Trail of the Week: The Divide Trail
Continental Divide Trail/Mountain View Trail Dumont Lake to Steamboat Resort
Season: Late July/Early August through mid-October
Trail Rating: More difficult
Know before you go: This rolling, scenic trail is a Steamboat Springs classic, with moderate technical sections, buff singletrack and sweeping views. This trail is referred to by three different names (Wyoming Trail, Divide Trail and Trail 1101). Don’t be confused — they all lead to the same great place. You will need two cars or a shuttle driver (leave one car at Dumont Lake); the ride ends back in Steamboat. Check with local bike shops for trail conditions, and be aware of early season snow and/or fallen trees.
Parking: From Steamboat, take U.S. Highway 40 east for 20 miles over Rabbit Ears Pass. Turn left toward Dumont Lake. Pass the campground entrances, then turn left toward Base Camp (look for a large boulder in the middle of the road with a plaque). Park your car 300 yards up Base Camp Road on the right hand side.
Description: Look for the start of the trail on the opposite side of Base Camp Road. You will quickly come out onto the campground road. Continue straight on the campground road until you take a slight right onto Trail 1101 (Wyoming/Continental Divide Trail). Initially, the trail follows an old roadbed along an irrigation ditch. Head left after crossing a small creek, and begin your first steep climb. The trail rolls along, crosses another creek and deposits you on Base Camp Road 4 miles from the start. Turn left and climb for about 1/2 mile to Base Camp Trailhead. (Option: ride or drive rough 4WD Base Camp Road to this point to avoid the 4 miles of singletrack).
At the Base Camp Trailhead, begin a fun, twisty descent over many water bars. After the descent, you’ll cross a creek and a climb up to Fishhook Lake (a good spot for a snack). After riding along the east side of the lake, look for a left turn to continue on 1101 (don’t go to Lost Lake). More rolling terrain with a few rocky sections will take you past Lake Elmo and to an obvious four-way intersection, another great spot to regroup.
Turn left onto Fish Creek Falls Trail 1102, which leads downhill toward Long Lake. Stay right as you first approach the lake, and then continue onto Fish Creek Falls Trail 1102 (don’t go to Fish Creek Reservoir). Another 0.8 flat miles later, turn left and begin climbing Mountain View Trail 1032. The trail climbs a few loose switchbacks then rolls through the forest, then climbs again. At the top, take in gorgeous views across Rabbit Ears Pass. A couple more miles of rolling terrain takes you to Steamboat Resort. Head left on the resort’s dirt road to connect with Pete’s Wicked Trail to begin the descent. Then head right on Cathy’s Cut-off, right onto Sunshine Trail and left on the dirt road.
Other trail options in this area
1. Dumont Lake to Summit Lake on Trail 1101. Descend Buffalo Pass Road to Upper Flash of Gold, Grouse or BTR trails to Dry Lake. Take Spring Creek Trail down into town.
2. Dumont Lake to Fish Creek Falls Trail. Same directions as Mountain View, but stay on Trail 1102 Fish Creek Falls for arguably the most technical descent in the region.
3. Base Camp Road towards Base Camp. Turn left on Trail 1101, and ride back to your vehicle on the singletrack. Easier 8-mile loop, no shuttle required.
4. Climb Steamboat Resort. Then take Mountain View to access Divide Trail to Summit Lake and descend Buffalo Pass Road (via Flash of Gold, Grouse or BTR) to Spring Creek, or Mountain View, to Fish Creek Falls Trail.
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.
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In an effort to connect better with their voters, Steamboat Springs City Council members will begin tabling at Ski Free Sundays, which are every Sunday at Howelsen Hill.