FATMAP difficulty grade
Temple Canyon Road climbs directly out of downtown Canon City, quickly transitioning from pavement to gravel.
This gravel road bisects one of the most popular mountain bike trail systems in the area, separating the South Canon trails from the Section 13 trails.
It also provides a climbing route to reach many of the higher-up trails in the South Canon network.
However, it can serve as a delightful gravel ride all on its own. Temple Canyon is most easily ridden as an out-and-back route, but it can be turned into a loop with a little ingenuity.
Some riders with an annual pass to the Royal Gorge Bridge Park choose to turn right at the end of Temple Canyon, cutting through the park to make a loop.
Others head further out for an even more ambitious mixed-surface ride.
However, the route shown here is simply an out-and-back version. The gravel portion of the route begins as a well-graded and maintained road, but as it passes out of town and climbs higher into the hills, the road degrades quickly.
The upper reaches feature exposed slabs of bedrock, washboards, and chunky, embedded rocks.
The exposed slabs of rock make for interesting road riding, but the road's roughness mandates a gravel bike of some type at a bare minimum.
A hardtail mountain bike wouldn't be out of place on this road, either. The upper reaches of Temple Canyon are delightfully wild and remote.
The road passes through isolated rolling mountains, with occasional views of the Sangres in the distance.
The complete lack of civilization is absolutely wonderful, providing a welcome break from the constant technological onslaught of humanity.