Guidebook

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.

Greg Heil

Description

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!

Phantom Canyon -> Shelf Road Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Phantom Canyon -> Shelf Road Loop

Salida
113.0 km
1,881 m
1,881 m
World-class gravel riding in Canon City!
Difficult
Private
Temple Canyon Road
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Temple Canyon Road

Salida
35.9 km
739 m
739 m
A rough, remote gravel road passing through beautiful rolling mountains.
Moderate
Private
Canon City -> Westcliffe

Canon City -> Westcliffe

Salida
100.9 km
1,695 m
1,695 m
An ambitious out-and-back gravel ride to Westcliffe.
Moderate
Private
CR 69 Loop

CR 69 Loop

Salida
45.5 km
685 m
685 m
A logical, medium-length mixed-surface loop departing directly from downtown Canon City
Moderate
Private
Rockvale Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Rockvale Loop

Salida
24.6 km
307 m
307 m
A bite-sized gravel loop providing a quick dose of wilderness, just a few miles from Canon City.
Moderate
Private