Four Mile is one of those narrow Boulder canyons that hides within its walls some weird little neighborhoods and a good ride. Easily accessible from downtown Boulder, this ride is close to a number of other rides in the area, including Magnolia and Sugarloaf. Gently ascending, with a few short climbs, this ride is great by itself, as part of a larger loop, or as a warm up for the other rides in the area. Shaded in a lot of areas, this ride is also a great mid-day ride during the summer months.
For as easy and accessible as Four Mile can be, its name is a bit of a misnomer on two fronts. One, the actual ride is not four miles, it turns to dirt at the 8.3 mile mark in the ride. The ride actually ends on Gold Run Road, which branches off of Four Mile Canyon Drive at about the 7.6 mile mark in the ride. This is where the steepest section of climbing is (you will see the intersection at a cluster of buildings that looks almost like the beginning of a town – Gold Run Road is a sharp right at this point). And two; Four Mile is an access point for one of the most challenging rides in Boulder – the Four Mile/Sunshine Loop. We have started out on Four Mile with thoughts of an easy ride only to find ourselves following friends past the pavement all the way up to the top of the Sunshine Canyon ride. The loop is definitely not easy, and takes awhile, and is on dirt. And Tyler Hamilton trains on it. And we want our mom now.
If doing Four Mile as an out and back, we typically stop at the end of the pavement (8.75 miles in). The descent is one of the more fun ones in Boulder, but be wary of the locals. On one of our recent rides our friend Max was almost taken out by a guy who felt careening through the turns without staying in the lines was a safer approach to driving. Awesome.
Do it because: it’s a great moderate ride when you are feeling lazy or want a mellow warmup. Great descent, and great access to harder rides.
Distance: 8.75 miles to summit (from start at 9th and Pearl Street). 17.50 miles roundtrip
Directions: From downtown Boulder (9th and Pearl Street) head south on 9th, cross Canyon Blvd and hop on to the Boulder Creek Path, heading West. The path will eventually turn to dirt as it winds up Canyon. The path will dead end at Boulder Canyon Road. From there, cross the street to Fourmile Canyon Drive.