Mountain and Road Biking in Steamboat Springs Colorado

Published on 09/25/2017 by Brad Luth

Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA

Where to Bike in Steamboat

The Steamboat Springs area has no shortage of bikeable terrain, whether you prefer to stay on a road or venture onto expert-level mountain biking trails. Steamboat also boasts its own Olympic BMX track as well as a downhill mountain bike park at the Steamboat Ski Resort. No matter which terrain you choose, spectacular vistas await.

Here’s a brief area overview including biking of all types.

For a far more complete guide, visit: http://steamboatbiketown.com.

There you’ll find detailed maps and explanations of these routes and many more, as well as a PDF guide you can print out and take with you when you come to town. You’ll also have the opportunity to contribute to the Trails Endowment Fund, which was recently started by the city and several partners to ensure that area mountain and city trails remain in good shape. You can also visit www.mtbproject.com to download local mountain biking trails to your phone with maps, pictures, gps tracking and recent reviews.

Road Biking in Steamboat Springs and Vicinity

It’s a pleasure to bike around the City of Steamboat Springs. In fact, it was recognized as a gold-level biking community by the League of American Bicyclists. You’ll find a plethora of dirt and hard-surface trails as well as abundant bike lanes in most areas. US40 has a wide sidewalk from Pine Grove Road to Fish Creek Falls Road just before downtown.

The scenic Yampa River Core Trail runs for 7.5 miles along the river, from the end of Dougherty Road in the southeast of town all the way to Bear River Park on the west side just passed Shield Drive. Along the way, you’ll notice way-finding signs that will point you to various features as well as other trails. It’s the main artery for walkers and bikers through town, so it can get quite crowded. However, there’s no better way to explore the city and reach destinations downtown or on the retail corridor along US40 without getting in your car.

If you’re ready to take a less congested ride along our local roads, here are a few to get you started – from gentle loops through ranchland to a steady climb up Rabbit Ears Pass.

Cruising

Park at the Howelsen Hill Ice Arena just across the 5th Street Bridge. Then take a ride out to Catamount Lake and back via River Road and HWY131. It’s a quick 1-1.5-hour ride with a turnaround at the 530-acre private lake. Hungry? You can grab lunch at the Catamount Ranch Lake House, which is open to the public.

Want to cover a little more ground at the same skill level? There are a number of loops you can ride with CR14, River Road, as their center.

 

Moderate

If you’re looking to stay in town, you’ll want to park at the rodeo grounds and ice arena across the 5th Street bridge from downtown. From here, head down River Road for 1.5 miles, then take a left on Mount Werner Road. You’ll cross back over the river and head up Apres’ Ski Way for a solid climb up to Laurel Lane, which should get the blood pumping. Keep going up Laurel Lane to complete your first hill and check out the view.

Head back down to Mount Werner Road, then find Burgess Creek Road for another up-and-back that gets more challenging toward the top at the Thunderhead Ski Lift.

Steamboat Boulevard is a fun cruise with rolling hills that will prime you for a ride up to Fish Creek Falls via Fish Creek Falls Road.

If you’re game for more, you can take CR36 out to Strawberry Park for a soak in the hot springs before heading back to town.

Ready for a more rigorous climb and don’t mind riding on the highway? Head east on US40 and climb until you reach the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass. From here you can continue to the east summit or turn around and cruise back to town.

Want a little gravel while sticking close to town? Head west on 13th Street from downtown, which turns into CR 33, (Twentymile Road,) then head left on the dirt CR 43.

Continue to skirt Emerald Mountain and bear right on CR 41, which will take you down some steep terrain to the Hilton Gulch Schoolhouse.

Take a left on the pavement until you merge onto CR 35, then another left on CR 14, which brings you back to town.

 

Intense

Are you looking to conquer a Steamboat century? Here’s a 111-mile, 6-10 hour marathon with a total ascent of 6055 feet guaranteed to challenge even a highly-technical rider with supreme stamina. Grab some extra food and water because your first snack stop is at the 72-mile mark in Toponas.

Take US40 east over Rabbit Ears Pass, then head south to the Wolford Mountain Reservoir. If you need to, you can continue into Kremmling and head to the Mercantile for a rest stop.

Otherwise, take a right on HWY 134 and climb Gore Pass.

As you descend, you’ll come to HWY 131; take a right and head north through Toponas and Oak Creek back toward downtown Steamboat and a well-deserved rest.

 

Here’s a ranchland tour with a little bite to it.

Head west from downtown Steamboat on US40 and take a left on CR 27 at 19 miles. Be careful of coal trucks along here since if they’re fully loaded, they sure won’t be able to stop for you.

Ride another 18 miles through ranch country until you hit CR 33, where you’ll take a left.

Now it’s time to power up a couple steep climbs on your way back to town.

The whole thing is 52 miles long with a total ascent of 2825 feet and should take 3-5 hours.

 

That’s just a taste of the road and gravel rides that await you here in Steamboat. Complete the form at right to view a range of lodging options from Steamboat Vacation Rentals.

 

Freestyle and BMX Biking in Steamboat

 

Though Steamboat is known for mountain biking, we don’t skimp on high-flying freestyle terrain.

Bear River Bike Park

Here’s a place where the whole family can get in on the experience. Kids can hone their skills at the small pump track loop and gradually progress to larger and larger berms and jumps.

Meanwhile, adrenaline seekers can have at it on the expert jump lines as well as the larger and fiercer pump track loop.

Are there skaters in your crew? Bear River Park also includes a full-fledged skate park with rails and bowls that are sure to satisfy.

 

BMX Track

At the base of Howelsen Hill you’ll find Steamboat’s 980-foot-long BMX track complete with a steep start hill, doubles, step-ups, and an 8-pack rhythm section to test your timing. With its four switchbacks, you get four straights full of berms, mounds and rollers – enough to challenge even a pro while allowing new riders to get a feel for the thrill.

UCI-certified coaches can help beginners to get acclimated to the sport and seasoned riders to sharpen their chops.

 

Downhill Mountain Biking in Steamboat Springs

One of the benefits of vacationing at Steamboat in the summer is that you can use the gondola and lifts to bring you up the mountain, so all you have to do is make your way back down. You can either cruise down an uncluttered beginner trail or bomb down a berm-loaded expert trail with rollers that will have you aiming for the sky.

Steamboat Bike Park is a two-time Top Five Winner in the MTBparks.com Riders’ Choice Best Bike Parks Awards for the Rocky Mountain Region. It offers a 50-mile trail network that includes downhill-only flow and tech trails as well as multi-directional biking and hiking trails if you want to climb back up the mountain with your own two legs.

For the latest info on hours, trail status and bike rentals, as well as to purchase tickets, visit: https://www.steamboat.com/things-to-do/downhill-mountain-biking.

Mountain Biking Steamboat Colorado
downhill bike trails at the Steamboat Ski Resort

Mountain Biking in Steamboat Springs and Vicinity

Since 2013, organizations including Routt County Riders, The Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance and Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA have launched a major push to put Steamboat Springs on the map as an epic mountain biking destination. This has resulted in several trails opening over the last few years, and now, in 2017, an entire slate of top-tier trails is scheduled to open on Buffalo Pass in the summer and early fall with the rest completed in the summer of 2018.

mtn biking steamboat springs
They start early in Steamboat

Emerald Mountain

With this gem situated smack dab in the city, you’re a short ride away from a variety of terrain that will satisfy all but the most ardent thrill-seekers. Here are a few trails and loops to get you started:

  • Morning Gloria: A quick ride up lower Lupine and a left at the trailhead sign brings you to one of the easiest ways up Emerald. This 4.25-mile-long single-track with a whopping 35 switchbacks meanders 848 vertical feet up the east side of the mountain through a cornucopia of Yampa Valley vegetation including pines, aspens and scrub oak on your way to the top. From here, you can continue your ride on the intermediate Ridge or Beall trails or turn around for a smooth cruise back down.
  • Quarry Loop: Here’s a moderate climb from the rodeo stables that leads to the Bluffs loops, followed by a twisting descent that will get the adrenaline flowing.

Route: Howelsen Meadows>Ricky’s Ridge>Lupine>Emerald Meadows>Larry’s>Prayer Flag Road>Angry Grouse>Blair Witch. Catch your breath as well as the awesome views, then either head down Little Moab and complete your descent on the newest and most talked-about trail, NPR (No Peddling Required,) a fun romp that gives you as much as you can handle whether you’re intermediate or expert.

  • Stinger Loop: This intermediate-expert 25-mile loop follows the route of the famous Stinger race from the base of Howelsen up and over Emerald Mountain. From there, the Ridge Trail takes you down to Cow Creek Road where you can take a left to reach the Beall Trailhead. Ride that trail back up and choose your route back down; the Wild Rose Trail is another fun, new trail that will bring you back to the rodeo grounds.

Buffalo Pass (Buff Pass)

This area, accessed on bike via the Spring Creek Trail or by car on CR 38 (head toward Dry Lake campground), is currently being expanded with several trails scheduled to open in the late summer and early fall of 2017.

For the latest information, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mbr/recarea/?recid=82504#

With rapid progress on Buff Pass and plans to build additional trails in the Mad Creek and Rabbit Ears areas,  Steamboat Springs is well on its way toward cementing itself as a world-class mountain biking destination.

The season runs through October, and with construction being completed at a rapid pace, you’ll have access to more terrain than ever.

Book your mountain biking vacation today with Steamboat Vacation Rentals!