Trail of the Week: Flash of Gold
One of the most heralded additions to Steamboat’s mountain biking scene is the new multi-use, multi-directional Flash of Gold, a beautiful, meandering, 11.3-mile trail leading from the top of Spring Creek Trail near Dry Lake Campground up Buffalo Pass. The trail gets climbing riders off the dusty and narrow Buff Pass Road and allows an enjoyable and inspiring descent.
The trail has quickly become a popular thoroughfare for trail enthusiasts of all types, so watch out for other users, especially in the first couple miles from the trailhead. While the road may still be the quickest way to access the BTR and Grouse trail descents for those pressed for time, Flash provides connections to both with incredible views and without the dust and exhaust.
Meandering upward through nearly every different ecological zone the Park Range has to offer, the trail allows various bailouts along the way. To reach it, either ride up Spring Creek Trail from town or head down the top of Spring Creek from the main parking lot on the south side of the road (look for a fork to your left after a few hundred yards). After a short descent, the trail crosses Spring Creek before winding upward through one of the largest aspen groves in the county.
At 4.5 miles, a left fork takes you back to Buff Pass Road, across from which lies the start of BTR. Stay right at the fork and you’ll cross the creek again and traverse to a two-track (note: the trail is less manicured beyond the creek). Take a left for a few hundred yards (three switchbacks), and look for a singletrack spur to the right. This leads another five miles up and over fun, ride-able rock features to a left fork leading back to Buff Pass Road near the top of Grouse Trail; or stay straight and the trail will hit U.S. Forest Service Road No. 306. Head left and in a mile you’ll hit Buff Pass Road a mile below Summit Lake Campground. Climbing to the trail’s top also accesses the new soon-to-be-completed Soda Mountain and Gem (Buff Mountain) trails.
Regardless which route you take, it’s one of the most heralded additions to Steamboat riding in years, passing through the county’s largest aspen grove to boot. “It’s a great new addition to the whole trail system up there,” says U.S Forest Service recreation specialist Kent Foster.
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.
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