Spoke Talk: Spring Creek
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Spring Creek is one of our most heavily used trails in town, and with good reason. Its location is easy to get to and offers a little something for everybody with beautiful scenery through the canyon leading all the way to Dry Lake parking lot on Buffalo Pass.
With trail access starting on Routt County Road 34, crossing onto city of Steamboat Springs property, then U.S. Forest Service land, the Spring Creek Trail System is truly a collaborative partnership. While it’s always been a popular spot to ride and hike, the average daily use has increased in the past year. With more people getting out to enjoy our public lands, the city is excited to provide an update on some new projects.
With the final piece of the new Spring Roll downhill directional bike trail recently completed this summer, most mountain bikers have probably had a chance to experience Steamboat’s exciting new trail. Built by Routt County Riders over the past two seasons, the trail was built to provide an alternate route down through the canyon, minimizing conflicts by separating hikers and equestrians from downhill bikers on the busy Spring Creek Trail.
Because of the high use on Spring Trail, it’s recommended that all bikers utilize the Spring Roll downhill trail when descending through the canyon. From the top, the trail is classified as an intermediate to expert or blue/black level trail. Below the “wall” and at the connection just above Bridge No. 6, the trail is classified as an intermediate/blue route. Spring Roll ends on C.R. 34, which is heavily used by all trail users, has some vehicular traffic and is the area where we see the most conflict.
Please be aware when ending your Spring Roll ride to check your speed and increase your awareness of other users when returning on the county road.
Along with the new downhill biking trail, there are also exciting changes for hikers and equestrians on the Ditch Trail. Though the unsanctioned Ditch Trail has been used by the public for many years, the irrigation ditch is privately owned, and the trail alongside it exists for maintenance access for water rights. The trail also crosses private property, and trespassing has increased over the years, raising concerns for adjacent landowners.
Through a public process starting in 2017, the city began working with owners of the Steamboat Gardens Ditch to culvert a small section and allow the new Spring Roll downhill bike trail to cross the ditch. As part of that discussion, the city also worked with ditch owners to adjust the Ditch Trail route, utilizing a portion of the trail along the ditch and constructing a new entrance and exit that allows pedestrians to create a loop with Spring Creek Trail.
This compromise benefits all trail users while respecting private property and water rights. The new Ditch Trail is for hikers and equestrians only, providing a better user experience and minimizing conflicts with bike traffic.
Whether you hike, bike or ride a horse, the Spring Creek Trail System is a wonderful outdoor space right in our backyard. We hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy the trails this summer, and please remember to have fun and share the trail.
Jenny Carey is the Open Space and Trails supervisor for city of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation.
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