can loop around the 2.25-mile perimeter at Washington Park (or, “Wash Park” as locals call it), which is filled with flower gardens, a playground, and two lakes. Fun fact: one of the flower gardens is a replica of George Washington’s gardens at Mount Vernon.

You’ll be sharing the paved path with runners, walkers, and the occasional roller skater, as well. Park your bike if you’d like, and join in on a volleyball or basketball game, or play some tennis.

After you've worked up a sweat, you can go shopping in the nearby Wash Park neighborhood. South Gaylord Street is six blocks east of Wash Park in between Mississippi and Tennessee Avenues, and is lined with boutiques, coffee shops and art galleries. Pop into Devil's Food for tasty, homemade pastries.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Cherry Creek Bike Path

Castlewood Canyon State Park


SWKrullImaging/Getty Images 

You can hop on this trail at Confluence Park, which is where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River combine. In its entirety, this bike path stretches for more than 40 miles, running into Franktown.

Locals love to ride along this path, which passes through the Cherry Creek Shopping District. The district includes the Cherry Creek Mall, but there’s also high-end boutiques and galleries in the shopping district. Another worthy stop on this trail is the Four Mile House & Historic Park, which was once an old stagecoach stop. Today, it’s a quaint, 12-acre park with a museum where you can learn about Denver’s early settlers.

If you're up for a long ride (or a short drive before your ride), you can follow the Cherry Creek Bike Path all the way to Castlewood Canyon State Park. Inside the park, you’ll find remnants of the Castlewood Dam, which burst in 1933 and sent a 15-foot-high wave of water into Denver. You can still see the ruins of the dam inside the park.

06 of 07

Sloan's Lake

Photo courtesy of Amy Aletheia Cahill on Flickr

Just a few miles west of downtown is a massive lake bordered by city streets. Sloan’s Lake came about in 1861 after a farmer, Thomas M. Sloan, tried to dig a well, which was flooded by a growing body of water. A couple decades later, Manhattan Beach and an amusement park opened up on the lake, complete with a dance hall, roller coaster, ferris wheel and circus acts. The circus (and the amusement park) left town long ago, but today, the park is a perfect spot to bike or run. A 2.8-mile loop circles the lake in this 177-acre park. There’s also playgrounds and basketball and tennis courts.

Up until recently, Sloan’s Lake was mostly a destination for the Dragon Boat Festival that plays out every summer. But the up-and-coming neighborhood has brought with it new breweries and shops.

After you take a couple laps around the loop, head across the street to Edgewater for a slice of pizza at an old staple, Edgewater Inn, a family restaurant that’s been around for six decades.

07 of 07

City Park Loops

You can take your bike on a couple of different loops in this park, which is next to the Denver Zoo. The mini Ferril Lake loop is just shy of a mile and loops around the park’s central lake. The Mile High Loop encompasses more of the park and is 3.1 miles long. It’s called the Mile High Loop because it’s perched at exact 5,280 feet. Conveniently, there’s a B-Cycle rental station near the Denver Zoo or, for fun, you can rent tandem and big-wheeled bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals, which has an outpost in the park.

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