Walker Ranch Loop: Maybe the only Boulder mountain biking trail I never want to return to

I haven’t ridden every single mountain biking trail in Boulder yet, much less the entire front range, but I have ridden quite a few. And several of them multiple times. While I’m not a front range expert, I can say that I don’t really want to return to Walker Ranch Loop.

Walker Ranch Loop River Bridge
The end of the first forgettable downhill section at Walker Ranch is a bridge over some rapids.

Walker Ranch Loop is Not the Same

Of all my favorite Boulder mountain biking trails — Heil Ranch, Betasso, Hall Ranch, and Picture Rock — the profile is all roughly the same:

Climb 1,500 ft.; do a couple miles of flat, fast flowing single track; and then descend 1,500 ft. at 25 miles per hour over several miles.

Walker Ranch Loop is not like that.

Yes, you still climb and descend 1,500 ft., but it’s split up in more than just one section of each.

Just Keep Climbing

From what I remember, you climb what feels like forever over non-technical, kind of boring terrain. Then you rip down some technical single track, but it’s so short and such a direct descent, you barely even remember it happened. Then you get to the hike a bike section where you literally cannot ride and carry your bike on your shoulder over several sets of switchbacks. This was the first time I uttered, “Fuck this place.”

Walker Ranch Loop Hike a bike
Carrying your bike over this terrain and steep, narrow, switchback stairs in bike shoes was a bad time.

Just when you think you’re done climbing (while carrying your bike) and can start riding again, you keep climbing and climbing and climbing some more. This was the first time in a long time I’ve actually had to stop and take a breather. Which is fine if it’s fun and technical, but it was just a long slog. This was the second time I uttered, “Fuck this place.”

Forgettable Downhill WHEEEEEE!!!!

I don’t remember any details about this downhill section either. That’s part of the problem.

With all the other trails I mentioned, you get 1,500 feet of vertical descent that’s usually spread out over several miles. This little section (and the one I mentioned before) was really short. Short, and not sweet. Completely forgettable.

Walker Ranch Loop Rapids
The view was always nice.

More Climbing because Why Not?

Just when you think you’re going to get that fast flowing single track to finish out the ride, your soul is crushed, and you’re blessed with more mundane climbing all the way to the car. This was the third time I said, “Fuck this place.”

I do it for the Downhill

The downhill and flat sections are what make the uphills bearable. I’m not a young buck that gets off on climbing and climbing and climbing anymore like I used to be. So if I can’t remember how fun the downhill is, or how fast I can carve through the flats, and only remember how terrible the uphill felt, that really makes me not want to come back.

Walker Ranch Loop Valley
I might not like Walker Ranch Loop, but I’d take a house right in the middle of this valley.




Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.