From the expansive front range views to the gently graded path that makes uphills a breeze, Betasso Preserve has everything trail runner’s dream about. Fun, fast, and not too technical, this smooth trail is a great place to really turn up the speed and fly through the mountains.
What Makes It Great
Clocking in at just over 7 miles, Betasso Preserve is a combination of two loops, the Canyon Loop and the Benjamin Loop. The original Canyon Loop is relatively quick (3.2 miles) and boasts a lot of fast downhill sections with some breathtaking views. Rolling through mountain meadows and sparse pine forests, the Canyon Loop feels like it’s miles away from civilization. The brief glimpses of downtown Boulder through the valley are the only indication you’re only a few miles outside of town.
The Benjamin Loop was added in 2011 with the help of the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance. The additional loop added 2.4 more miles of runnable trail (and a .75 mile two-way spur to connect the two loops) and a lot more bang for your running buck. The Benjamin Loop starts with a gradual assent that tops out with a tremendous 360-degree view of the front range, before plunging into lush pine forests that are home to roaming herds of deer and the occasional bear. This new section of trail demonstrates just how far trail building technology has advanced. The rolling downhill sections are silky smooth and in some points are carved directly into the rock face.
It’s worth noting that if you loath mountain bikers, you may want to run on Wednesday or Saturday when bikers are prohibited. On any other day, the trail is usually very popular with the Boulder mountain biking community. However, mountain bikers must tackle the loops in a predetermined direction making it easy for runners to run against traffic, and the average biker is polite and will yield to runners.
Who is Going to Love It
Trail runners looking to let loose and hit a trail with some serious speed will love the smooth, rolling hills of Betasso Preserve. Those who aren’t so crazy about the lung-shriveling ascents that so often accompany trail runs in Colorado will also appreciate the conservative grade on the trail that makes the 1,000 foot elevation gain barely noticeable. And everyone will love the gorgeous views and remote feel of this trail.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The official trailhead is just a short drive up Boulder Canyon. Turn right onto Sugarloaf road and follow it for 0.5 miles and turn right onto Betasso Preserve Road. Follow this road 0.5 miles to the Betasso Parking lot on the left (north) side of the road. The parking lot is large with plenty of spaces and a small picnic area.