The best places in the front range to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat!

The best places in the front range to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat!

It’s been a hot week here in Colorado.  With temperatures topping out over 100 degrees, many forgo their outdoor training and recreational activities. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat this summer so you can head out into the great outdoors without overheating.  Please share yours too in the comment section below.

Hike, run and ride:

Deer Creek Canyon Park
Lakewood
The trails in this park are diverse, challenging and rewarding.  From the lot/trailhead, take the Plymouth Creek trail to the Plymouth Mnt trail around to the Scenic View trail lookout for a tough 6 mile out and back route.  For most of the route you will be in rich pine forests.

Windy Saddle Park:
Morrison
Park at the Lookout Mountain Nature center and take the Lookout Mountain trail to the Beaver Brook trail.  This trail boasts 9 miles (one way) of exciting terrain including aspen groves, open fields, thick forests and some rocky scramble sections.  The higher elevation offers cooler mountain air for an exceptional long run or hike (no bikes allowed).

Getting through a rocky section at Lair o’ the Bear park.

Lair o’ the Bear Park
Morrison
From the lot/main trailhead, take the Bear Creek trail.  The first 1.5 miles is a wide, flat dirt path along the creek and then you begin to climb on single track into a thick pine forest.  The entire trail is 6.2 miles one way and is shaded most of the time. This is a beautiful trail system close to town that provides an opportunity for a great long run, hike or ride!

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Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

With warmer weather here and summer approaching, rattlesnakes are on the move and making their way out of hibernation dens.
Both bull and rattle snake encounters have been on the rise and in fact, just this past weekend several hikers in Colorado Springs suffered rattlesnake bites.
Due to this news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading out on the trails.  However, rattlesnake bites in Colorado are fairly rare.
I grew up in the foothills right in the heart of rattlesnake country and in my 30+ years (my parents started me young) of hiking, trail running and mountain biking these trails I’ve encountered on average 1-2 rattlers a year and have been struck at just twice (one time in my teens I was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the warning sound of the rattler just to the side of the trail).
With my firsthand experience and work with Jefferson county rangers and open space experts, I’ve compiled a list of all you need to know about how to avoid rattlesnake encounters and what to do if you do see one of our slithering friends.

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Hiking a 14er this summer? Train your legs and lungs on one of these front range hikes

Summiting a 14,000 foot peak is no small feat.   To us natives, bagging a “14er” as we call them is a right of passage; many of us seeking to one day summit all 54 of these majestic Colorado peaks.
Weekend warriors and veterans alike tend to set the goal of hiking at least one of these Goliaths a year however, many tend to overlook the most important part of preparing for the summit:  training!

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At the top of Mount Massive

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Discover new front range trails. A quiz and resources to find terrain appropriate for you!

Discover new front range trails. A quiz and resources to find terrain appropriate for you!

Depending on who you talk to whether it be a city dweller or suburbanite the definition of a “trail run” can sound quite different.   Does a flat gravel trail winding through a city park for example “count” as a trail run?

In my definition there are several distinctive factors that determine whether or not you are a true trail runner, take the test below to find out where you stand and then check out our tips for finding new trails and terrain appropriate trails for your fitness and comfort level below:

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Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

We are fortunate to live in a state with so many beautiful trails and a myriad of trail races to choose from.   If you are new to the state or just getting into trail running and looking to take on your first trail race, choosing the best one compatible with your fitness and ability level can be a daunting task.

Our 2018 lineup has been broken down into four categories including our favorite races and events for beginners and also those seeking a little more adventure and/or quad busting action.  Check out our recommendations below and happy training!

Beginners:

Xterra Phillip S Miller Park,  August 5th:

  • Includes a 5k/10k and 20k course options.

The 5k course contains just 300 feet of climbing, enjoy rolling hills with short climbs and quick descents, perfect practice for those new to the trails.   The trails are smooth and wind through bushes and brush with occasional scenic views of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock.
There is plenty to do for the entire family at this venue post run.  The Philip S. Miller Park’s outdoor space includes a playground with 60-foot slide, a 200-step challenge staircase, a turf field, and the Headrush Towers—40-foot and 80-foot towers that kids can climb up, repel down, or even free fall from.

Elk Meadow trail race, June 2nd:

  • Includes a 5k and 10k option

The trails at Elk Meadow park are relatively tame and any climbing is done gradually through a series of switchbacks winding through the thick evergreen forests.  The 5k course will mainly keep runners along the base of Bergen peak where you will run through beautiful open meadows filled with yellow and green grasses and wildflowers.  The elevation here is the greatest challenge so make sure those lungs are ready for the higher altitude (around 8000 feet).

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Running high: 5 tips for your next high altitude adventure

If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness (aka Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS), you know that it is not to be triffled with.
Nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath.  All classic symptoms of this condition that can impact anyone at any time, regardless of physical fitness or acclimatization status.

With the popularity of high mountain races (Leadville trail run series, Spartan Breckenridge obstacle course races, etc) and summit chasing, learning how to prevent and mitigate AMS can mean a more enjoyable and successful experience.

Check out our 5 helpful tips for your next big adventure into the high mountains:

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Trail running tips for stroller pushing parents

Before I had kids I was trail running almost daily.  I live in Colorado where I am surrounded by steep and rocky trails, and after my 2nd son was born I was wondering how I would keep up my favorite past-time with a double jogging stroller.

Well, I am here to tell you that trail running with kids is easier than you think!  Here are 7 tips to help you get back out on the trails:

#1.  Get a good stroller.

The word “good” is relative in this sentence.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a stroller; sometimes a second hand stroller might be better for trail running; the trail is going to beat it up.

Ensure the stroller has knobby tires, front shocks and good suspension; it is important for the snow and ice.

Stroller Hack: If you can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a new stroller, but want to ensure your stroller is ready for stroller trail running regardless of the climate. Switch your wheels out. Purchase knobby tires from your local bike shop for the back tires and purchase a BOB front wheel. It is significantly cheaper than buying a new stroller.

#2:  Strap em’ in and lock it up.

You may be thinking “of course”, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t strap in their kids.  On a trail that is rocky or with any kind of incline/decline make sure that they are in tight!   If you have a front tire that has a swivel option, make sure that it is locked.  This will ensure that when you hit bumps or rocks the front tire goes straight over them, giving you and your kids a smoother ride.

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You can even trail run with kids in the snow!

 

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Best front range trails for beginner trail runners, take 2

Trail running.   It’s the leg burning, heart pumping activity that can be so exhausting yet so exhilarating at the same time.  If you are just getting into the sport, imagining running up those steep, rocky trails that must be only meant for hikers seems like an intimidating endeavor.   Knowing where to go is key so that you can train your lungs and legs for those high grade climbs and technical descents.   After mastering our second round of trails appropriate for beginners you will be ready to to conquer any adventure this summer!

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Best Colorado races for new trail runners

We are fortunate to live in a state with so many beautiful trails and a myriad of trail races to choose from.   If you are new to the state or just getting into trail running and looking to take on your first trail race, choosing the best one compatible with your fitness and ability level can be a daunting task.

So we’ve made it easy for you!!    We handpicked the best trail races suitable for beginner to intermediate trail runners in the front range and central mountains.   We didn’t include races in Colorado Springs, the Western slope or southwest Colorado so feel free to share your favorites in these ares in the comments section below.

Happy training!

Elk Meadow trail race, June 3rd 2017:

  • Includes a 5k and 10k option

The trails at Elk Meadow park are relatively tame and any climbing is done gradually through a series of switchbacks winding through the thick evergreen forests.  The 5k course will mainly keep runners along the base of Bergen peak where you will run through beautiful open meadows filled with yellow and green grasses and wildflowers.  The elevation here is the greatest challenge so make sure those lungs are ready for the higher altitude (around 8000 feet)

Learn more HERE. 


Xterra Phillip S Miller Park,  August 6th 2017

  • Includes a 5k/10k and 20k course options.

The 5k course contains just 300 feet of climbing, enjoy rolling hills with short climbs and quick descents, perfect practice for those new to the trails.   The trails are smooth and wind through bushes and brush with occasional scenic views of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock.
There is plenty to do for the entire family at this venue post run.  The Philip S. Miller Park’s outdoor space includes a playground with 60-foot slide, a 200-step challenge staircase, a turf field, and the Headrush Towers—40-foot and 80-foot towers that kids can climb up, repel down, or even free fall from.

Learn more HERE.

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