Trail of the Week: In-town rides to enjoy with the whole family
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Here with the family and want to take a nearby ride together? Try any of the following in-town family rides, guaranteed to get your wheels spinning and children grinning.
Rotary Park to Whistler Park
Starting point: Southwest corner of U.S. Highway 40 and Mount Werner Road (Rotary Park parking lot). Port-o-let restroom at parking lot.
Ride: Head south on the Yampa Valley Core Trail (toward Rabbit Ears Pass). Continue past the Walton Creek Road intersection and take a left at the split in the trail to cross under U.S. 40. Take a right at the next intersection to cross the bridge. Ride past the pond and turn left at Stone Lane. Ride about two blocks to Whistler Road, turn right onto the sidewalk/bike path and veer right after one block to the Whistler Park entrance, where there’s a playground and restrooms. For a longer variation, start from the Core Trail downtown.
Bear River Skate and Dirt Jump Park
Starting point: Little Toots Park at 11th and Yampa streets. Parking, food and restrooms can be found nearby at the Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Ride: Head past the park toward the library, ride under Twentymile Road, follow the Core Trail to the bridge and turn left to cross the Yampa River. Turn right and continue on the Core Trail. Across the second bridge, the Steamboat Springs Community Center offers a park and playground with restrooms. Continue to the intersection at Shield Drive. Stay on the Core Trail and follow signage to Bear River Skate Park. The dirt jump/pump track is located on the far side of the skate park, complete with beginner lines and berms. (Fun game — time riders around the beginner loop).
Ski Time Square Pump Track
Starting point: Ski Time Square.
Ride: Located at the upper end of Ski Time Square Road on the left, this small pump track is great for kids. Ride from the pump track down the access road next to the Torian Plum condos to the Slopeside Grill restaurant for food, beverages and restrooms. Continue down the Promenade to Gondola Square for a kids activity center and more restaurants. You can ride to Ski Time Square from the Core Trail intersection of the Mount Werner Road/U.S. 40 exit, but the hill can challenge young riders.
Butcherknife Creek to Strawberry Park Elementary Playground
Starting point: Downtown, from Yampa Street/Core Trail or Howelsen Hill Lodge parking lot.
Ride: From downtown, cross Lincoln Avenue and head north two blocks to Pine Street. Follow Pine Street to Seventh Street and turn north to a three-way intersection at Missouri Street. Turn right onto Missouri Street and ride four blocks to Stehley Park. Follow the gravel bike path — Butcherknife Trail — along the creek through Butcherknife Canyon to a split in trail — short steep hill at intersection. Turn left and cruise down to the Strawberry Park Middle School track. Veer left and follow the trail to the middle school parking lot. Ride across the parking lot to the playground to the right of the school. End the ride with an ice cream or shake from Lyons Drug Store or Johnny B. Good’s Diner.
Note: The Howelsen Hill parking lot is a great starting point for this ride if one parent wants to mountain bike on Emerald Mountain while the other takes the kids to the playground.
Yampa River Core Trail
A block off Lincoln Avenue lies Steamboat’s true summer Main Street — the Yampa River Core Trail — a seven-mile, multi-use pathway that parallels the Yampa River from Walton Creek Road on the east to the Bear River Bike Park on the west. Hit it on foot, bike or skateboard for a fun-filled excursion for the whole family. It’s also the best ride for cruiser bikes in town. Abundant parking is available at Rotary Park at 13th Street and the Yampa River. Hint: Ring your bell when passing pedestrians.
This gem of a downtown ride follows a dirt road for a half-mile up to two ponds perfect for fishing and throwing rocks, before continuing as a creekside two-track for another two miles. From there, you can continue up the singletrack of Spring Creek Trail proper for as long as your troopers’ legs last or return the way you came, with a leisurely stop at the ponds. To get there, take Fish Creek Falls Road up the hill and take a left on Amethyst Drive. The parking area is a dirt road to your right across from the high school. To bike there, take the bike underpass leading north from the upper parking lot of the Old Town Hot Springs.
Steamboat Springs has a perfect BMX course for kids. The 980-foot-long, USA BMX-sanctioned track is located at the base of Howelsen Hill on the far west end. The track turns back on itself for four straight shots, each littered with rollers, mounds and berms designed to challenge experts and beginners alike. It also features starting gates, lights and a public address system for a 10-race BMX summer series racing circuit, open to kids and adults.
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.
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