At 2.75 miles, the Briargate Trail won't tucker you out, or take you very far. But it is among the more pleasant trails in the area. It offers a mix of shady lanes and broad vistas. An easy walk and an only marginally challenging ride, the trail provides access to parks, other trails, and most importantly, good coffee.
Click here to see a map of the trail
. (I'm still adding info and photos to the map).
The Briargate Trail is very accessible.
The north end of the trail begins on Family Place, just east of Union Boulevard, at the northwest corner of John Stone Park. There is no sign announcing the start of the trail. Parking is available in the lot on the eastern edge of the park. The parking lot is shared with the Briargate Family YMCA
The south end of the trail is the point where it intersects with the Woodmen Trail.
Between the two ends are numerous neighborhood access points to the trail, not to mention a significant stretch along Research Parkway, so getting on the trail is easy.
The surface is concrete from end to end, with only a few rough spots. It is wheelchair-accessible, though in parts is steep enough to pose a challenge.
As with all trails in the Briargate area, this trail is meant for a leisurely ride, not a time trial. It's popular among dog-walkers, skateboarders on their way to the skate park at John Stone Park, power-walkers and folks coming and going from the Y. John Stone is full of soccer kids and their families on weekends. The southern end is generally less populated, but also features some blind spots around curves and over rises. Stay alert and keep your speed under control.
The path is mostly smooth, though gets a tad choppy on its southern end. Sandy patches are common in the southern stretches, too. Keep your wheels straight and avoid sudden turns to glide through the sand safely.
Riding north-to-south is an easy, generally downhill coast. It gets pretty steep toward the southern end, and you'll need to ride the brakes as you approach the Woodmen Trail in order to make the turn and avoid mowing down pedestrians.
South-to-north, the ride begins with a short but stout climb before it levels out somewhat for the belt-level route around the flank of the hillside that looms above Austin Bluffs Parkway. Another climb gets you up to Research Parkway, where the path turns west and runs alongside the road to Rangewood Drive.
At Rangewood, the trail crosses from one side of Research to the other. The trail continues at the northwest and southeast corners of the intersection.
The Briargate Trail runs through two parks: John Stone, and Candleflower. John Stone features a skateboard park, a playground, basketball court, and a vast playing field, as well as picnic tables and a sweeping view of the Rampart Range. Next door is the YMCA, and across the street is a major shopping center with King Soopers, a Spicy Pickle
restaurant, and a Smoothie King
At the point where the trail bends south, away from Research Parkway and into the grassy hilldsides, you're only a couple blocks away from a small shopping center at the southwest corner of Research and Powers Boulevard. The center has a Borriello Brothers
pizza shop and a 7-Eleven. To get there, just continue east on the wide, bikeable path that runs like a sidewalk alongside Research, past Scarborough Drive about 1/4 mile.
One mug. At the north end of the trail, there's a Starbucks
in the shopping center at Union and Briargate Parkway. In keeping with the Mermaid's plan for world domination, there is yet another Starbucks mere steps away, inside King Soopers.