FATMAP by Strava

Gravel as Far as the Eye Can See—Best Rides in Canon City

A hit list of the best gravel rides beginning in Canon City.

Gravel Biking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Phantom Canyon -> Shelf Road Loop
Photo: Greg Heil


Over the past few years, Canon City has gone from complete obscurity on the Colorado cycling scene to now being considered one of the best places to ride a mountain bike in Colorado in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. The region now boasts over a hundred miles of superb bike-optimized singletrack trails. This top-notch singletrack attracts visitors from across Colorado (and even further afield) who are searching for technical, snow-free mountain biking.

While Canon is now on the radar of mountain bikers across the country, the region still flies under the radar on many other fronts. Most notably, the gravel biking scene in Canon isn’t really a "scene" to speak of, and yet superb graded gravel roads spread from Canon City in all the directions of the compass rose.

The riding in Canon is so ideal for gravel biking because all of the roads are relatively well-maintained county roads that the locals use to get from A to B. Unlike the forest service roads higher in the Rockies that are solely driven by 4x4 offroaders looking to challenge themselves on technical boulder fields, the dirt roads near Canon City are actually used for transportation. This means the roads are graded, maintained, and routinely graveled—making them perfect for cranking on a skinny-tired gravel bike.

This guidebook includes a selection of the top gravel biking highlights in the region, but there are undoubtedly dozens more route combinations that you can concoct here! The beauty of gravel riding is that you can create routes of any length and any difficulty that you desire. Even with some of the longer rides listed here, you can always opt to pedal an out-and-back in some of the canyons instead of completing massive 70+ mile loops.

The choice is yours!

Routes included

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