Apex Loop

A scenic climb to an action-packed downhill in the foothills just outside of Golden.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
11 km
Ascent
472 m
Descent
472 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
Apex Loop Map

Enchanted Forest and Apex Trails together make one of the best descents in the Denver area. Riding them in the downhill direction is only allowed on even-numbered calendar days, however. Climbing is allowed on all days, and they are open to hikers on all days as well, so be sure to yield appropriately if you’re going downhill.

Description

You can climb on the same trails you descend, but the loop mapped here is preferred by most riders. It adds some distance over the simple out-and-back route, but is more scenic and utilizes trails that are better for climbing.

Start out on Apex Trail, then take Argos Trail to Pick-n-Sledge for the climb. The long uphill takes you through a variety of forest types as you cross back and forth on a ridgeline and gain elevation. It’s all on nice singletrack with mostly straightforward riding, but has tricky sections to negotiate here and there. If you choose to ride the loop the opposite way (which you must on odd-numbered days), Pick-N-Sledge is a fun and very scenic downhill.

From the top of Pick-N-Sledge, take the steep switchbacks downhill on Sluicebox to connect with Hardscrabble then Apex Trail. This upper section of Apex makes a relatively mellow climb the rest of the way up a canyon and meets with Enchanted Forest near the top of the mountain, then the downhill begins.

Enchanted Forest Trail is aptly named. It swoops through surprisingly lush greenery and a diversity of trees. They grow thick here on north-facing slopes. It’s all singletrack and mostly flowy downhill, but with a fair share of rooty and rocky sections. A few bigger rock drops give the option for air time. Overall it’s intermediate difficulty, but more advanced lines can be found in some spots.

Enchanted Forest joins Apex, where the difficulty steps up a bit. Apex has more and tougher rock sections, including some significant stairs and drops with no sneak lines. It remains almost entirely downhill, moving into drier and more open forest, then grassland at the bottom. Finish where you started at the Apex Trailhead.

Sources: https://www.jeffco.us/DocumentCenter/View/9361/Apex-Park-Map https://www.cityofgolden.net/media/TrailMap.pdf https://youtu.be/xb02x4f9-EA https://youtu.be/zgDGZ1CBhns

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between April and November

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Drops
  • Jumps
  • Roots
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area