Staff Favorites: Matthew/Winters Park
If you’re hoping to take your family our for a half-day mountain bike ride and picnic or just a quick after-work jaunt, Matthew/Winters Park is a convenient, scenic and fun place to bring your two-wheeled toys. Trails are a mix of double- and single-track, and vary in difficulty from easy to hard.
Village Ride (.6 miles, out and back from the parking lot)
The Village Ride is a short trail that leads from the parking lot to the Red Rocks Trail. Minimal elevation gain and loss, a nice picnic area and fun places to stop and see the Hogback and Red Rocks make this a great ride for kids. Be sure to stop and check out the historical Mount Vernon Townsite, as well.
Red Rocks (2.8 miles, out-and-back from the end of the Village Ride, or can be done as a shuttle/loop on Hwy. 93)
A harder ride, the Red Rocks Trail picks up from the end of the Village Ride and climbs up and through the surrounding rocks and hills. Connects with the Morrison and Dakota Ridge Trails.
Morrison Slide and Dakota Ridge Trails
These longer and more difficult trails may not be ideal for younger kids, but older children with more mountain biking skills and experience may enjoy the tight switchbacks, fast down hills and technical challenges. Dakota Ridge can be accessed from the parking lot or by taking the Red Rocks trail out and across Hwy. 93. The Morrison Slide Trail breaks off from the Red Rocks Trail.
Other Things to Do
The Hogback, the prominent ridge on the other side of CO-26, is a great topic of conversation with kids. The hidden, eastern side is home to the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center, and the Hogback name alone can be a great starting point for creating your own stories and myths. While you can pull over and have lunch in any number of places, the picnic area on the Village Ride and the plateau on Morrison Slide are two especially nice spots. Kids may also enjoy visiting the historic townsite of Mount Vernon.
Matthew/Winters Park is located just off of I-70/US-40, north of Red Rocks Park. When heading south from Denver on I-70, take the CO-26 exit and drive south. The parking area to the west (left) accesses the Village Ride; the one to the east accesses Dakota Ridge.
Things to Watch Out For
If crossing CO-23, watch for traffic, as there may not be an obvious bike crossing. Sections of the Dakota Ridge Trail are especially rocky and difficult.