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Bear Creek Trail: Dam Overlook(sh)
aka Mount Carbon(sh)

There is no lower place with better panoramic views in the area west of Denver, and just a couple that are higher - arguably.... and the top is only accessible with a bike trail, albeit the road is never more than a quarter mile away. The map also marks this location on a small hill above Bear Creek Dam with the name Mount Carbon. But don't expect a real mountain, but something just big enough for a great view covering 360 degrees.

01.START-END SOUTH-EAST:jct Platte River Trail - Clear Creek Trail, at bridge over Platte River
02.Trail crosses under Sheridan Ave
03.Trail crosses under Wadsworth Ave
04.Trail crosses under Kipling Ave
05.route comes close to Morrison Rd and enters the regional park
07.profile turns north on C470 Trail
08.profile turns east on Morrison Rd
09.point 5 is just a few feet away
10.profile turns south on Kipling St (not Ave)
11.route continues west on Yale Ave6
12.START-END NORTH-EAST:jct Platte River Trail - Dartmouth Ave


From South-West: In order to make a bike loop with this as the highest point, the best way to do it from this side is pretty clear: Bear Creek Trail all the way. That's what the profile does, even if there are infinitely many other possibilities utilizing a city full of streets.

Actual real climbing begins after the trail enters Bear Creek Park and passes a golf course. This route heads for the south side of the Dam. The narrow paved path winds up grassy slopes between golf carts, faded grass blowing in the wind, and steadily improving far views. The foothills are nice. But the real characteristic view from this stretch is the Denver skyline: distant high rise offic buildings, truncated by orderly rows of suburban housing. The "summit house" soon appears in close view. It turns out to be an out house. This is the most scenically placed toilet in all of the Denver Metro area, as far as I know, the eye reaching from lake over foothills to skyline and rolling mesas in the far south. The "summit house" is a hundred yards or so past the turnoff to the downhill on the west side. The option of going around the the south side of the dam actually traverses a lower point, with not enough elevation gain (500ft) in order to qualify as summit point for these pages.

From South. Constructing a strictly decreasing descent with a clear route on this side is less obvious. A few "mini golf" versions of switchbacks lead down towards the reservoir in a matter of seconds. Actually taking the first option to get off the Bear Creek Trail and head east again on residential streets is probably the option decreasing most quickly in elevation. But I think the attraction of this locations is really the unbroken bike path option, Clear Creek Trail changing to C470 Trail heading north and then taking Morrison Road to head east and loose elevation slowly. This is what the profile does.

The profile follows reasonably bike friendly suburban streets east back to the Platte River Trail. Along the way are several designated bike routes to head north, that will keep Monte Cabonara as the highest point on the route: along Garrison Ave, and along Pierce St, just to mention a few.

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