Trail of the Week: Spring Creek |

Trail of the Week: Spring Creek

Jack Rosenthal cruises down the recently opened downhill-only mountain bike trail near Spring Creek in July. It allows riders to speed down and catch air off rock features without worrying about uphill traffic.
Derek Maiolo/file

Editor’s note: This information was previously published in the 2019 Steamboat Springs Bike Guide.

Season: Mid-May through mid-October

Know before you go: This classic ride from downtown Steamboat Springs is a local favorite. The trail weaves back and forth over Spring Creek and through aspen forests with about a dozen bridge crossings. It can be combined with the new rollercoastery Spring Creek downhill only trail, whose lowermost section was recently completed, and up-and-back down (note: please yield to all other trail users); a loop connecting Buffalo Pass Road, also known as Routt County Road 38; or tied in to such upper Buff Pass rides as Panorama, Flash of Gold and more.

Parking: From downtown Steamboat Springs, head north under Fish Creek Falls Road from the Old Town Hot Springs parking lot. Follow the dirt path to where it intersects Amethyst Drive. The trail, which starts as a dirt road (Routt County Road 34), is directly across the street. If driving, park your car here.

Rating: More difficult 

Description: Begin pedaling up the dirt road. Keep an eye out for cars, people and dogs and stay to the right. The road turns to a double track after a half mile. Follow this double track up above Spring Creek Park, which features two ponds and a gazebo. The first bridge crossing will be in about a half-mile. Stay on this doubletrack for another mile until the trailhead sign. At the sign, climb up a short steep hill to the left and take the immediate right. This is the beginning of the singletrack and the official beginning of the Spring Creek Trail. 

The trail will cross back and forth over the creek until reaching the summit at Dry Lake, 5 miles later. The terrain is mostly hard-packed dirt but does have sections of rocks, roots and loose gravel. It is a continuous climb with many short steep pitches. The trail is not very technical in nature — save for one burly headwall — but the climbs require physical fitness with a total elevation gain of 1,200 feet.

Upon reaching the top, turn around and enjoy the beautiful ride back down on the new, downhill-only trail directly adjacent or extend it with a ride onto Flash of Gold, Panorama or other Buff Pass trails. Be careful, this trail is one of the most popular in Steamboat, so encounters with other riders, hikers, dogs and equestrians are inevitable. High-speed, downhill riding is not appropriate on this multi-use trail.

Spring Creek Downhill-Only Trail: New for 2019 is Spring Creek’s downhill-only trail, designed to alleviate conflicts with uphill hikers. Access this uber-flowy, undulating obstacle course from the top of Spring Creek, near the Flash of Gold junction and hold on for the ride through a series of purpose-built ramps, rollers and more. Hint: One section serves up some exposure to the creek below, so don’t look down.

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email

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