Green Mountain

By Chris
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The City of Lakewood boasts what is commonly known as Green Mountain. The name of the park is actually “Hayden Green Mountain”. It’s mainly a cooler weather ride, as late afternoons are scorchers on this one. There isn’t an ounce of shade on it. My most memorable ride on it was on a single speed. I cheated a little bit, went with a 32 x 17 setup and it was all rideable. My geared friends, however, had the pleasure of seeing me suffer quite a bit.

The trail head I’ve always used is just off S. Rooney Road. You park there and head up the trail, crossing C-470 on a bridge. The trail takes off in three directions from there (not counting the paved pike path). Choose the center one. You will begin a nice little climb that will knock any rust off of your legs. Take note, Google Earth says you are starting in the parking lot at 6070 ft. and you will be done climbing at 6799 ft. Some of it you will climb more than once.
When you top out of the first little climb, you will be greeted with a long section of rolling XC. It’s not too rough, but there are a couple of tire popping rocks in there if your handling skills are off. You will steadily work your way down (crossing the T of your return trip) to a little dry (most of the time) wash. A few nifty little whoop-te-doos and a short climb later, you’ll hit the first of the two track.

The two track is fast. And I mean fast. If you know how to stay on top of the power curve, you won’t notice the little uphill sections. Be careful not to leave your riding buddies behind here. Also, be careful of blind horizon lines and corners. Don’t run anyone over who is slogging it up this way. It doesn’t matter which side of the two track they are on, they have right-of-way.

The speedway comes to a little bit of a halt there. After a small parking lot, you will have a little looping downhill and a short uphill. Keep as much speed as you can, the little climb gets steep at the top.

You will follow the elevation contour around the mountain from there. Watch your speed here, you will meet on-coming traffic in a frightening hurry. When the trail begins to turn north, you will drop down into a little gully and begin the first real test of the day.

The climb out of the gully is short, but it is steep and generally cut up a bit. Slide up onto the point of your saddle and gut it out, it’s not that bad.

Once you’ve cleaned the climb, the trail will resume it contour hugging fashion and swing around the mountain on a slight downhill. Again, watch blind corners and horizon lines for oncoming traffic. Before the downhill actually bottoms out (nearly, but not quite), you will come to a T in the trail. Swing north on it.

This is where Green Mountain becomes a bit of a gut check. If it’s the afternoon, you are in for a baking. On hot days, the climb seems to last forever. Fair warning, my KML Google Earth map missed the first little switchback. Don’t worry though, it’s clearly visible if you are zoomed in enough on the map.

Climb and continue climbing until you intersect another trail. Swing west once you hit it, and be prepared for gusty winds. Keep going until you hit the maintenance road on top.

Turn NW (left) on the road and build a good head of steam. The road goes down, then sharply up. Just as your legs start to burn, you should see some singletrack off to the left. Fair warning – it gets steep here in a little bit. You will drop around 620 feet in around a mile, for those counting, that’s an average gradient of around 11%. Follow the singletrack around and stay left at any intersections. If you are squeamish about heights, backtrack and follow the maintenance road back down (it’s pretty steep too).

If you have braved the warning and gone ahead, watch your speed. Try not to slide sideways down the ridge. Watch the ruts and don’t end up in one, they’ll toss you around like a rag doll. If you do end up in one, stop and walk it. The surface will smooth out a bit as the grade decreases and you will see a V in the trail. Take the left route. The right path takes you down the “Hero” route. It’s do-able, but it’s extremely eroded and a good biker on a successful run looks very much like a newbie trying not to die.

If you’ve taken the left fork, you will continue dropping into a little scrub forest. Watch the branches, there are some grabbers in there. Also watch for bikers that have been ejected and are spread-eagled on the trail. Technically, it’s not that difficult of a section, but for some reason I see a lot of yard sales here.

You will come out of the scrub forest and wheel around through the gulch, heading southwest. Feel free to let it all hang out here. You have a clear line through the T of your former route, just make sure you don’t T-Bone anyone traversing that trail. There are two little climbs before the parking lot, but if you’ve wound it up enough, you might not have to pedal for them. From there, it’s a quick downhill to the bridge and back to the parking lot.

Get the Google Earth KML file.

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