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Emerald Mountain Advanced Loop

 13 votes

Length

9.0 Miles 14.5 Kilometers


95%

Singletrack

Elevation

1,488' 453 m

Ascent

-1,489' -454 m

Descent

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

32%

Max Grade (18°)

8,184' 2,495 m

High

6,713' 2,046 m

Low

Conditions


Unknown

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A great expert tour of the Emerald Mountain area with nice views and flowy singletrack.

Mike Ahnemann

Overview

This is a clockwise loop of the trail system that climbs to the top of the trail system and hits most of the highlights along the way. It's a surprisingly good set of trails, considering you can pop up to this area just a block from town.

The trails are generally flowy and mostly smooth, although there are some rocks and more challenging sections, both uphill and downhill, along the way.

You'll climb up the southeast side of the system, work your way to the top, then cruise mostly downhill back to where you started on fast, flowy singletrack.

Need to Know

You're likely to encounter lots of trail users, including equestrians, hikers, dogs, and plenty of other riders. Be courteous, and watch those blind corners on the enticing descents.

Description

Get to the trailhead by following 5th street over the bridge across the river from town, then head right at the intersection and park anywhere in the complex. You'll see the rodeo grounds, stables, and baseball fields here.

This ride starts up the Lupine Trail. Lupine starts just a short distance up from the base of the trail system, off Bluffs Loop. As of June 2014, the start is unmarked, and the entire lower section is fairly difficult to follow, with several unmarked trails branching off at different points. Use the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app to find the start, and as you follow the trail, it becomes easier to stay on course.

The trail climbs the entire way, but it's never particularly steep. It flows nicely back and forth through nice lush vegetation and Aspens. In many spots it flows so well, you'll think it would make a much better descent than a climb. However, it's most commonly ridden uphill, so descending would require many stops for uphill riders.

As you reach higher elevations, the trail pops out to the ridge line, serving up expansive views back out over the valley to town and the ski area in the distance. The last third of the trail is slightly rockier and more technical, but never too challenging.

You'll meet up with Little Moab trail for a short, but steeper, more technical climb. Grind up that, and find a spot for a snack if you desire, before setting out on the second half of the climbing.

Next, look for the Quarry Mountain trail almost directly across the doubletrack / dirt road from Little Moab. This trail trends steadily uphill. It's mostly easy climbing on nice smooth singletrack, although it gets slightly steeper as you get closer to the end. About 3/4 of the way through the trail, the forest opens up with beautiful alpine scenery and widely spaced Aspens that make for nice views behind you to the north.

The trail pops out at the dirt road (Ridge Connector) which you could ride to the top of the ridge, but that's not recommended. Instead, take a quick right to follow Root Canal. This short trail is super fun. It runs along the ridge, but it's just down off the ridge and in the trees. There are a few short punchy climbs and some rocky / rooty sections, but it's all rideable.

Next, bomb down Stairway to Heaven, but be careful up top. This trail descends quite sharply at first from Root Canal, with a loose trail surface that makes you want to stay back behind your saddle. It then mellows out a bit, and becomes super fast and flowy along the second half of the trail. There are lots of side options along the way, including Abby's and No Mo Bluez.

Ride a brief section of Prayer Flag Road, but make sure to look for MGM on your left - the highlight of the ride. You'll wind down through aspens and lush fern forest on skinny smooth, flowy singletrack. Break out into open meadow and make big sweeping turns with great views of town and mountains to the east.

You can either follow MGM to its end, or break things up by taking a right when you intersect Eye to Eye. This trail is unique in that it's covered with extremely dense, lush vegetation on both sides of the trail. It's so dense in spots that it's hard to see the trail surface, which ads to the challenge. It also curves back and forth with tons of switchbacks along the way.

Next, grab Orton Trail, a smooth, very skinny, and very fast and mostly straight descent through a meadow. It's too short for many more stars, but it's a good part of a longer ride.

Finish up by riding a short section of Blackmere Road downhill, then meet up with Mile Run to finish out the ride back to the bottom.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 3, 2017
Jason Newcomer
Way lost on the trail. Sweet dirt though! 13.7mi
Jul 22, 2017
Greg Cahill
Jul 19, 2017
Ryan Hughs
34.2mi
Jul 8, 2017
Susan Ball
Jun 26, 2017
Nathan Larsen
May 29, 2017
Allen Tanner
May 16, 2017
Gina Robertson
Sep 17, 2016
Erik Soto
5h 15m

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Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 13 votes

#1347

Overall
  4.0 from 13 votes
5 Star
46%
4 Star
23%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
15%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#185

in Colorado

#1,347

Overall
32 Views Last Month
6,467 Since Jun 24, 2014
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For whatever reason the Molly's trail is left off of this. It is a much more interesting than Orton Meadow. Perhaps it is because a portion of Molly's is not on city land. Regardless, there is a three-way junction where Orton Meadows begins. Molly's is to the left and marked. Its a fast twisty downhill. It splits about midway down. I prefer the left hand trail. At the next intersection, if you take a right, you can cut back to Howelsen. Jun 30, 2014
Mike Ahnemann
Boulder, CO
Mike Ahnemann   Boulder, CO  
Cary- you're correct... we were asked to remove Molly's for now because it's not an official part of the trail system. Hopefully that we'll change, and we can add it back in. Jun 30, 2014

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