Review: Bicycling the LOBO Trail to Niwot

A few years ago I started to ride my bike from Gunbarrel Green to Niwot, but found the hill up Lookout Rd. a killer. I could make it, but my companion had to walk. Then a friend told me about the LOBO trail, which I somehow hadn’t heard of in my 7-or-so years in Gunbarrel. It’s flatter, more scenic, and much more enjoyable than are the roads. It’s not paved, but the surface is good enough even for a road bike.

I always start by taking Lookout to 71st St., and then taking a right onto the trail a few hundred yards north  on 71st. You can also pick it up from the bicycle underpass on Lookout (just east of the commercial area), or by taking the path to the north where 75th St. intersects Lookout Rd. Lookout and 75th have wide bike paths along them which you’ll want to use, depending on where you live.

LOBO to Niwot is uninterrupted by streets except for a crossing at Monarch Rd., which has very little traffic. There’s a tunnel under Rt. 52, so you don’t have to deal with that busy road. Along the path there are couple of gates to keep the cows in (I suppose) which you have to get off your bike to open and close, although the last time I took the trail they were already open, and I just biked through and left them that way.

Once you get to Niwot, there are restaurants, brewpubs, and some interesting shops. Also a Post Office that’s much less busy than the ones in Boulder.

There are three interesting variations:

  • Take the new underpass under the Diagonal to get to the quiet roads north of the Diagonal, such as 63rd St. You can even bike to the Reservoir.
  • Take the path to 71st St., or stay on 71st if you’re already on it, and stop at Gunbarrel Brewing, just at the entrance to Gunbarrel Technical Center. Vindication Brewing is also farther in. Probably best to do this on your way back from Niwot.
  • LOBO stands for Longmont-Boulder, which means you can take the trail way past Niwot, all the way to Longmont. I haven’t done that myself.