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Level: Intermediate
Length: 16 mi (25.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: One-way
Elevation: +980/ -2,030 ft
Total: 68 riders

Mountain Biking CDT / Wyoming Trail #1101: Dumont Lake to Buffalo Pass

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#24 of 1,353 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#145 in the world

The Continental Divide Trail, also known as Wyoming Trail and Trail #1101 in this area, runs for 15 miles one-way from Dumont Lake (near the Rabbit Ears and Hwy 40) to Buffalo Pass.

Starting off as a doubletrack, the tread quickly narrows into singletrack. This section of the CDT passes through numerous high-alpine meadows, bursting with wildflowers of all colors of the rainbow. Every mile or so (it seems) the trail passes a high alpine lake, natural, clear, and isolated from civilization.

The trail tread itself is good dirt, and is filled with plenty of rocks-some sections of which are downright difficult. There are a few short climbs and descents, but for the most part this section of the CDT runs along the divide and doesn't gain or lose significant elevation. Still, despite the overall lack of climbs, the high elevation and multitude of rocks make this a strenuous climb.

Shuttle Route:
To do this trail as a shuttle (see GPS Map), get a ride up to Dumont Lake near Rabbit Ears Peak. Start the ride by heading north from there on the Continental Divide Trail/Wyoming Trail #1101. Ride the CDT for about 8 miles, and turn left onto the Fish Creek Falls trail. Loop around Long Lake, and then take a left onto Mountain View. Ride the Mountain View trail for 6 miles to the resort, and then there are a myriad of options to descend. I descended on Pete's Wicked Trail, then dropped into Moonlight, and finally picked up the Valley View trail, which leads all the way to the base of the mountain. From the base, pick up the bike path which drops down to Highway 40, and the other side of 40 pick up the Yampa River paved greenway trail, which leads all the way back into Steamboat Springs.

Ride Description from Buffalo Pass:
This trail is a delight for those who desire fast, generally smooth and rolling single-track with a smattering of climbing and technical sections. I started my day at the Buffalo Pass trailhead (about 15 miles out of town). After a short climb the trail levels out and trends downward over the next 7 or 8 miles. The trail is a mixture of smooth, cool forest sections, short uphills, and overall very fast riding. The atmosphere is surprisingly lush through here, and at times it feels like you are in a rain forest because the trees are so full and tight.

When you get to the 4-way intersection, you can take a short rest, then head west on the Fish Creek Falls trail. You will pass a large lake and soon you will find a split in the trail. You want to take the left fork to do the Mountain View Trail. This section begins with a long, gradual climb (you will be near or at 10,000í for much of this trail) but it is fairly easy and the trail is smooth (coming back down makes it worth it!). Once this portion of trail levels off, you have another nice mixture of fast single-track, with some small climbs thrown in to keep you honest. There is very little technical riding necessary, although there are a few tricky spots. After one series of switchbacks uphill and one series down, you will begin the final ascent to the ski area. Once you reach the top, you owe it to yourself to ride a few hundred feet west to the big chair lift and take in the view from the top! You will be looking down on the town of Steamboat. You are now about 15 miles into the trail! Time to head back.

You will return the same way, taking the Mountain View Trail back down (mostly downhill) to the Fish Creek Falls trail and head back uphill to the lake. To save time I opted to ride about half way up the lake and take a left turn on the forest service road and follow that for several miles to another split, at which time I took a right. You will soon find a gate, and another lake. Continue to follow this road for 5 or 6 miles in an uphill climb that will probably have you wondering just how far uphill this road can take you? After one last hill near the radio tower you will crest and descend back to the parking lot. Optionally, you could return the exact same way you rode out (on the single-track). I chose the rode because I was in a hurry to get back to town. It was MUCH quicker. I consider this loop one of the best rides Iíve been on, and if you like cross country riding Iím willing to bet you will too. I did see a fair number of hunters in the area, so you might want to wear some orange.

First added by Siberian on Sep 17, 2004. Last updated Apr 30, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Directions to Dumont Lake: Take Highway 40 east/south out of town, and drive up to the tops of the mountains. Turn left at the sign for Dumont Lake and drive to the Dumont Lake Trailhead. Directions to Buffalo Pass: From Steamboat, take 6th St. north, make a right on Missouri Ave. then a left on N. Park Ave. Take this north until it turns into Routt Co. 38. About 2 miles north you will hit a FR 60 on the right and a sign which points to Buffalo Pass. It is about 13 miles up to the pass.
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  • kuala_tahan

    Did the shuttle from Rabbit Ears and dropped into the resort. Great ride, can knock out some big miles without it feeling too killer. Some techie descents and climbs, some smooth rolling singletrack through alpine meadows. Overall an awesome ride.

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  • julesndenver

    This trail can be amazing or horrible. Rode it in 2014 over July 4th and there were large snow drifts and a ton of down trees. Writing the review only to recommend consulting local bike shop before riding so you don't have a bad time.

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  • Rvknight

    rode from Dumont CG to FIsh Creek Tr (FT 1102) and back appx 16 mi. Ride mostly smooth with some rocky sections and boggy meadow crossings. A lot of trees down from the winter, another rider reported trail crew working from Buff Pass so hopefully they will complete this section soon. The scenery is awesome with lakes and flowery meadows, no alpine vistas though.

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  • Groomster62

    Thanks to whoever cut the logs on the trail in the woody section. Man is it fun to cruise through there now. This a pretty short ride and is probably more famous as the first section of the epic Dumont ride to the back of Mount Warner.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    This trail is just fantastic! I love doing high-alpine rides, and this is just the ticket! The views aren't as awesome as those off of the Monarch Crest, but this trail is just different. Instead of hugging the side of a mountain, it runs through beautiful meadows full of gorgeous flowers and past crystal-clear high alpine lakes. Add to that the excellent dirt and rocks that you're riding over, and what's not to love?!

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  • tsnsteelersfan

    I took a different route but didn't want to enter an entirely new rails. My wife did me a solid and dropped me off at Dumont Lake campground. The Continental Divide trail cuts right through the campsite and you just hop on and go. The first mile or so is fast and flowy, but once you cross the creek/marshy area you hit the climbing and the altitude gets you! Beautiful trails with high alpine meadows and lakes. Connected up with the Fish Creek Falls trail for a few miles and then hopped on the Mountain View trail. Wow - beautiful and technical! Rode that trail to the top of the Storm Peak Express lift at Steamboat and then started poaching the downhill trails! Flew down Pete's Wicked trail, jumped on Cathy's Cutoff to the Sunshine trail. Very fast and pretty technical. Jumped on Elkhead, then poached both Upper and Lower Rustler Ridge. Wow! VERY fun downhill course. Wrapped up with EZ Rider to the base. Maybe it's epic with a lower case 'e,' but it was 24 miles, about 3.5 hours of actual saddle time with 2000 feet of climbing and 4700 feet of descending! Can't beat it!

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  • Grizzattack

    Lots of fun here and long miles, I had the wife drop me off near Buffalo Pass and I rode all they back to Steamboat. I cannot imagine this trail being free and clear of mud and snow untill at least mid-summer, unless it was a poor snow year.

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  • John Fisch

    I actually hit this route after coming from Rabbit Ears Pass via the Base Camp Trail. After hitting the Buffalo Creek trailhead, I headed back--over 38 miles, most of it over 10,000 feet--exhausting, but totally sweet. The woods here are so lush--I hit this on an unusually cold, misty day in August. I don't think the temp ever topped 55 degrees. There was a very cool fog/mist rolling through the hills for most of the ride, giving it a very Lord of the Rings feel. There are a few trails crisscrossing and my map was out of date, which made route finding a little sporty, especially since the fog obscured any landmarks. In any event, this is a true epic through truly special country.* Review edited 7/20/2008

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  • raleighman91

    WAY TO MUCH WORK I THOUGHT took alll day

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  • jcasson

    This is a great ride! If you really want to make an epic day out of it, start from town and climb the 11 mile buff pass road, then hit the trail as described, but descend Pete's Wicked Trail to Cathy's Cutoff to Sunshine to Valley View on the Steamboat Ski Mountain. Mileage is around 50 miles with 5000'+ of total elevation gain. We call it The BFR, which could mean Buff Road or Big F-ing Ride-Truly an epic!

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