Spin into these three gritty Colorado dirt routes this season.

Gravel riding offers freedom from traffic, the thrill of backcountry adventure and the chance for some alone time. Colorado has a plenty of great gravel options, but these three top our list. We suggest you give them a spin.

Pedal 50 route (Monument, CO.)

This Front Range 50-miler has gained favorite status thanks to the annual ride of the same name. Starting from Pikes Peak Brewery in Monument, dig in to wide-open gravel roads and rolling climbs through the Colorado plains.

Pewabic Mountain via Virginia Canyon (Idaho Springs, CO.)

Begin in historic Idaho Springs with a climb up Virginia Canyon Road, which turns into smooth, gently graded dirt. The 15-mile loop to Pewabic Mountain and back down features views of Mount Evans and plenty of high-alpine terrain. It’s mountain gravel at its best.

Boulder to Gold Hill (Boulder, CO.)

Up for lots and lots of climbing? From Boulder, head up either Sunshine or Four Mile canyon (both become steep, hard-pack dirt) to the little town of Gold Hill. Take in the alpine views, and then choose your way down. We recommend a stint on the paved Peak to Peak Highway to the Switzerland Trail. 

–Melanie Wong