In Google maps bike view of the Front Range, there's a long green squiggly line from Greeley all the way to I-25. That line happens to be the Poudre River Trail (PRT) and it's about 21 miles long. There's another much less squiggly line that tends North South from the town of Severance and nearly connects with the PRT. I now know this has the somewhat inflated name, The Great Western Bike and Pedestrian Trail. These are both in Weld County where there are many miles of dirt and gravel farm roads. After a little time searching I linked up a nice ~60 miles route.
I parked in a commercial area just off the highway and less than a mile from a bike path that leads to the head of the PRT. There are trailhead parking lots for the PRT, but I opted for the parking lot in front of Cappuccino Corner.
|Virgil could loose some weight, but I promise the building was like that .|
The PRT was a fabulous trail. It's a wide concrete sidewalk for the entire length, and there are 4-6 different spots where you can stop for a nature break if needed. Something I appreciated after recent rides without this option. The route is signed as being "Unmaintained in Winter - Ride at your own risk!" Fortunately, this was still the last two weeks of Autumn and the trail was almost entirely snow/ice free. The PRT is well signed and easy to follow. The western end is scenic while the eastern end near Greeley does become a bit industrial. All in all, I'd highly recommend the PRT.
After rolling through Greeley I continued West to my chosen turn off past the regional airport. It just so happens that my chosen turn was at an enormous cattle staging area. I have no idea if this was a pickup and delivery location, CAFO or what the true nature was, but I can say it was a striking site.
|I don't think it was me these cows were scared of.|
The Great Western is an unassuming trail. There's a small sign, but no parking or trail head to speak of. The trailhead is easy to miss because it looks like you're simply passing the service road for some power lines. Given the fact that power lines do in fact follow the entire length of the trail, well, it seems fair to say this is a trail of convenience.
The final leg was back on the PRT, and a bit of a rush as I was running out of daylight and neglected to bring a light. In truth I planned on 60 miles, but the gravel roads I selected made it a bit longer. Overall, I enjoyed the ride and would certainly recommend it. There isn't much to the Great Western however, so if you can find a gravel option instead, you won't be losing out on much.
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