Left Hand Canyon/Jamestown

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A must-do with a long, steady climb and a fast descent back into town.

Written by

Courtney Johnson


28.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

8.2 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

3 hours

2-4 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


Topographical Map

Left Hand Canyon/Jamestown Map



Lefthand Canyon to Jamestown is one of Boulder’s most popular road biking rides. The combination of shady wilderness, a wide and paved shoulder, the steady rumbling of nearby creeks and the chance to end your ride in one of Colorado’s authentic mountain towns make this a great day out for riders of all abilities. The sustained grade is enough to get a workout but never overwhelming (even for beginner cyclists).

What Makes It Great

Once you escape Hwy 36, traffic will decrease (some people opt to park alongside the road at the start of Left Hand Canyon Drive rather than bike Hwy 36). Hill climbers can opt to grind up and over Olde Stage or Lee Hill roads in Boulder to avoid 36 altogether, though this tacks on some seriously steep elevation.

Starting from the intersection of Hwy 36 and Broadway in north Boulder, follow Hwy 36 6 miles to the left (west) turn to Left Hand Canyon (at the Green Briar Inn). From there it is 8 miles to Jamestown along Left Hand Canyon Drive then James Canyon Drive Return back to town for a 28 mile loop. Little James Creek will run alongside the majority of the tour and sharp-eyed riders will spot the old caverns of mining ruins in the rock on the side of the road.

The peaceful ride lets you experience the transition from plains to mountains, all on a well-maintained, paved road. This is a fantastic social ride for groups of mixed ability since there’s something for everyone. The aftermath of the 2013 floods in Boulder can also be seen along this ride, a testament of the power of nature.

Who is Going to Love It

Riders who are looking to improve their climbing without the worry of a difficult, steep downhill (as is the case with other Boulder road rides such as Flagstaff Road, Olde Stage and Linden Drive). Less experienced riders will be challenged by the sustained grade while veteran roadies will likely use this ride to benchmark improvements in their riding.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are no fees but please be aware that the cops are very strict about giving tickets at the stop signs, so be sure to unclip and come to a complete stop. Many riders like to begin this adventure at Amante Coffee in north Boulder, a few hundred feet south of the intersection of Hwy 36 and Broadway.

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Left Hand Canyon/Jamestown

Boulder, CO,
40.133705, -105.28237

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