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Mountain biking is a growing recreational sport, and it makes perfect sense. On top of taking you into the mountains and hills of Wyoming mountain biking, it’s an environmentally friendly, sustainable and daring sport, offering exhilaration and beauty in one go.
For anyone who loves to ride bikes and enjoy the great outdoors, areas around Cheyenne offer bike trails for all levels of skill.
What is Mountain Biking?
The 1970s was an era that saw the invention of multiple popular fringe sports, including disc golf and, of course, mountain biking. The sport began in California in the 70s, Wyoming mountain biking has taken the adventure to new heights. With the first purpose built mountain bike being built in 1978. It differs from other types of cycling as the bikes are made to handle the rough terrain of the mountains.
Mountain bikes come in different variations and types, some built for lighter trails, others for the most hardcore of outdoor adventuring. Cross-country bikes offer pedaling efficiency, while trail-bikes are the all-rounders that come to mind for most of us when we think of the venerable mountain bike. Enduro bikes are built for climbing mountains, while Downhill bikes are made for the speed of the downhill ride.
What Mountain Biking Gear Should You Bring?
As with any extreme sport, mountain biking carries with it certain risks, like falls, scrapes, bruises, broken bones and more. But you can mitigate all of this with proper mountain biking gear.
First, always wear a helmet when biking. It’s important to wear one when biking in town, it’s even more so out on the mountain! Knee pads, elbow pads, and gloves are a good option as well.
Bring along a first aid kit and plenty of water. Being able to care for any injuries that can happen on the trails is ever important in an intense sport like this.
Finally, have a good idea of your own range. Curt Gowdy State Park offers trails of varying levels, and labels them by those levels - make sure you’re staying in your own comfort zone. For instance, if you’re a beginner, you probably don’t need to be blowing through a black diamond rated trail.
Meet Cheyenne: Mountain Biking Hub of Wyoming
When you think of Cheyenne, you probably have images of the "Old West" ingrained in your mind. While it's true that Cheyenne offers a truly authentic Western Experience, the city and surrounding areas are quickly turning into one of the hotter mountain biking destinations in the west.
This week Outside Magazine named Cheyenne one of the "top five up and coming single track Meccas" The International Mountain Biking Association has named the trails at Curt Gowdy State Park as Epic Trails and there is now a local group of mountain bikers working with the US Forest Service to improve the trails at the Pole Mountain Recreation Area in the Medicine Bow National Forest.
I could go on and on telling you about how great the trails are here, but I'll let local Cheyenne resident and Greenhouse Data employee Josh Larsen fill you in from his perspective.
The Best Mountain Biking Trails in Curt Gowdy State Park
With Curt Gowdy State Park earning the Epic Trails title, let’s take a closer look! Below we’re listing the top trails for two wheels in order of difficulty! Before you head out, make sure to check out a good map of all the trails. The official map for Curt Gowdy has all the trails we will be mentioning below!
1. Shoreline Trail
When it comes to a bike trail for beginners it’s hard to beat the Shoreline Trail. Folks who ride this trail call it a great ride around the south side of Granite Springs Reservoir. It offers an easy, firm trail with plenty of scenery around the larger of the two reservoirs in Curt Gowdy State Park. This will be the only beginner trail on this list as Curt Gowdy is filled mostly with intermediate difficulty and up.
2. Stone Temple Circuit
Get out your favorite 90’s rock album and make sure your bike seat is Plush, we’re heading down the Stone Temple Circuit. This large loop is an intermediate rating for most riders and gives you a good tour of the western side of the park. MTB Project gives the trail a 4.5 stars with 71 reviews, and calls it a smooth, fun single track trail. Where ya goin’ for tomorrow? Hopefully Curt Gowdy!
3. Crow Creek Trail to Hidden Falls
This 3.6 mile out and back trail is one of the gems of Curt Gowdy, and the only reason it isn’t ranked higher is the mix of difficulty levels. Most of the Crow Creek trail is rated at an intermediate level according to the official trail map for the park, with a spot of advanced difficulty. All Trails ranks this as a moderate trail, while the MTB Project rates it as a Black Diamond, meaning “difficult.”
4. Middle Kingdom
This intermediate to difficult trail is known for great views, a hidden meadow and even offers a difficult level play area. The trail connects with other, more difficult trails including the Canyons. The trail has a great review rating from the MTB Project and is around 2 miles long. This could be a great trail for riders wanting to jump into the intermediate-difficult level as it offers plenty of reward with a shorter run.
5. The “Greatest Hits” - Stone Temple, Pinball, and Crow Creek
Essentially this is an alternate route to Hidden Falls, starting out on the Stone Temple trail before using the Pinball Trail to connect with the Crow Creek Trail. The ride from Stone Temple to Pinball to Crow Creek starts as intermediate, then jumps to an intermediate-difficult and then lands on the difficult rated portion of Crow Creek. Combining a pair of the most popular trails in the park, this can work like a “Greatest Hits” number on two wheels.
6. The Curt Gowdy Blues
Named the Blues for being mostly intermediate, which is marked as a blue color on biking maps, this is the second longest loop in the park at more than 18 miles. This trail is rated as intermediate and is designed by members of the MTB Project to be a friendlier trail for folks who aren’t ready for the black or double black difficulty of the longer IMBA Epic trail. The route includes portions of the Shoreline Trail, Stone Temple Circuit, Albert’s Alley, Mo’ Rocka, Granite Ridge and Crystal Ridge.
7. Albert Plays a Mean Pinball: Pinball, Crow Creek, Albert’s Alley and El Alto
This 4 mile loop is rated as one of the best trails in the park by All Trails. Starting on the Stone Temple Circuit, then turning onto Pinball, then Crow Creek before hitting Albert’s Alley, El Alto, and returning to Albert’s Alley and the Stone Temple. This is a trail where, like #5, it’s important to pay attention to the signs on these trails to make sure you’re headed the right way. This is another great trail that combines various degrees of difficulty levels.
8. The Marathon: IMBA Epic
This is the big one. It’s a trail of all trades, highlighting everything Curt Gowdy has to offer - it’s also a test of endurance. At more than 25 miles in length, the trail combines multiple trails, difficulties and scenery to make for the ultimate Curt Gowdy mountain biking experience - it lives up to its Epic name given by the International Mountain Biking Association. While long, this trail is still popular and fun. While covering multiple areas of the park, it has an overall rating of Difficult.
9. The Canyons
The longest single track in the park is also one of the more difficult. The Canyons trail is a 5.2 mile trail that offers a number of landscapes and difficulties, but is overall rated as Difficult. Starting south of the Granite Springs Dam, the Canyons mostly follows the Middle Crow Creek before going around the north side of Crystal Reservoir. On top of being its own animal, the Canyons give you opportunity for other experiences as well. You can extend your ride by looping around Crystal Reservoir on the Crystal Ridge Trail (Intermediate), you can also cut across earlier to the southside of the reservoir on the aptly named Cliffhanger Trail (Intermediate-Difficult). The Canyons also connects with other trails including the Middle Kingdom and the double black diamond “End o’ Line” trail.
Ready to Experience the Best of Mountain Biking Near Cheyenne?
If you're looking to test your skills on difficult black diamond trails or want to enjoy scenic trails, the trails near Cheyenne offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, and Wyoming's mountain biking has the most stunning natural beauty.