The Sluice downhill mountain bike trail near Denver
A rider hits one of the signature drops on The Sluice; photo credit: Jason Holzworth

CO Front Range Just Got Its 1st Downhill-Specific Mountain Bike Trail

‘The Sluice’ in Floyd Hill, Colorado, drops 700 vertical feet over 1.3 miles. It gives the major Denver metro area easy access to a free downhill mountain bike trail for the first time.

The Colorado Mountain Bike Association (COMBA) held an opening celebration for a trail named “The Sluice” on Wednesday. Also known by the less lyrical name, “Segment 4,” the 1.3-mile, bike-only directional downhill trail is just 30 minutes from downtown Denver.

Built specifically for bikes on public lands in Clear Creek County, the trail is the first of its kind on Colorado’s Front Range, a booming area encompassing the foothills west of Denver.

The Sluice: Free Downhill Mountain Biking Near Denver

The Sluice has jumps, berms, drops, step-downs, step-ups, and technical rock lines to challenge experienced riders. Several optional alternative lines give riders more and less challenging route choices.

The Sluice mountain bike trail Floyd Hill
Riders flow through a line on The Sluice, the first Front Range trail with manmade jumps; photo credit: Jason Holzworth

COMBA rated The Sluice’s main trail blue square/black diamond. The alternative lines vary in difficulty from black diamond to double black diamond. It drops 700 vertical feet with I-70, Colorado’s main mountain artery, as a backdrop.

“We want to introduce these concepts and the resulting experiences on the trails to the Front Range public to build support for implementation at other trail systems in nearby areas,” said Executive Director Gary Moore. “It is important to have this public support to enable land managers to make difficult, bold changes to their trails.”

A Downhill Trail Away From Resorts

Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and a slew of other small towns make up the Front Range Urban Corridor. The area’s population comprises nearly 5 million people, so the mountains near popular access points attract a lot of interest. Just half an hour from Denver, The Sluice will offer riders an alternative to nearby downhill resort riding at Winter Park.

The Sluice Trail Map mountain bike trail denver

And while there are dozens of great mountain bike trails in the area, most are multiuse trails.

“Designed and built by Flow Ride Trail Concepts, The Sluice provides an experience that previously wasn’t available in the region without buying a lift ticket at a downhill mountain bike park. COMBA says the demand was evident,” noted a press release about the opening. COMBA crowdsourced more than $38,000 to design and build The Sluice.

“Everyone was thrilled with the purpose-built features on the downhill trail and opinion was unanimous that nothing like this exists anywhere else in the Front Range,” said Clear Creek County Trails Supervisor James Kovaly. “Seems a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the last 3 months has really paid off. This was truly a public-private partnership.”

Floyd Hill Trail System: Downhill Mountain Biking Near Denver

The Sluice is part of the Floyd Hill system. It currently offers 6 miles of multiuse trail, with several more planned or under construction. Land managers expect the network to total approximately 12 miles upon completion. Upcoming projects for COMBA include the Virginia Canyon Mountain Park in Idaho Springs, which will feature several downhill bike-only trails in addition to multiuse, bidirectional trails. The City of Idaho Springs also approved plans for a gondola to access the trail at the top of the canyon. The Argo Mill would pay for and construct the lift.

“We are working with trail users and land managers to find the best balance of conservation and recreation to maintain a healthy Colorado landscape,” said Moore.

So if you live in Denver, as many of us do, you have one more reason to get stoked. Grab your bike and get up the mountains! Just check that I-70 traffic first.

Sean McCoy
By

Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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