Mountain Bike Trail Reviews: Betasso Preserve, Boulder, Colorado
Pho­to Cour­tesy of

Dif­fi­cul­ty: Inter­me­di­ate
Length: 7.2 miles
Trail Type: Sin­gle­track, Dou­ble­track
Con­fig­u­ra­tion: Dou­ble lol­lipop
Aver­age Time: 1 hour
Ele­va­tion change: 1000 ft
Reg­u­la­tions: Bikes are not allowed on this trail any Wednes­day or Sat­ur­day. Heed the direc­tion­al sign post­ed on the trail at all times.

The Betas­so Pre­serve has two main loops; the Ben­jamin Loop (3.3 miles) and the Canyon Loop (2.4 miles). Both are between easy and inter­me­di­ate with wide, rolling sin­gle­track. These are great loops for begin­ners because rid­ers can cruise at what­ev­er speed they want with only a cou­ple tech­ni­cal sec­tions. The loops are also fun for advanced rid­ers because many cor­ners offer some nice burms to ride up if you’re haulin’. 

There is park­ing lot near the loops for the strict­ly begin­ner; how­ev­er, the more advanced rid­ers usu­al­ly park low­er in the canyon and ride the tech­ni­cal Canyon Link (1.3 miles) or the dis­tant Four­mile Link (.8 miles) to the loops. The Canyon Link pro­vides a chal­leng­ing and fun ascent. It’s 1.3 miles of steep uphill that will have you grunt­ing and sweat­ing. It starts out wide as it fol­lows the old water treat­ment pipeline, but it soon nar­rows and deliv­ers roots and rocky sec­tions for your climb­ing plea­sure – fol­lowed by some tight switch­backs. Did I men­tion that it’s real­ly steep? Going down this link is worth the grind to get up it.

The Four­mile Link is brand new as of last year. It’s a lot eas­i­er and less tech­ni­cal than the Canyon Link, but it has some nice rolling sec­tions to keep it inter­est­ing. There are a few stairs that force you do dis­mount (unless you’re a straight pro), which break up the flow of the ride and are actu­al­ly real­ly annoy­ing, real­ly ear­ly on. I still think that it’s worth check­ing out this route though, just because it ties the whole trail togeth­er nice­ly. If you park at the dirt lot on Canyon Blvd and Four­mile Canyon Dr, you are set for the per­fect way to ride Betas­so. Just ride up Four­mile Canyon Dr, take the Four­mile Link onto the loops, then exit on the awe­some Canyon Link for the most sat­is­fy­ing down­hill Betas­so offers. Fol­low­ing Canyon Blvd after the link will bring you right back to your car. It adds a few miles of road rid­ing, but the trail expe­ri­ence is great­ly improved.

All in all, Betas­so Pre­serve is a great, inter­me­di­ate trail that’s extreme­ly close to down­town Boul­der. Next week we’ll take a look at Bear Brook Trail in New Hampshire.