“A great beginner loop with big views and lots of singletrack.”
— Nick Wilder on Sep 6, 2013
OverviewIt's not often you'll find this much easy beginner singletrack way up in the rockies! This is a great ride for beginners ready to leave the bike path and try out "real" mountain biking. And everyone else should have a blast too!
DescriptionPark in the Keystone Gulch Trailhead and head up Keystone Gulch Road about 0.2 miles until you see a large beaver pond on the right. Just past the pond, there's a road that goes through the creek. You can ford the creek or use the nice bridge 50 feet upstream.
Now turn back in the downstream direction and hop on the trail. Pay attention and you'll see a diverted water stream flow into a pipe, and then you'll be riding right on top of it. Continue on very level easy terrain until you need to go around a cliff. The trail is skinnier here, and there are some wooden planks on top of parts of the exposed pipe for about 50 feet. If you're a total beginner, feel free to walk this section!
Turn the corner to big views of the distant Gore Range and continue to roll along this scenic trail until you hit Keystone Ranch Road. Head up the broad canyon on a trail next to Keystone Ranch Rd for a few hundred feet, but then, due to logging operations, get back on that dirt road for a couple hundred yards until you see singletrack branch off to the left again. You are now on top of an aqueduct and you follow this for over a mile.
You'll snake through neighborhoods and open hillside, sometimes directly in the aqueduct (where it's not contained in pipe). Surprisingly fun!
After the neighborhood ends, leave the aqueduct and climb gently uphill through a massive logging operation. In summer 2013, there were MASSIVE piles of dead lodgepole pines waiting to be burned. Kind of sad, but due to the hills and big mountains in the distance, it's surprisingly scenic.
When you're overlooking a historic homestead, you are at the junction of Soda Creek Trail and Red Trail. Take Soda Creek Trail down to the homestead, and continue pas on well-signed singletrack.
Ascend a series of boggy meadows. The trail is well designed and stays dry despite the marshy sections. Remember to turn around for great views of Quandary Peak (14,265') and other big mountains in the distant Ten Mile Range.
Reach a low saddle, pass through some moist, healthy forest, and then descend an open meadown on fun, flowy singletrack until you get to the Cove Trailhead in Summit Cove.
If you have energy left, climb the singletrack across the road, ascend a bit, then descend left back to the same road you just crossed (or just take that road for a bit). Look for the Swan Mountain Rec Path to the left, hop on it, and cruise back north/east until you get on the Snake River Path. Follow this through a golf course and look for a bridge to get across the river. You're now on Soda Ridge Road and just a short ways back to the car.
There are MANY ways to make this longer. Look at the map for more singletrack options as well as paved paths.
ContactsLand Manager: USFS - Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests Office
Nov 21 Forest Service Reminds Visitors that Clear Creek Ranger District has Suspended Christmas Tree Sales for 2013Summit Fat Tire Society
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