This southwestern loop is approachable from multiple directions and covers a huge range of terrain and scenery, from the gritty stretch along Dartmouth to the meticulously maintained lawns of Cherry Hills. You can start it from Washington Park (shown), from the Highlands (Lowell and Irving St), from southwest Denver (Dartmouth Ave), from the south (Platte River Trail) and from the southeast (Quincy Ave). As shown, the route begins with a 5-6 mile warm-up from Washington Park, then heads west along Dartmouth where you’ll encounter your first climb. Make a small detour at Bryant St if you want to intensify the climbing. After passing Loretto Heights, go south to the steep hill at Berry Ave, passing through a bike/peds only gate on Lowell at Quincy. Loop Bow Mar and find Julian St to take you south to Bowles Ave. A bit of cycling legerdemain will take you you east from Julian along a sidewalk and bike path to the Platte River Trail. This is the only slightly tricky part of the route: Where Julian seemingly angles sharply west look for a sneaky left through a fence onto a sidewalk. It will lead you along Bowles, across Federal Blvd and to the Platte. From there, head north to Dry Creek Trail then east, gradually uphill through a series of interconnected parks to the Highline Canal Trail, a short bit of very good dirt that brings you to Franklin St. Pay attention as Dry Creek Trail ends. Ride north on Washington, east on Sunset Ct, and follow the brown and white signs to the Highline. The trip north on Franklin takes you through the very large and sometimes quite beautiful homes of Greenwood and Cherry Hills Village. The street is ultra-quiet an shaded. A short stint west on Quincy then another north on Clarkson through the medical district returns you to Dartmouth.
Cautions: Avoid the intersection of Dartmouth and Santa Fe. Use the bike trail that begins at Inca St to dodge around to the S. Platte. The intersection of Knox Ct and Hampden Ave is not always cyclist-friendly if no cars are going in your direction. Use the pedestrian crossing if you need to. Crossing Belleview at Franklin St can be challenging, depending on the time of day.
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