Trail of the Week: Biking a G.E.M.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The new G.E.M. trail, opened just this summer by Routt County Riders, is an aspen-peeper’s and single-track-lover’s dream.
Accessed off the upper portion of Flash of Gold on Buffalo Pass, reach it by turning right off Buff Pass Road onto a two-track, just past the start of the Grouse Trail on the left side of the road. Your other option is to ride all the way up Flash of Gold as a 20-mile, lollipop out-and-back from Dry Lake Campground.
The trail itself is 3.4 miles, with two entrances/exits off of upper Flash of Gold, an upper and a lower.
Many people recommend riding it clockwise, meaning going in the upper entrance and coming out the lower, back onto Flash of Gold
Regardless, the trail turns off upper, upper Flash of Gold and climbs to the summit of Buffalo Mountain.
Rated intermediate/advanced by MTB Project, it gains 424 feet of elevation, with a descent of 322 feet. It’s slightly steeper than Flash of Gold, with a couple of “armored rock” sections for a challenge near the top, at its highpoint of 10,389 feet. The trail also bypasses the technical climbing section on upper, upper Flash of Gold.
Whichever way you ride it, be prepared for some of the most expansive views of any ride in the valley. The trail offers great vistas down the valley and also a rare glimpse into the upper North Fork of Fish Creek.
Hint: Scout out the route beforehand to nail the technical rock sections near the top.
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.
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