As with all kid-related questions, the answer is “it depends!”
Valmont Park mostly caters to school-age or older riders, but the toddler options are totally appropriate for toddlers who enjoy riding their bike independently and like to pick up a little bit of speed.
My kid was 2.5 years old when we took them. They’ve always been more of an observer and slower to try new things, so I think we could’ve waited another six months to a year before taking them to Valmont.
Every kid is different, and I couldn’t find any pictures or details about the toddler area of the park to help us decide ahead of time. Thanks to yet another illness-related daycare closure, we made the trip to Boulder on a weekday to see what it was like!
There are two areas for toddlers at the park: The Toddler Pump Track and the Tot Track.
The Tot Track is paved cement and is super small, just a loop around the playground area. There are a few rolling bumps and a very slight bank to the turns, which is supposed to help introduce these concepts to little kids.
My kid was worried about falling on the concrete, so we headed to the pump track first.
A pump track is a bike track engineered to be ridden without pedals, based on your momentum built up by pumping your arms. Pump tracks are balance-bike friendly!
The pump track is much bigger than the Tot Track, but still small. It has gently banked sides and a few small bumps (less than six-inch drop) to roll over.
My toddler wasn’t comfortable going fast downhill yet, so instead of pumping/cruising on the pump track, it was more a slow shuffle around it.
We went on a weekday when 98% of the park was closed because of recent rain, so we had it to ourselves and my kid’s slow speed wasn’t an issue. It would have been if other kids were there.
Parents also aren’t supposed to be on the pump track with their kids. My kid was also not comfortable going around on their own. Since we were the only ones there, my spouse and I did admittedly break this rule and walked around the track with Toddler OB.
Toddler OB liked figuring out the pump track loop and spent 15 minutes or so doing very slow laps. My kid had ridden around our very flat neighborhood a lot on their balance bike, but this is how we realized they weren’t actually comfortable coasting down any sort of hill or bump. Which is totally fine, but maybe not the best fit for the park!
Their speed (or lack thereof) would’ve made a major traffic jam if other kids were there. Combined with us having to walk around with them, we would’ve had to just leave if other people were there.
After a few laps on the pump track, Toddler OB was game to try the cement Tot Track by the playground. It is incredibly tiny, so even though this was a better fit for them ability-wise, it only took about five minutes before they wanted to do something else.
My spouse and I were hoping to combine bike time with playground time, but the playground is pretty sparse and also only has equipment appropriate for school-aged kids. My toddler tried to use a couple pieces of equipment before we called it a day.
My kid has gained a lot more confidence on their bike over the fall, so I think next year when they’re closer to 4 years old, the park would be a better fit.
To have a good time, your kid should be independent on their bike and want to ride it without you right next to them. They should also be comfortable coasting downhill and enjoy building up speed.
We ended up spending more time at Southern Sun Brewing than Valmont, but it was still a fun outing! Let me know if you try it out and what your kid thinks of it. Our friends with school-aged kids can spend hours there!
Please make sure to always have your kid in a helmet when you bike!