XC Mountain 2018-07-16T21:06:54+00:00

We Can’t Wait to See You On the Trails!

Please inquire about bike trail status with the Forest Service (970) 870-2299 or the Steamboat Springs Visitor Center (970) 879-0880


Steamboat Bike Park
Emerald Mountain Trail Network


Beginner Trails - ß
Intermediate Trails - ∆
Advanced Trails - ∑
Click on the + to see more information about the trail and to view the trail map.


Across the Valley from Mount Werner (Steamboat Ski Area) lies the town’s mountain biking crown jewel, Emerald Mountain. Accessible from the heart of downtown via the Yampa River Core Trail, Emerald offers a range of rides with more than 4,000 acres of public land and miles of connected natural surface trails to ride. Known for its smooth, tacky singletrack through wildflower-filled meadows and groves of aspen, shrub oak and pine, this is a must for every visitor. For longer rides, tie in a loop on the Ridge and Beall Trails off the backside. Also check out the Morning Gloria, NPR and Wild Rose trail for more mountain biking.

Parking available at the Rodeo Stables, Mile Run, Blackmere, and Cow Creek Trailheads

*Trails can get crowded at lunch and after work

Short climb to big views of the Yampa Valley. Access the trail at the Rodeo Stables Trailhead. Climb a short pitch on the Bluffs trail and then take a broad gentle loop through sage-covered hillsides with view of town, the Yampa River and the Steamboat Ski Area


A moderate climb to the Quarry overlook through aspen groves with a twisty, fun descent. Access the trailhead at the Rodeo Stables then ride up the Bluffs Loops-Howelsen Meadows-Ricky’s Ridge-Lupine-Emerald Meadows-Larry’s-Prayer Flag Road-Angry Grouse-Blair Witch. Stop and enjoy the views of Mount Werner and town at the Quarry overlook then head down Little Moab to either the new NPR directional trail or Lupine back to the Bluffs Loop.


Sting or bee stung. Follow the famed Honey Stinger race route for 25 miles of Emerald glory, from the Howelsen base up and over Emerald Mountain. At top, head down the Ridge Trail to Cow Creek Road, where you’ll take a left to the Beall Trailhead. Ride the Beall Trail back up and then head back down however you like (hint: try the new Wild Rose trail) back to the rodeo grounds.


Built by the local Rotary Club, this loop includes wide and smooth trails that wind smoothly through trees and down ridge lines with large berms and dirt rollers that can be pumped or doubled. This loop is designed to be exciting for the expert rider when ridden fast, yet easy for family riding.


The Beall trail recognizes the efforts of Ben Beall, the 13-year chairman of the Emerald Mountain Partnership who was instrumental in negotiating the land exchange between the State Land Board and the BLM in 2007.  The Beall Trail offers views of Rabbit Ears Pass, the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and surrounding ranch land. You’ll meander through open meadows, pine forests, aspen groves and the beautiful gamble oak forest that is so prevalent on Emerald Mountain. The trail is non-technical singletrack with a gentle grade.


* Both the Ridge and Beall trails can be linked together from their respective trailheads on Cow Creek Road for a 13-mile loop, 11.5 of which are on great singletrack. For the easiest climbing, head up Beall and down Ridge. You can also add in the Rotary Trail for an additional loop.

The Ridge Trail is another recent addition to the amazing network of trails on Emerald Mountain. Located on the backside of Emerald, it offers stunning views and smooth, tacky riding, with the options to link longer rides, via either the Rotary Trail toward the bottom, or Beall Trail.


* Both the Ridge and Beall trails can be linked together from their respective trailheads on Cow Creek Road for a 13-mile loop, 11.5 of which are on great singletrack. For the easiest climbing, head up Beall and down Ridge. You can also add in the Rotary Trail for an additional loop.

With its whopping 35 switchbacks, or one for every 0.12 miles, this 4.25-mile has become an instant Steamboat classic whose quad-friendly gradient makes it one of the easiest ways up to the top of Emerald Mountain.

(Note: It was built in just two months thanks to Routt Country Rider’s new trail-building machine.) Access it by riding up Lower Lupine, and then taking a left at the well-marked trailhead sign. Traversing the east side of Emerald Mountain, its silk-smooth singletrack leads 848 vertical feet up through arching scrub oak caverns, platoons of pine trees and fern-filled aspen groves marred by bear claws back and forth up Emerald Mountain. Upon reaching the top at the junction of the Quarry Mountain and Root Canal trails, you can turn around and enjoy the smooth, flowy and fern-filled ride back down or ride any number of alternate routes back down Emerald Mountain. lt has also become a favorite way to access longer rides up and over Emerald on the Ridge and Beall trails.


The new 1.5-mile Wild Rose trail features an average grade of 3 percent and provides a direct connection to the Beall and Ridge Upper trailhead from the front side of Emerald. Riding up, access it about a third of the way up No Mo’ Bluez from the bottom of the Stairway to Heaven climb. From the top, access it just north of the two-track across from the Ridge and Beall trail junction. Perfect for riding up or down, it gives riders a pure singletrack option to access the back side of Emerald. Plus, it puts you in one of the best aspen groves in town.


No Pedaling Required (NPR) is another great addition to frontside riding on Emerald. This flowy, rampy and jumpy one-way trail down Emerald between Blackmere Drive and the Orton property line lives up to its name, letting you coast the entire way once you have it wired. It also reduces conflicts between trail users while giving cyclists a better route to the bottom of Emerald. It has four distinct sections: 1) the stretch from its start just up Blackmere Drive from the bottom of little Moab to Prayer Flag Road; 2) the longest stretch between Prayer Flag Road and Blackmere; 3) a section leading from Blackmere across from the start of Larry’s Trail to the road’s saddle near the start of lower lupine; and 4) a final shorter, lower section leading to near the top of Howelsen Ski Area. If you like smooth, man-made berms and table tops (that you don’t necessarily have to air out), this trail’s for you.



The Buffalo Pass and Spring Creek areas offer a different view of the singletrack Steamboat Springs has to offer. With a rapidly developing trail network in Buff Pass, it is opening up new terrain for those seeking a little more mountain biking adventure with their riding. Spring Creek is an all-time Steamboat classic featuring fast, flowing singletrack, wooden bridges over the flowing creek, downhill-only shuttle option, or depart up the trail right from town. There is also a dog park for your four legged friend to get some exercise in before or after your ride.

‘Panorama’ bike trail is now open on Buffalo Pass.  The trail is a 1-mile loop which begins (and ends) near the top of the Spring Creek trail, just down from the parking lot.  It is a beginner-level trail that features a gradual grade, and 360 degree vistas at the top.


There is a ‘Flash of Gold’ in the fall when the aspens change colors. This trail takes you through several flashes of gold during the fall. It can be done as an up and back down, or a loop connecting Buffalo Pass Road (Routt County Road 38), or BTR.


This classic from downtown 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 done as an up and back down, or a loop connecting Buffalo Pass Road (Routt County Road 38).


If you have time for one high alpine ride in Steamboat, make it this one. This rolling, scenic trail, once the route for Ride4Yellow, is a classic Steamboat epic, 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. Your car will be left at Dumont Lake, with the ride ending back in Steamboat. Check with local bike shops for trail conditions, and be aware of early season snow and/or fallen trees.


Other Trail Options in this Area

Dumont Lake to Summit Lake on Trail 1101: Descend Buffalo Pass Road to Dry Lake. Ride Spring Creek Trail down into town.

Dumont Lake to Fish Creek Falls Trail: Same directions as Mountain View Trail, but stay on Fish Creek Falls Trail for arguably the most technical descent in the Steamboat area.

Base Camp Road toward Base Camp: Turn left on Trail 1101 and ride back to your vehicle on the singletrack. Easier 8-mile loop, no shuttle required.

Climb Steamboat Ski Area: Use Mountain View to access Divide Trail to Summit Lake and descend Buffalo Pass Road to Spring Creek or Mountain View to Fish Creek Falls Trail.

A 50-mile loop that includes a steady climb up US Highway 40 toward Rabbit Ears. At the top, the singletrack starts near Dumont Lake and follows the Divide Trail to Buffalo Pass. Then it is mostly downhill to the Spring Creek Trail which finishes back in Steamboat Springs. This is a great loop, but start early. Strong riders should plan to be out for 6 to 7 hours. Start anywhere in Steamboat Springs; an early morning pre-ride coffee shop is a good place to start. Head east on US Highway 40 (there is a 3-4 ft shoulder all along the highway up Rabbit Ears Pass), and it is a nice consistent climb up to the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass.

*This loop traverses some very remote areas without cell phone coverage and with few trail users so be prepared to be self-sufficient.

Fish Creek Falls (USFS Trail #1102) starts at a junction with Divide Trail and Mountain View. The upper end of the route is easier, rolling through forest and open meadows on a gradual descent. The lower reaches of the trail are more rocky and technical, resulting in some challenging (sometimes hike-a-bike) sections. Fish Creek Falls is often ridden as a shuttle, and you’ll see a mix of xc and full-face helmets and bikes.



With southern exposure and quickly draining granitic soils, the hot springs area trails dry out early and offer the longest trail riding season of all the trails in town. Mad Creek is popular with hikers and their dogs. Please ride carefully and remember to yield the trail to hikers. Also be aware of horse use in this area during the early riding and hunting seasons. Please yield the trail to horses. The Red Dirt Trail has some north-facing slopes and does not melt out as early as the rest of the trail system. Do not ride into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area, or you could be ticketed.

This loop climbs from the Mad Creek parking area up to the historic barn. look for the Swamp Park Trailhead sign on your left. Climb through aspen and lodgepole forests before descending the steep and technical Red Dirt Trail. A short spin along the road returns riders to the trailhead.

These trails all link up essentially at the top of the Mad Creek trail, and offer a little something for everyone. From here, riders can follow the meandering trail by the historic barn and bordering a gorgeous alpine meadow to the Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary, over to the Red Dirt Trail (see above), or across Mad Creek onto double track and loop back to either the Hot Springs Trail or the Mad Creek trailhead parking lot. No matter your route, you’ll likely see birds of prey, deer or elk, fox and other wildlife. You’ll also encounter other trail users, so ride under control. The long locals’ ride starts in town, rides out Strawberry Park Road to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, down the Hot Springs Trail, up Mad Creek, down Red Dirt, then back up Hot Springs (for a postride soak) and finally back into town. Note: The Forest Service and Routt County Riders recently finished a re-route of a portion of the Hot Springs Trail to fi x an erosion problem. Note: Mandatory winter closure for trail and parking lot Dec. 1 – April 15 to protect winter range habitat.


This trail is good as an out-and-back from the Mad Creek trailhead, or as a one-way on a longer ride. There are indeed hot springs and pools open year round near the start of this trail, and you can drive there as well.


From the Mad Creek Trail, go back down the road a quarter mile and look for a dirt road heading east and uphill. There are confusing private property signs here, but the road is the correct public access point (just don’t go off it). Pass two cattle gates and leave them closed behind you.

Past the gates, follow the road up a steep, steady, hot, and exposed climb. It’s smooth, so just grind it out and it gets prettier and easier as you get near the top. Pass through a beautiful meadow, then through a pass and down the other side in to Mad Creek. This second section is more lush and more enjoyable riding. You’ll end with a bridge crossing that connects to the trail.


Break out your energy bar. This Forest Service trail starts out with a bang, without much warm up. Beginning at an elevation of roughly 7,600 feet, the trail heads north at first, before turning east and climbing the scrub oak filled hillside with a series of switchbacks. After 1.6 miles, or about half an hour, you’ll reach the old Two-Track Trail, which is even steeper. Turn left and climb another 0.4 miles (2 miles from trailhead) to the overlook at the top of a saddle and a commanding vista of the Yampa Valley. From there, the trail rolls northeast before contouring across a rocky outcrop and descending to its junction with 4WD Elk Park Road at mile 2.9. The trail ends at a meadow called Elk Park. Turn right on the road and you can descend all the way back to Strawberry Park Road at mile 4.8, where a right turn and short road climb takes you back to your car. You can also head back the way you came on Lower Bear.



All the trails in this area are shared with equestrians, hikers and motorcyclists, so ride with respect. Also, hunters use this area in the fall, so wear bright colors. This area was heavily hit by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and while tree clearing had been extensive in years past, it is ongoing. In early season, many trees may be across the trails. Please report any new downfall throughout the season.

Without the downed trees, this would still be a big adventure for most riders, despite the fact that it’s only 15 miles of riding. It’s remote, not frequently traveled, and subject to weather in the afternoon. However, it’s also incredibly unique, with several completely different ecosystems you’ll travel through along the way. This is a relatively accessible way to get a remote MTB experience in the wilderness.

Be prepared on this ride. You’ll need plenty of water, food, and probably rain gear. Afternoon thunderstorms are probable. You’re not likely to see many people along the way, and there aren’t many bailout points. This isn’t for inexperienced riders.


The first part of the trail heading this direction starts with a boggy area with muddy stream crossings. The trail is overgrown a bit, but never hard to follow. It’s hard not to look around you - the scenery is incredible with Hinman Lake on your left, a maze of burned trees still standing, and whistling when the wind blows, and generally green and lush looking ground cover.



Cycling State Parks

All Three State Parks require a day use Park Pass for $7/day or a valid Colorado State Park season pass. Convenient parking, picnic areas and restrooms are available at all three parks.


Eight miles of trails await at Stagecoach State Park. Two trails skirt the lake in a scenic, easy-to-ride dirt track. On the north side is the two mile Lakeside Trail and on the South Shore is the 6 mile Elk Run Trail from the inlet to the dam. Join the two for an 8 mile ride, or complete the loop by riding on Routt County Road 18 before taking a refreshing plunge into the lake.


Steamboat Lake State Park provides easy, scenic biking for the whole family, with views of the Zirkel Wilderness Area. Ride the Willow Creek Trail from the Dutch Hill Marina 3.8 miles to the Sage Flats Day Use area, or try the 1.1 mile Poverty Bar Trail, which highlights the area’s gold mining history (access from the visitor’s center). The park also offers camping, beaches, boat rentals and more.


Pearl Lake has beautifully shaded trails and a great access point to Coulton Creek Trail. This easy ride is less than a mile toward the dam, paralleling the lake. Continue on for a more difficult route through the Routt County National Forest. The park also offers paddleboard rentals for a swim after your ride, picnic areas, camping and restrooms. Campsite reservations encouraged.

Great mountain bike riding beckons from every corner of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. From quicker in-town rides on Emerald Mountain and other close rides on city-owned trails, to the extensive network of Forest Service trails in surrounding Routt National Forest, our riding has never been better. We are continuing to expand, new trails developed yearly, stay tuned!


Held on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer riding season, Steamboat’s Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series brings out riders of all abilities for everything from hill climbs to cross-country events. Kicking off  June 7 at Marabou Ranch, the series offers 24 different categories, from pro/ open to three different age groups for men’s and women’s expert, sport and novice divisions. It also offers kids and even single-speed categories.