Colorado’s Best Disc Golf Courses: Elevated Excellence

For the flatlanders in America, the best disc golf courses in Colorado take some getting used to. No part of the entire state is under 3,000’ of elevation, affecting your discs’ flight patterns. With a lower overall air density, there’s less friction at play. 

Understandable discs will fly more stable, and overstable discs will have more of a meat hook capacity. It’s nice playing at elevation. If you’re like me, you break out your old, beaten-in, flippy discs for one last go-round. 

Colorado is a beautiful state and has a slight edge over most other states in terms of cutting newbies some slack on the understandable discs. For out-of-staters like myself,  there’s always a slight adjustment period. 

My Top 3 Picks for the Best Disc Golf Courses in Colorado

Colorado is ranked the 12th best state for disc golfers, and the state hosts 283 courses. There are over a hundred disc golf leagues throughout the state. There’s little doubt that the sport is popular and growing. Colorado also presents some of the more varied and interesting course designs in the country. 

It’s not good enough to throw a course layout down with nothing to show for it but a hundred different elevation changes. I pick the best courses based on how well the topography is integrated into the course design. Of course, I also include course sizes, amount of technical shots, whether or not it’s beginner-friendly, water hazards, and a range of course amenities. 

  1. Beaver Ranch, Conifer (Best Course Overall)
  2. Johnny Roberts Memorial Disc Golf Course, Arvada (Best for Beginners)
  3. Bailey Disc Golf Course (Best Challenge)

Beaver Ranch and Bailey are the 11th and 25th best disc golf courses in the world, respectively, while Johnny Roberts is the oldest disc golf course in Colorado and one of the most popular courses in the state. 

Beaver Ranch, Conifer (Best Overall)

Features

  • Multiple tees and pins
  • 63 holes
  • A small fee for unlimited play
  • Concrete tees
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • 4,513’ to 7,477’ course length, depending on the course
  • Disc golf Pro Shop located on-site

Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course is home to a staggering 63 holes of play. Pack a lunch and a sizeable bag for all of your gear because you will be here for a while. Though it’s located in the foothills, the surrounding views are absolutely incredible. At some tees, it will seem as if your disc will fly forever, perhaps landing somewhere in Arkansas. 

To top it off, Beaver Ranch is home to a variation of disc golf known as FROLF. It’s not even a variation really—more of a game all its own. There are some serious “grip it and rip it” elevation holes at Beaver Ranch and, with 63 holes, you’ll find just about every other shot type you can imagine. 

Every hole has multiple tee boxes and the pins are moved periodically. However, it’s not done just for a change-up. The course is painstakingly laid out, with every box featuring a unique approach that accommodates beginners, intermediate players, and veterans. The courses neatly sprinkle in a dose of technical shots and challenges for every style of play. 

Johnny Roberts Memorial Disc Golf Course, Arvada (Best for Beginners)

Features

  • 18 holes w/two water hazards
  • 3,073’ to 3,789’ course length
  • Multiple pins, single tee boxes
  • Mach V baskets
  • Concrete tees
  • Very short holes
  • Par 54

I had to put this one in the number two spot for two reasons. The first is that the Johnny Roberts Course is the oldest in the state, established in 1978 and later redesigned for a more modernized, beginner-friendly layout that harkens back to the original course in many ways. 

The second is that it’s very beginner-friendly. If you are looking to get into the game for the first time, there’s no better place to go. For those reasons, it’s one of the best disc golf courses in Colorado. You can literally play this entire course with putters and never miss a beat. 

It also happens to be a beautiful course, with small, bubbling streams winding throughout the course, creating two water hazards on a couple of holes. Sometimes, beauty is in simplicity. There are a few technical shots sprinkled in, but nothing overly onerous and the few are excellent learning opportunities. 

Bailey Disc Golf Course, Bailey (Best Challenge)

Features

  • 21 holes
  • 7,954’ course length
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Turf tee types
  • DiscGolfPark Target Targets
  • Cart friendly
  • Dog friendly

This course is the ultimate in elevation insanity. If you’re a beginner and you find yourself on this course, it’s a heck of a learning experience. The good news is, you won’t get lost on any of the fairways because the sign guides are excellent and thoroughly illustrated. It’s a testament to how well-laid the course is and the navigational tools you need. 

It’s one of those courses that makes for a terrifying second throw if you fudge your drive, even a little bit. It demands precision and the elevation changes are brutal. Take advantage of the glide numbers on your discs for this one. 

There is a healthy mix of shots to contend with as well, including heavily wooded, tight corners, long-distance drives, and more than a few opportunities to practice a roller or get out of the trees with a tomahawk. There’s a course fee as well, $5 for daily play and a $40 season pass for residents ($50 for non-residents).

Bird’s Nest Disc Park, Arvada

Features

  • 27 holes
  • Mach V baskets
  • 9,461’ course length
  • Concrete tees
  • Cart friendly
  • Multiple pin locations
  • Moderate elevation changes

Johnny Roberts isn’t the only course in Arvada. Another one of the best disc golf courses in Colorado is here and it’s a very good one, especially for beginners working on their long game. Bird’s Nest Disc Park features several, wide-open shots from the tee, with nothing but rolling pastureland in front of you. 

Most of the shots are well over 300’, with a 540’ hole and seven holes over 400’ from the tee box to the basket. Fortunately, you can approach most in a straight line. The elevation changes are only moderate but they will make a difference for those who like to keep their discs low and straight. 

If you want a more wide-open experience, play in the late fall and winter months, when the foliage is as low as it will be all year. The spring and summer months bring the leaves back but it’s still not a difficult course. There’s a lot of grip and rip here so it’s the perfect place to practice your form for long-distance shots. 

Pessimist Disc Golf Course, Fort Morgan

Features

  • x7 water hazards
  • 8,046’ course length
  • DiscGolfPark Pro Baskets
  • Turf tees
  • Single pin locations
  • Single tees
  • Cart friendly
  • On-site camping

Pessimist Disc Golf Course is not a terrible park because of the name. It’s actually the opposite name since there is an optimist park right down the road. It’s a well-laid-out course with sensible lines throughout, along with plenty to keep you on your toes. This is especially true with water hazards. 

There are seven of them sprinkled throughout the course, and all seven will be more than happy to gobble up your disc forever. A few of the holes are par 4s, over 650’ long, and a couple are beyond 500’.

The good news is some of the water hazards feature nice setups for potential ace runs. So long as you can get over the fact that you’re tossing directly over the water. Another advantage of the park is how quiet it is. There are always people )mostly disc golfers) moving throughout the course, but it’s a genuinely peaceful place to play. 

Ghost Town, Central City

Features

  • 19 holes
  • 4,445’ course length
  • Pro and amateur tees
  • DISCatcher baskets
  • Holes 10-16 are in an abandoned, haunted mining town
  • Dirt tees
  • Private land disc golf course
  • Very technical course

The disadvantage of playing in a ghost town is that you incur a 3-stroke penalty if your disc hits someone’s house or car (outside of the small perimeter of the ghost town, of course). The only real drawback to this awesome course is that you have to make a reservation and pay a $10 fee to play. 

The front 9 are relatively wooded, with a few difficult shots here and there but, thankfully, no water hazards to navigate. Once you get past that, the course opens up, and you enter the old mining town at hole #10. The course is a rugged one, especially when you leave the woods and start dealing with the mining town itself. 

The course forces you to get creative on several shots, though it’s not considered a highly difficult or complex course. Credit to the designer, Brian O’Donnell. The technical shots come into play with the OB (out of bounds) penalties, where your game better be on the up and up or suffer the consequences. 

Bucksnort Disc Golf Course, Pine

Features

  • Major elevation changes
  • Heavily wooded
  • 4,473’ to 6,219’ course length
  • Pro and Amateur baskets
  • Natural tee types
  • 28-holes
  • All par 3s

When you play Bucksnort Disc Golf Course for the first time, you’ll understand why they’re all par 3s. This is a complicated, heavily wooded course with multiple elevation changes throughout. It just missed being the most challenging course on my list by a hair. You need to bring your A-game and play with some finesse to keep yourself out of trouble on your approach shots. 

On the flip side, this is a seriously gorgeous course that takes a bit of traveling to reach. It’s about as wild as it gets—far enough out that the baskets and tees feel strangely out of place. There are steep slopes throughout, and a lousy roll might have you stumbling down the side of a cliff to find your disc. 

There are plenty of doglegs to navigate and a number of creative ways to try and shape your shots. This is definitely not a beginner’s course, but veterans and intermediate players will have an absolute blast or a terrible day—one or the other. Keep your high glide discs handy to float over those steep hills.

Phantom Falls Disc Golf Course, Monument

Features

  • Multiple tees and pin locations
  • Natural tees
  • Mixed baskets
  • Extreme elevation changes
  • Heavily wooded
  • 9,042’ course length
  • Nearby camping
  • Private course/reservation only

Phantom Falls Disc Golf Course is the third toughest on the list, with extreme elevation changes and heavy woods to navigate through. Like Bucksnort, this is as close to wilderness disc golf as you can get. You have to call ahead of time and get permission to play.

According to the course designer, Paulie Rothley, the reservations are to allow disc golfers to play the course the way it’s intended, in peace and quiet. The course features 22 holes, and it’s a good idea to bring your best hiking shoes. You’ll spend most of your time climbing or skidding down the side of a slope. 

This kind of terrain forces you to think carefully over every shot, playing with finesse to avoid your disc rolling 500 yards away from the basket if you miss. The best part about the trip is the Pro Shop onsite. If you lose a couple of discs along the way, you can hit up the sop afterward and replace your losses. 

Final Putt

The best disc golf courses in Colorado stand out in a crowded field of excellence throughout the state. Just about anywhere you play in Colorado is bound to offer its own challenges, fun, and the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. There’s no denying that Colorado is a beautiful state.

The elevation difference of the state does force out-of-state disc golfers to make some subtle changes to their game. Those understandable discs won’t be quite as dependably understandable as they used to be. Your overstable discs may be too overstable. 

Throw in the typical windage you get from playing at elevation, and simply being in the state presents a disc golf challenge before you throw in the topography. Regardless, it’s a fantastic state for disc golf, and if you’re a non-resident and get the opportunity, stop by one of the eight-disc golf courses on this list and have fun!

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