Wait… Ski Season is almost over?? *DEEP BREATHS*
It’s OK, because in Steamboat Springs that only means one thing: It’s time to dust off those mountain bikes and hit the trails! The joy and excitement of the changing seasons can be felt everywhere here in Steamboat, because outdoor enthusiasts are eager to get outside and finally soak up that spring sunshine! As the snow starts to melt and the first signs of spring begin to appear on the mountainsides, everyone is in good spirits and ready to start practicing their summer sports and enjoying those longer days.
Early season riding can be incredibly limited as you start to get outdoors and the snow begins to melt. The City of Steamboat Springs cares a lot about the upkeep and maintenance of its local trailhead systems, and wants to ensure that both tourists and locals alike have the most up-to-date information. Please check out this Steamboat Springs Trail Map before you gear up and head out the door.
Check Out Our Top 4 Early-Season Mountain Bike Rides in Steamboat Springs, CO!
This easily accessible trail is located within the Steamboat Springs city limits. This is a super popular area in early-season, as the lower sections can dry out as early as the beginning of May! This trail features gorgeous aspens that wind around a babbling creek, and as you zoom past you can truly appreciate the natural beauty of the area. The City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Department is a great resource and even supplies a handy-dandy PDF of the trail Download Here for your convenience!
MAD CREEK TRAIL SYSTEM
The Mad Creek trailhead in Routt County is a pot o’ gold for the early-season mountain biker! From this main trailhead you can access Mad Creek Trail, Red Dirt Trail, and Hot Springs Trail! For early-season mountain biking, these trails can be truly ideal due the direct sun and lower elevation. Bike your way through aspens and pines as you experience some steep climbs and technical rocky sections. Make sure to lather on the sunscreen and bring plenty of water as you’ll be in the sun for most of these trail rides. For more information check out this website showcasing why Ski Town, U.S.A becomes Bike Town, U.S.A. in the Summer!
Due to the varying mountain faces, the front side of Emerald Mountain takes a little longer to dry out. However, if you’re looking for in-town, early-season mountain biking, the lower sections of Emerald Mountain can be ideal! These areas tend to dry out faster and can be super fun for early-season riding! For example, Bluffs Loop is a beginner loop that offers beautiful riding through aspen groves with breathtaking views of the Yampa River and the downtown area of Steamboat Springs. To experience some exhilarating downhill riding, check out lower NPR (which actually is an acronym for no pedaling required!) This technical trail has nearly 100 features including berms, rollers, and tabletop jumps. For more info, check out this PDF and the Mileage and Elevation sheet supplied by The City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Department.
ROTARY TRAIL – RIDGE TRAIL
The opposite side of Emerald Mountain can be a jackpot for early-season riders. Since the back side of Emerald faces mostly West, it is the first part of the trail system to dry out in the Spring. This means that you can have world-class mountain biking as early as April! All this in just a 20-minute drive from Downtown Steamboat Springs. On this side of Emerald, you can find Rotary Trail. This is a trail that has it all: steady climbs, gorgeous views, and fun downhill areas. You can always continue through Rotary on its own 4-mile loop, or choose to connect with the Ridge Trail to climb a bit higher and take in the sweeping views before turning around. Learn more about the Emerald Mountain trail system Here.