This ride links together a lot of great singletrack on the lower half of Emerald Mountain. It would be easy to make a much longer (or shorter) ride if desired, but plan ahead as the trail quality varies (in general, avoid the dirt roads).
This area is a dense network of short trails. They can be confusing, and the signage is sometimes okay, but not great. Plan on using the MTB Project mobile app
to keep you on the best trails.
From the parking area, head south of the Howelsen Hill ski lifts and look for wide singletrack heading uphill. This will become Bluffs Loop
which climbs up and gently goes up and down around a bench above the Yampa River. Views of the town and ski area abound. There are a couple rocks and slightly steep sections, but this is generally a low-intermediate trail. Take a left on the Overlook
Trail for more similar riding with great views.
Veer left on Howelsen Meadows
for some easy, flat cruising through more wildflower-filled meadow and left again on Ricky's Ridge
. Smooth and fun switchbacks gently climb up the mountain. The turns are a great place for beginners and intermediates to work on switchback skills - they're quite wide and great for practice.
Take another left on the beautiful Lupine
Trail and follow it for half a mile until you hit Blackmere Road
. Find Larry's
Trail directly across. Larry's
is a favorite trail and has a little bit of everything: meadows, aspens, flowers, expansive views, and great trail flow. This skinny trail is one of the best in the area.
Take a left on Prayer Flag Road
, pass a couple singletracks heading uphill, and you'll eventually find Blair Witch
. Enveloped in Aspen and Fern groves, Blair Witch
is a beautiful trail. The trail boasts some easy, flowing contour riding as well as a long boardwalk feature.
ends on a different section of Prayer Flag Road
, which you take to the right (downhill) a short ways until you find MGM
. You are now set up for a great descent. From the top (near a watering trough - make your dog happy!), wind down through aspens and lush fern forest on skinny smooth singletrack. Break out into open meadow and make big sweeping turns with great views of town and mountains to the east.
Finish on Orton Trail
with very skinny, and very fast descending until you hit Blackmere Road
, which you can follow a short ways back to the start.