Trail of the Week: 3 new Dry Lake Loops
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Want to beat the heat by heading higher up in the hills? Pedal a trio of perfect family rides taking off from Dry Lake on Buffalo Pass.
Trail: 1.2 miles
Elevation loss/gain: 291 feet
Highest point: 8,421
Perfect for families, this beginner multi-use trail takes off to the right just as you head down Spring Creek Trail from Dry Lake Campground. An easy gradient winds through a grove of aspen trees, taking you up 277 feet to the trail’s highpoint and a great view of the surrounding Park Range. From there, the trail descends and winds southward until it rejoins Spring Creek slightly above the junction to Flash of Gold. Take a left on Spring Creek and you’ll end up back at the parking area.
Trail: 2 miles
Elevation loss/gain: 135 feet
Highest point: 8,382
Named for a local fern, Fiddlehead is a multi-use beginner trail that takes off on the north side of Buff Pass Road at Dry Lake Campground. Perfect for novices, youngsters and others looking for an easy, scenic ride, it tops out with great views of Soda Creek. You can ride it clockwise or counter-clockwise. For the former, look for the trailhead taking off directly from the parking lot on the north side of Buff Pass Road at Dry Lake Campground. To ride it counter-clockwise, head on the main trail to the right of Dry Lake Campground and turn right at the junction marking the end of the BTR trail — below and west of the weather station. After a hundred yards, you’ll see the turn-off to your left. The gentle trail winds through ferns and aspen groves before intersecting with the “Ditch” or Soda Creek Loop Trail. Head south — left, if riding it counter-clockwise — to get back to the parking lot, or head straight to continue on for another mile on a winding, gentle trail back to the parking lot.
Soda Creek Loop (aka “Ditch” Trail)
Trail: 2.5 miles
Elevation loss/gain: 300 feet
Highest point: 8,282
This new trail takes off from the Dry Lake Campground parking lot on the north side of the road, leading riders on a nice 2.5-mile loop down into Soda Creek, along the waterway and back up and out again. To find it, head to the right of the campground road, veer left just below the weather station hill and follow the straight-away until you see a fork branching off to the right just past the intersection with Fiddlehead. You can also access it by riding Fiddlehead. Ride it clockwise or counter, and heed a couple of rocky sections. On the “ditch” portion of the trail, which follows an old aqueduct, you might encounter riders coming off the Grouse Trail. Combine this loop with Fiddlehead for an even longer, family-friendly ride.
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.
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State of Colorado Water Commissioner Scott Hummer, whose position administers water rights in south Routt County, said longtime ranching families fear this is the worst year for water availability in their lifetimes.