Northwest - Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Ski Resort
Start elevation: 6,900 ft
Highest elevation: 10,372 ft
Total climb: 3,472 ft
Total miles of trails: 50
When the snow melts at Steamboat Ski Resort and the skis and snowboards get put into the closet for the summer, the bikes come out to play. Mt. Werner is the home of this western legend. Steamboat also referred to by locals as "The Boat" is home to some epic singletrack . The mountain is awesome and offers riding for all levels of ability. You may choose to summit without the help of a chair lift and if you do, the Zig Zag trail is the way up.
This trail climbs with just the right amount of incline to remind your ascending. Most trails on the mountain are two-way traffic so please be aware. You'll want to steer clear of the more difficult trails marked in black on the maps. These are best ridden down.
If the chairlift is your idea of climbing, once you pay your thirty dollars for the Gondola, unlimited use awaits. Just a quick note: the gondola is weather permitting. The mountain can close at any time due to weather and you are guaranteed at least one ride so ride early and ride often. The weather page can inform you more about just how quickly it can change at elevation. Once on top you will enjoy near 360 degree views of the Yampa Valley and the surrounding mountains. Trails of choice are the Sunshine to Cathy's Cutoff and Pete's Wicked. The Chisholm Trail is downhill only and worth a look from the Storm Peak Challenge, your highest point of the resort coming in at 10,372 ft. Huffman's and Valley View are also worth a look.
Moonlight from the gondola should also be ridden. The singletrack is great and very well maintained, the folks up here have put their shovels to work creating berms and cutting trails through Aspen groves and Evergreen tree forest.
There is abundant ground foliage and the trails roll right through these so don't look too far off the trail while descending. You will encounter roots and rock drops every so often also. Each trail has its own flow and rolls quite nicely from one to the other. If you do chair up, take plenty of water for the ride on the way up. You can plan your next descent while sipping a sports drink and checking the map to encounter the full mountain experience. There are bike rentals available at the base area for an hourly rate or day long rentals in town. When you complete the mountain mayhem, the resort offers plenty of places to refuel and regroup. You may also try going into Steamboat Springs for dining at the many establishments on S. Lincoln Rd. The Family Fun page can guide you.
Steamboat Springs to Rabbit Ears Pass
Start elevation: 6,900 ft
Highest elevation: 9,426 ft. *east side of pass
End elevation: 6,900 ft
Total climb: 2,526 ft
Total miles: 44 *east side of pass
Ride type: out and back
Steamboat Springs affectionately known as "The Boat" is a genuine Colorado town in every sense. The West is alive and well in these parts. Located in Northwest Colorado this area is home to more Olympic skiers than any other U.S town. Skiing is a way of life but when the snow melts; it opens up some amazing riding. To access this road ride there is a Trail Head located at the Intersection of Mt. Werner Road and HWY 40 aka. S. Lincoln Rd. on the southwest side of HWY 40. From here you roll out gently for three miles or so enjoying the Yampa Valley and the surrounding peaks. The shoulder is plentiful and clean with an occasional rumble strip to keep you on track. Once the ascent begins it's all up hill from there.
An average 7% grade for the next 10 miles will be in front of you. The valley floor will be in sight for some time as your climb continues. The road surface on the pass is excellent with pull outs and "chain up" areas for the big rigs in winter time. You may notice "Open Range" signs for the next 5 miles. Animal life is abundant up here with elk and deer and an occasional bovine on the pass itself roaming freely. You'll want to pay attention especially on the downhill.
Once the West side of the pass, elevation 9,400 ft. has been reached, approximately 13 miles in, the journey along the pass is gorgeous. Travel the additional 9 miles to the east summit to an elevation of 9,426 ft. for the full affect this ride has to offer. Catch a glimpse of the actual "rabbit ears", a rock formation for which the pass is named. There is a wide shoulder and parking area that you will be able to enjoy a snack and rest your legs if desired. Once your lungs fill back up and you catch your breath, head back the way you came and prepare to plummet. You'll want to hold on for this downhill till the bottom of the pass as you reenter the valley floor and cool down the 3 miles back to your car. Steamboat has plenty to offer when this ride is over.
There are plenty of fine eateries and watering holes for the whole family to enjoy on S. Lincoln Rd. Check the Family Fun page for all the details.