Loop is a great option for a longer ride near Steamboat. The route is accessed from Cow Creek on the backside of Emerald Mountain.
can easily be ridden as a great separate 4-mile loop, it shares a short section with Ridge
. It is not closed during calving season.
- Ridge Rotary
Loop starts with a short warm up on Cow Creek Rd from the trailhead at the bottom of Ridge
. The dirt road is mostly flat and well-packed.
Look for a trailhead on your left after a couple of miles. Pass through the gate and bear right onto Beall
. The lower reaches of the trail start in open and shrubby vegetation, transitioning to dark evergreen and mature aspen forest. The route climbs steadily but not overly steep. Halfway through, the Beall
crests a lower ridge and provides a short downhill.
From here to the intersection with Ridge
, the route contours and climbs gradually to the top of Emerald Mountain. Near the summit, there are fantastic sweeping views to the south and west.
Stay left at the top of Emerald Mountain to continue the ride on Ridge
. From here you can also add mileage with some of the front side trails on Emerald Mountain and Howelsen Hill.
Get ready for a fantastic part of the ride! Ridge
runs from the top of Emerald Mountain all the way down to Cow Creek. It's a rowdy and fun adventure.
At the top intersection with Beall
drops initially with one quick climb and then a sweeping right-hand turn through a high meadow. From here to the bottom, the trail descends steadily along a fenceline, crossing an old doubletrack several times.
The trail travels through tight vegetation, mostly oak brush. Be advised, some of the bends in the trail are blind so balance speed with safety.
Every once in awhile the canopy breaks and you'll be treated to amazing views of the surrounding Western Slope landscape.
Towards the bottom of the route, pass the first intersection with Rotary
to maximize the descent. Turn right at the lower intersection.
begins with an easy climb, twisting and turning its way through oak brush and across sage meadows. To do Rotary
only start up Ridge
to the right then left on Rotary
for a great little loop.
At the top of the climb, Rotary
intersects with an upper connector to Ridge
. From here Rotary
transitions to a more gravity-style experience with banks, berms and rollers.
After the last series of rollers, the Rotary
transitions across a large flat meadow and crosses a large boardwalk. The final bit of trail runs along the hillside above Cow Creek back to the start of the route.