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Greetings. Coming from Grand Junction this Friday and wanted to ride Table Mtn for the first time. Any recommendations for favorite trails on North or South Table Mountain and also the best place to park would be appreciated. I'm an advanced rider; looking for a 2 hour or so ride to do with my 11 year old who rides like a 16 year old. Thanks!
 

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Greetings. Coming from Grand Junction this Friday and wanted to ride Table Mtn for the first time. Any recommendations for favorite trails on North or South Table Mountain and also the best place to park would be appreciated. I'm an advanced rider; looking for a 2 hour or so ride to do with my 11 year old who rides like a 16 year old. Thanks!
ntm.jpg

We usually park on the east side by Golden Bike Park off Easley Rd. You can see the start point on the included pic. The route I do when I have a quick lunch ride is less than an hour in the counter clock wise position. These trails aren't hard at all for intermediate riders but there are a few fun sections that keep in interesting. As you have stated you want 2hrs of riding you'll have to add the perimeter trail and some of the North side trails in to get closer to your time frame. Some of the East side trails are closed from flood damage. It will be a good place for your son.
 

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Out of all the rides we have here NTM will probably make you feel the most at home coming from GJ.
 

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The loop mapped above is what you want to ride on NTM. And funny - as I describe the "canyon" sections in the dark green as very GJ/Fruita-ish. Thats a great loop and I do it frequently. If you want a bit more "challenge" - make it a bullhorn - and when you come to doubletrack on the top of the mesa - whether you go clock/counter clock - you basically double your singletrack riding with two climbs/tech features and two downhills/tech features. all you miss are doubletrack/access road riding on top the mesa.
 

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Rim Rock trail (in the 2nd post's link) is closed through summer so you'll have a tough time getting 2 hrs of single track unless you take a lot of breaks. Luckily, white ranch is practically across the street if you think your son needs some...extreme character building.

And if you find a trailhead for south table, let me know. Because I've never ever heard anyone ever talk about ever riding there EVER.
 

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You can currently go around on the East side at about half way up the slope, but you can't climb back up to the top from the East side (that trail is closed), you have to go around to the North and up the steep road (but not the really steep road on the west side).
 

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And if you find a trailhead for south table, let me know. Because I've never ever heard anyone ever talk about ever riding there EVER.
That's because STM has no trails. Shhhh.

Or it's because JCOS is determined to remove any trace of fun from STM.
 

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For South Table you can park in the parking lots of the Denver West office buildings, or there's a playground lot and there's a trail that goes up by NREL. I'd guess most of the trails up there are closed and what's left is a very short loop which is half super easy road with a slight uphill, but fun-ish single track on the way back. Good for lunch breaks.
 

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I mess around on STM on occasion at lunch. I go up over by NREL. It pales in comparison to NTM with only a few decent singletrack sections and a lot of flat road and rabbit trails. Also, half the elevation.
 

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Out of all the rides we have here NTM will probably make you feel the most at home coming from GJ.
What?!?! NTM is like Green mountain. I'd never ride it wasn't:

1) The closest to my house
2) It's the first to dry

I lived out in the GJ for a while. If you're looking for something more like home, ride Dakota Ridge + Matthews Winters + Morrison Slide. If you absolutely must ride it, do what wilsonblur suggests. This eliminates the hateful doubletrack climb from the parking lot on the North side.

Also, it's not a long ride. That loop takes me under 40minutes after work at a brisk pace. An hour with friends. I enjoy pizza and beer and don't wear a unitard FWIW.

*EDIT: Maybe not Dakota with a 16yo. Still though, I'd explore other options if were me. Perhaps Lair 'O the bear or White Ranch.
 

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Agree with Jwind..NTM is probably the most forgettable ride on the front range. I ride it because its next to my work sometimes, or because my wife thinks it not too hard, but there are many better options.
 

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If you want to stretch to two hours follow the map above and when you come back to the NTM loop/canyon intersection turn right like you were headed back down to your car but follow the NTM Loop all the way around north side instead of taking the access trail, chug up the dirt road on the west side and come down Mesa Top and the Canyon trail this time. Then put in a few laps at the GBPark.
 

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20 years I've been mt biking the FR. Never set tire ONCE on White Ranch with my 11 year old.

Because White Ranch.


My 11yr old boy enjoys Three Sisters/Elk Meadow more than NTM, but he bikes more like an 11yr old than a 16yr old.
 

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Except for the babyhead Belcher deathmarch, white ranch is a lot of fun. NTM service road is like the first climb on a roller coaster without the anticipation of a fun downhill.
 

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I still find smiles at NTM, just stay off the top as much as possible.

I find it good for training rides and can actually get some good climbs in.

From east parking lot:

NT Loop CW to top (past Cottonwood).
North/East on Tilting Mesa Trail, R on Mesa Top.
Down Cottonwood to NT Loop.
CCW on NT Loop.
Climb either fire road to top (Mesa Top or NT loop)
Down NT Loop CCW all the way back to the east parking lot

2-3 (depending on how you count) climbs, two "descents"

If they ever fix the waterfall section, I'll add a another climb/descend section.
 

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20 years I've been mt biking the FR. Never set tire ONCE on NTM.

Because White Ranch.
I can see this mentality. no issues. OP is teh first I've heard NTM and destination ride in the same sentence. WR is a destination ride, to seek. NTM is for training, to log miles and vert. while staying off pavement.
 

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Gonna pile on some more since the op is probably more confused than ever (if he is still reading):

In a given distance, white ranch will have 2x vertical and 6x technical vs NTM. But there are some dirt roads from the top parking lot if your son finds he isn't up for the craziness (you will both hate the first 1/2 mile from the lower lot).

Cool things at WR: historic farm stuff, open meadows, views over the top of NTM, more mountainy.

Cool things at NTM: the south side runs along the coors brewery which is truly massive, people may be climbing, views of golden on the west and denver on the east, and best of all: golden bike park!

That should be all you need to decide where to go. Either way be sure to finish it off with a jackwaggon from d'deli in downtown golden.

Edit: took out some snark since op said he's advanced
 
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