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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 40 mi (64.4 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,890/1 ft
Total: 106 riders
 

Mountain Biking Emerald Mountain

****   Add a review
#66 of 1,322 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#603 in the world

Incredible variety of trails with easy access to downtown. The lower trails tend to be steep and exposed but once you get up above 7500 feet the Aspen and ferns take over and yield some of the best singletrack around. Trails are fairly well signed but it's a good idea to bring a map so you don't miss anything. Be sure to hit Blair Witch, Quarry Mountain, and Hudson - these are great trails! Also known as Howelsen Hill Trail System.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
Take 5th street heading south/west from downtown and cross the river. Several parking areas near the ski area.
System trails (12)
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Emerald Mountain Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail checkins

Rick Plite (on Sep 21, 2019)
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Good (on Sep 21, 2019)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Steamboat Springs, Colorado

***
Beginner | 4 mi
*****
Intermediate | 5 mi
****
Intermediate | 5 mi

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Reviews

  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Lupine:
    ***

    Quite good to use to climb up the mountain - the gradient is quite well controlled so you won't stretch your chain!

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Ridge Trail:
    ***

    The Ridge Trail is generally combined with Beall and Rotary Trails to make up a circuit. The three of them are on the back of Emerald Mountain. Don't think of them as bike park trails - they're back-country semi-wilderness trails, traversing woods and meadows. There is about 1200 feet of altitude change - either a relentless climb or a non-stop descent. Most people ride up Beall and down Ridge with a detour round Rotary. I wrote a fuller review of the circuit under the Beall Trail...

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  • Jim Cummings
    Reviewing Beall Trail:
    ***

    Typically, the Beall trail is ridden in a circuit with the Ridge Trail and the Rotary Trail. The three of them are on the back of Emerald Mountain and make for a good circuit of about 15 miles with over 1200 feet of altitude gain and loss. They link into the Emerald Mountain bike park at the summit. Nevertheless, this is a back-country ride traversing forests and meadows. Most people drive the 8 miles from Steamboat Springs to the trail-head on Co Rd 45 and ride from there. You start by riding a mile or so further along Co Rd 45 from the trail-head, then you ride up Beall to the summit, and down the Ridge Trail back to the trail-head, with a detour around Rotary.

    These are cross-country, semi-wilderness trails - don't look for bike park features like swooping berms, jumps, rollers, etc. They usually get a grade 3 (intermediate) rating and they're non-threatening but they're steeper and narrower than intermediate riders will be used to. They make a good training ride - long enough and with enough climb to give a sense of achievement... There are panoramic views from the summit. The descent is fast and fun - but you have to stay focused because these are narrow trails.

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  • Jim Cummings
    ***

    I rode a series of trails that included Lupine going up and NPR going down. The standout trail was NPR, a well designed down-slope intermediate flow trail - very feature-rich with lots of little table tops, bermed switchbacks and rollers. It's one and a half miles of fast flowing fun.

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  • OKIDOKI02
    Reviewing Bluffs Loop:
    ****

    Great beginner ride. Was my first trail ever and it was a lot of fun. Pretty steep incline for a beginner but fun!

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  • kuala_tahan
    Reviewing Beall Trail:
    *****

    Mellow, beautiful, smooth climb up. Climb this, then descend Ridge/Rotary. That whole loop rocks, just fast, supremely flowy singletrack.

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  • nickesares
    Reviewing Rotary Trail:
    *****

    This is a short trail that is best worked in at the end of a longer day on emerald, descending down the ridge trail. You will also ride some of it to get to the ridge trail. I connected with the end of this trail from ridge, and think the descent is one of the finest pieces of single track in Steamboat. A very flowy, super tight, super fun rollercoaster. Road it in mid June with waste high wildflowers. Good dirt and nice berms in spots on this is mostly cross country downhill. Would definitely recommend it after to finish out the ride. The views are also fantastic with a lot of ridge exposure and less trees compared to the front side of Emerald

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  • nickesares
    Reviewing Ridge Trail:
    *****

    I road this trail up and down when the Beall Trail was closed on a day of riding all over Emerald. Everything said this was a trail better for descending and to ride the Beall trail up, so I was worried this may not be great for climbing, however I thought it was an awesome climb. Nothing really too difficult at all. No insanely steep spots at all. A little bit of gravel but nothing terrible. Kept waiting for the really hard part, but it never came. The downhill was great as well. The views in my opinion are better than the from side of Emerald because there are less tress and more exposure.

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  • Lunagirl
    Reviewing Rotary Trail:
    *****

    Beautiful gradual climb, counter clockwise, downhill is twisty turn fun!! Exposed and hot, ride in am hours or pm.

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  • ranchero7
    ****

    Great option for 1-2 hour rides from town. Super fun! Short season due to mud/snow. Really snotty slippery when wet.

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  • hucktoflat
    Reviewing Ridge Trail:
    ****

    Fun and fast trail, I'd give it a 5 if the tighter corners of the trail had better berms. Descending with speed can lead to heavy braking in those corners, which are also a bit loose. Great trail otherwise, leading to a nice climb back up Beall.

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  • gregval
    Reviewing Beall Trail:
    *****

    Reroad this trail (loop with Ridge and Rotary) again. Still amazing; smooth uphill. The first 1.5 miles were a bit steeper, then mellowed to the top a bit. Ridge is great downhill. Added the rest of Rotary this time; what a loopy downhill.
    Started at the end of Rotary, road up CR45 first to get it out of the way.
    One of my fav trails in CO; great flowy smooth trails mostly, and very fun down.
    Don't miss it if in the "boat".

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  • Mac10Matt
    ****

    Not much to add from the other reviews, but I highly recommend climbing ALL the way to the top. The best downhill drops off from the top of the brutal jeep-trail climb. I also loved the little Moab climb.

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  • Groomster62
    Reviewing Beall Trail:
    *****

    The easiest way up Emerald Mountain. Make a loop with Ridge or make it a shuttle ride and ride the frontside trails to town, (Blair witch, mgm, Lupine, etc.) If you like to be on top of a mountain but you don't want to work hard for it, Beall is your trail. Smooth and flowy with limited obstacles.

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  • gregval
    Reviewing Ridge Trail:
    *****

    We descended it, after climbing the Beall Trail. Wow, sweet flowy singletrack. Few rocks or roots. Make sure to add in the Rotary loop, to add a mile or 2. Highly recommended for intermediate riders.

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  • gregval
    Reviewing Beall Trail:
    *****

    What a great flowy, smooth singletrack trail. We climbed it, in a loop with the Ridge trail and Rotary Trail. Nice climb of about 7 miles to the intersection with Ridge. Then a great downhill back to the CR 45. Highly recommended for those who like smooth, flowy singletrack.

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  • Greg Heil
    ****

    Emerald Mountain is a complex singletrack network that is accessible directly from downtown Steamboat Springs.

    When I stopped in one of the bike shops in Steamboat and asked for recommendations, I had one person tell me to "do all of Emerald Mountain, and then go from there." While it is easily accessible and it does house some good trails, I was left somewhat unimpressed with Emerald. Sure, there was some great riding, and you can knock out a 30-40 mile ride there, but in my opinion it doesn't hold a candle to the nearby high alpine riding.
    Still, compared to the greater bulk of mountain bike trails in the nation, I still need to give Emerald 4 stars. But there are much, much better trails in the area.

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  • Greg Heil
    Reviewing Ridge Connector:
    **

    While not much fun to ride for its own sake, this trail forms a crucial connector between the front and back sides of the mountain.

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