If you have ever traveled through Wyoming on I-25, you have likely driven right past a small, sleepy town with a really BIG mountain biking secret. In fact, if you looked down to adjust your radio, looked over your shoulder to tell your kids to stop fighting, or sneezed, you missed it. Even worse, you’ve discounted eastern Wyoming altogether as an epic outdoor recreation destination.
While a part of me wants to keep this to myself, I also hate for the lovers of spending days camping and exploring endless bike trails to miss out. To the adventurers, nomads, and dirtbags who truly love finding new trails, new terrain, and unique beauty: listen up! Glendo, Wyoming is the mountain biking mecca that I dare say compares to places like Moab, Utah and Fruita, Colorado. Yep, I said it. You heard it here, first.
For years now, miles and miles of mountain bike trails have been built right under the noses of Wyoming’s bike enthusiastic Colorado neighbors. A mere two and a half hours from Denver, Glendo State Park has become THE PLACE for local bike crews to spend their weekends. At an elevation of just over 4,700 feet, Glendo’s climate tends to be a bit milder than its surrounding larger towns. When spring hits, Wyoming locals load up their bikes and camping gear, and head out to Glendo to explore new trails and piece together handfuls of new routes.
Since 2010, Glendo State Park has established over 40 miles of single track trails and is planning on adding more. There is a reservoir at the center of the park, around which trails wind along cliff lines overlooking the water, drop into canyons, and traverse through wide open spaces.
When you pull into one of the main parking areas at the Two Moon campground, you’ll find a built-in bike rack with an array of bike tools and a permanent tire pump. It’s true. That’s how Glendo welcomes you. You can pick up trails that run right through the middle of the campground or drive farther down the road and start at the dam. Do you want to ride along ridges, or head over to the North Platte river and grab a trail from there? The options are endless. My family and I have been camping and recreating at Glendo State Park for over four years now, and we are still discovering new trails and surprising terrain. It is easy to find trails to meet your experience (or fitness) level.
With the reservoir, the river, and stunning sunsets, there are so many ways to plan out a day. One day you can choose a short ride, then throw on your suit for some paddleboarding, and end the day at the river fishing for dinner. The next day you can get up, pack up your gear, and spend the entire day riding. Personally, we love seeing our small children–who we hope will grow into bike enthusiasts themselves–laugh on the pump track and ride on trails that are perfect for their skill level. I follow their tiny bikes on trails that get them used to riding on dirt and over rocks, but at the same time don’t frustrate them or require too many dismounts.
There are more than 300 designated campsites at Glendo State Park. Want to camp on Sandy Beach and paddleboard and sunbathe after a day of riding, or camp next to the playground complete with bouldering features and a kids’ pump track? My suggestion: do both!
The last time my family was at Glendo, we camped up top at the Two Moon Campground so the kids could kick around on the playground. They wanted to spend a day at the beach, so my husband loaded up the car with food, sand toys, paddleboards, and the kids and headed down the windy road about 12 miles to the beach. I hopped on my bike and rode seven miles (nine, if you include the backtracking I had to do because I wasn’t paying attention) down single track to the beach. Within the seven (nine) mile route, I hit so many different kinds of terrain, it was as if the trails couldn’t make up their minds where they wanted to be. There were dusty trails through open grasslands where the sun beat on my back, and narrow switchbacks that dropped me into a canyon and along tight trails with rocks to climb and maneuver. A portion of the ride was along a cliffside overlooking the water, then down a walk-a-bike staircase, and eventually on sandy trails with a gentle water breeze.
I rolled into the campground where my husband met me with a cold beer and we sat on the beach to and watched our kids build sandcastles. I mean, really?! That is my idea of a perfect day.
Want to visit? Let me give you a few tips to consider to make the most of your trip:
- Unless you LOVE changing flats, run tubeless tires. There are lots of little cacti, and even the most careful biker will end up running over a few.
- Make sure you have a Burrito Hauler Top Tube Bag and The Seeker Frame Bag to strap to your bike. They will provide you with enough space for tools, water, and storage so you won’t have to haul anything on your back.
- Shoulder seasons are the peak riding times because of the cooler weather. Average highs in July and August are near 90. If you don’t mind the heat, plan shorter rides and camp at the beach.
- If you camp at the beach, expect sand to be in every nook and cranny of your car, camper, gear, and self for weeks! Campsites are in the sand.
- Don’t forget to pack swimsuits, fishing poles, sand toys (if you have kids), and any other kind of water gear you use. Depending on the time of year and amount of water runoff, the size of the beach will vary (but it is always fun).
- Even if you camp at the beach, go up to the cliffs at the Two Moon Campground at least one night to watch the sunset. I have never once been disappointed. Even the most routine Glendo sunset is breathtaking.
- Plan to bring all the food you will need for your stay. The town of Glendo pretty much has one gas station (for now!). You can pick up a few supplies, beer, ice, and snacks at the Marina when it is open, but if it is closed, don’t count of finding what you need in town. Did I mention the town has a population of 200?
A Future Bike Mecca
Glendo State Park is a biking destination you don’t want to miss out on! Go now and explore before this little secret gets out.
It seems the Internet is all abuzz with finding the next Moab. But is it the next Moab we are really looking for? I boldly predict that Glendo will become one of the next, most popular bike meccas. Not the next Moab or Fruita, but a category unto itself. This is a chance to widen your bike trip travel girth. Each bike mecca offers unique trails and opportunities to experience the outdoor bliss of our country and the lands we can actively protect.
And, who knows? Maybe someday, the town of Glendo will have a brewery, great pizza, a stellar coffee shop, and a little shop that sells quality, hand-sewn bags for your bike (*wink, wink*). But, until then, you can get those bags here. And if you really want to be on the cutting edge of celebrating Wyoming’s epic bike trails, you can get our limited edition, Wyoming proof bike bags and t-shirts only available here until May 9.