Steamboat A to Z: Biking
While Steamboat Springs is known for its skiing, come summertime, bicycling is riding fast on its heels.
Hundreds of miles of trails and roads surround town, a user-friendly bike path parallels the Yampa River through town, and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. continues to improve its new downhill offerings on the mountain with the Steamboat Bike Park. Augmenting an already phenomenal network of mountain bike trails, Routt County Riders continues to build even more trails in the area, including the recently finished Beall and Ridge trails on the backside of Emerald Mountain.
For an easy, family-friendly cruise, the Yampa River Core Trail is a wide concrete path that parallels the Yampa River from the east side of Steamboat to the west. It’s a great way to experience Steamboat riding, while stopping for picnics, plunges into the river and lunch along the way.
For more varied rides, Emerald Mountain, rising from the heart of downtown, offers an array of trails leading from the base of Howelsen Hill up, around and behind Emerald Mountain. Access points include Blackmer Drive, which climbs to a great view from Emerald Mountain Quarry, as well as trailheads at the base of Howelsen Hill (Hint: For a singletrack ascent, take the Lupine Trail from behind the rodeo grounds). From the Quarry, take the Quarry Mountain Trail to the summit, where you can drop off the backside on the new Beall or Ridge trails (and loop the new Rotary Trail near the bottom), or return via such frontside trails as Blair Witch, MGM and Eye to Eye.
Steamboat Ski Area serves up 50-plus miles of trails. If you want to forsake the climb, take the gondola to the Thunderhead summit for a fun ride down a variety of trails back the base. You also can climb from Thunderhead to the Storm Peak summit, where more singletrack awaits.
Plenty of road biking options also exist. One favorite is heading out Twentymile Road (Routt County Road 33) from town, accessed from 13th Street. You can ride an out-and-back to the top of the hill in about an hour, or continue on to Twentymile Coal Co. and back, which is about 40 miles. You also can head to Oak Creek on C.R. 27, which sees little or no traffic. Ride through Oak Creek and cut back to Steamboat via Stagecoach Reservoir on C.R. 14 and Colorado Highway 131 for a 50-mile loop.
For more punishment, follow the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge course by heading up Rabbit Ears Pass on U.S. Highway 40. Make it epic by continuing to Gore Pass on Colo. 134 and then over Yellow Jacket Pass on C.R. 14. Loop it back to Colo. 131 to complete the 110-mile ride, referred to as the “Gore Gruel.”
So hop in your saddle and explore yet another side of Steamboat that takes advantage of our world-class terrain.
Look to bowl some spares and strikes at Snow Bowl (970-879-9840), Steamboat’s bowling facility on the west end of town. Theme nights and daily specials are commonplace, making it a great place for the entire family.
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