Trail of the Week: Sanctuary and Skyline (with video)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Some trails are quite literally, in your backyard. Technically, just a few people have the Sanctuary and Skyline trails behind their homes, but the trailheads are so close to town, it’s practically in every Steamboatian’s backyard.
Both trails are aptly named. The wide gravel Sanctuary trail begins on Steamboat Boulevard near Clearwater Trail, the road to Mount Werner Water District. The trailhead is in the middle of the 2-mile horseshoe shaped trail. West of the parking lot, the path goes under Steamboat Boulevard, then over Fish Creek. To the east of the lot, extends the rest of the trail.
The path slowly ascends up the hill and turns south and then west towards the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. In the winter, this trail is part of the Steamboat Nordic network.
Hikers, joggers and dog walkers are pretty exposed on the hillside, but with the late summer sun weakening, it’s not too hot. Aspen leaves dance, twirling and showing off a grey-ish green color, hinting at changes soon to come.
Moose are known to frequent the area, but with fall creeping closer, the large animals probably aren’t around as much.
The Skyline trail is nearby. One entrance is just across the road from where Sanctuary meets Steamboat Boulevard. The trailhead is at the end of Clearwater Trail. As a nearby sign requests, please park in the trailhead lot, and not on the side of the road.
Skyline is a skinnier single track trail, looping around the outskirts of Mount Werner Water before turning up the hillside. Skyline is 1.9 miles and also resembles a horseshoe. To make it a full loop, trekkers can close the gap along Steamboat Boulevard.
If you’re looking to truly escape the streets of Steamboat, this isn’t the trail for you. However, if you’re looking for a new place to run or walk the dog or take the kids, I highly recommend starting here.
Steamboat is not only home to the glorious trails in the Routt National Forest, but a network of residential paths as well. Most are wide, gravel routes, but some are partly paved. Sanctuary and Skyline are the most separated and the longest of the residential trails in Steamboat. There might be other short ones closer to home, though.
Lower Spring Creek is a gem, as is Blue Sage. Also nearby is the Fox Creek Trail, which cuts through Rita Valentine Dog Park. Bear Creek Trail is hidden, nestled among the crowded condos at the base of the resort.
All local trails can be found on the Steamboat Springs interactive trail map at maps.steamboatsprings.net/trails. CO Trex or trails.colorado.gov is a great website and app for finding trails throughout the area and state.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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