Up Here We Have Trails for All Bikers
By Christina Freeman
Kelly Boniface rides down a classic Steamboat singletrack. Photo by Corey Kopischke.
With hundreds of mountain bike trails around Steamboat Springs, routes exist for every ability level. It’s choosing one that can be difficult. Trail builder, mountain biker and sports photographer Aryeh Copa shares four of his favorites.
Rotary Trail on Emerald Mountain
“This is the ultimate family/beginner trail,” Copa says. For the first half-mile, riders follow the Ridge Trail, which is “a little grunt,” but after that, the rollercoaster ride begins. The Rotary Trail was designed as a flow trail, beginners can roll over the
smooth, wide trail, while more experienced riders can catch air. “The views are really, really, nice — Sleeping Giant and the valley.”
From Lincoln Avenue, turn west on Twentymile Road (RCR 33) and continue for seven miles. Turn left on Cow Creek Road (RCR 45) and continue one mile to either of the two parking lots on your left.
Intermediate Cross Country Trail
Beal Trail on Emerald Mountain
“This is the new, hot trail, and it’s a two-hour casual ride,” Copa says. With ups and downs along the way, the trail descends from the top of Emerald Mountain. Some sections are more challenging than others, but expert skills are not required. The Beall Trail runs through forestland, meadows and aspen groves, and can be part of multiple loop rides. It’s enjoyable in either direction, and can be a one-way ride, crossing over the top of Emerald Mountain back into town.
Beall Trail can be accessed from the base of Howelsen Hill to the Quarry Mountain Trail, then to the two-track along the top of Emerald to the start of the Ridge and Beall trails. Wild Rose Trail is in the works to replace the two-track as a connector to Beall and Ridge trails, probably this summer.
Intermediate Gravity Trail
Rustlers Ridge at the Steamboat
Ski Area Bike Park
“This is a nonstop flow trail with a lot of vertical drop. You don’t have much crisscross over other trails, so it’s 10 minutes of uninterrupted downhill, with lots of jumps and huge berms. It’s like a rollercoaster, only you control the brakes. If you don’t use ‘em much, boy, it’s a lot of fun,” Copa says. Both slow and fast riders can enjoy Rustlers Ridge. “It’s more advanced than Beall Trail — it’s steeper with more jumps.”
Access is either via mountain bike trails from the ski areabase or the gondola.
Mountain View Trail (top of Mount Werner)
to Fish Creek Falls Trail
“This is really challenging,” Copa says. “This is my singlefavorite, technical trail – it’s even better than Moab. The descent is high angle with sections of gnarly drop-offs, cliffs— essentially no-fall zones — and natural options for jumps.” Mountain View offers views of the Yampa Valley and Routt National Forest. Fish Creek Falls Trail is widely described as the most difficult, technical trail in the area.
Begin at the Steamboat Ski Area base and either ride from the bottom or take the gondola to the top of Thunderhead Peak and continue from there to Storm Peak and Mountain View Trail. Follow the trail to Fish Creek Falls Trail (#1102), turn left and descend. The last half-mile mile is popular among visitors to the falls and can be crowded, especially on weekends. Remember to yield to pedestrians.
For detailed information about mountain biking in the Yampa
Valley, visit www.steamboat-chamber.com/info/biketownusa.asp