Curt Gowdy State Park: Southern Wyoming mountain biking mecca is everything it’s cracked up to be

By Joshua BermanCurt Gowdy Mountain BikingDirt slides and crunches beneath my shocks as my bicycle careens around another banked turn, down and up a whoop-dee-doo, between a pair of granite boulders, and into an open meadow. The sky is grey-white, the wind is chilly, and the view of rolling plains and rocks is enormous. The trail rises again, a twisting brown ribbon flying out from under my front wheel.This must be what the guy at the Rock On Wheels bike shop in Cheyenne was talking about when he said I’d find some nice “rolling, flowy single track” on the Stone Temple Circuit, a 3.75-mile loop trail beginning and ending at the Aspen Grove trailhead.“It’s got everything Curt Gowdy has to offer,” he said of the trail while adjusting my full suspension shocks. “It’ll be a good warm-up loop for you, then you can hit it again and take the Pinball trail to a secret waterfall.”But halfway around the Stone Temple Circuit, I’m getting all the excitement and exercise I need — and a new understanding as to why the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) designated the 30-some mile trail network in Curt Gowdy State Park as “epic.”Amazingly, this trail accommodates both an inexperienced, out-of-shape newbie like myself, as well as world-class racers, about 100 of whom will be blasting through here tomorrow, probably 10 times faster than I am pedaling now.Actually, after all the hype I’ve heard, I’m surprised by how few fellow riders I see. Part of the story of Curt Gowdy State Park is not just how great the biking is, but how the trail system — built only in 2006 — has spawned an entire mountain biking community in and around Cheyenne.The elevation of Curt Gowdy State Park is between 6,700 and nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, so even though it’s considered one of the easier trails in the area, I am completely winded by the short uphill sections. Finally, the last gravity-fueled descent sends me soaring into the trailhead parking lot sooner than I’d expected. I guess time flies when you are riding an epic mountain biking trail in Wyoming.IF YOU GO:Directions to Curt Gowdy State Park: From Cheyenne, go west on Highway 210 (Happy Jack Road) for 25 miles. Turn left on Granite Reservoir Road into the park (pay $5 at the booth). Turn right on Aspen Grove Road.Rent a full suspension mountain bike for the day ($50, or less for a hardtail bike), at Rock On Wheels bike shop in downtown Cheyenne (900 E Lincolnway, Cheyenne, WY 82001tel. (307) 637-0020, Berman is a freelance travel writer and author of the “Out West” column in The Denver Post. Find him at and on Twitter at @tranquilotravel