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Keystone Gulch to Soda Creek Loop

 4.3 (92)

16.0 Miles 25.8 Kilometers


70%

Singletrack

1,972' 601 m

Ascent

-1,973' -601 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

11,008' 3,355 m

High

9,296' 2,833 m

Low

Shared By Nick Wilder

Conditions


All Clear 45 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

A moderate dirt road climb leads to a sustained, scenic, fast singletrack tour of Soda Park.

Nick Wilder

Dogs Off-leash

Features -none-

Keystone Gulch Road is closed May 15-June 15 for elk calving.

Overview

A great singletrack descent with a modest price! Get all the climbing over with right away, it's not too steep... Then enjoy scenery, wildflowers, and great singletrack for many miles.

Need to Know

Though technically moderate (even bordering on easy), this ride has a sustained climb at very high elevation. Most people will find it aerobically challenging.

Description

Park at the Keystone Gulch Trailhead and immediately start climbing the dirt road right next to a stream. The grade is not too steep, and the surface is very smooth, so enjoy the views of the many beaver dams and pretty valley scenery.

At around 3 miles, you'll pass two lifts at the bottom of the Outback area of Keystone ski area. Shortly after that (at around 3.4 miles), there is a turnoff that crosses the stream and heads uphill. This is CO Rd 176, and your next turn.

Though it ascends 900 feet, this uphill section is spread over 3 miles and is never terribly difficult. There are several short steep parts, but then it has many sections of easier, rolling terrain which lifts your mood as you climb higher and higher.

There are many branch roads, but they're all obviously abandoned and it's easy to follow the main road.

Keep a sharp eye out near the top of the ridge. Turn right at a switchback, and look on the left for an area that looks like a camping spot. There you'll find unmarked singletrack heading out. It's very easy to miss this turn, so use the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app! If you miss the turn, you'll only go a quarter mile more before the road splits, then ends.

Follow this connector up a small hill and you'll soon run into the Colorado Trail. Take a right turn and enjoy several miles of awesome scenery and a flowing descent. This trail is extremely popular with bikers and hikers going in both directions. Be safe and courteous.

Once you reach a signed intersection with the Red Trail, take a right, and enjoy more spectacular singletrack. Wildflowers abound in the huge meadows, then enjoy a cool forest, and finally follow a creek and more meadows to the Soda Ridge Trail near an old homestead.

Follow the Soda Ridge Trail up and down small hills through recent logging operations. It's going to heal, but parts of this area are a bit torn up. You snake through neighborhoods and open hillside, sometimes directly in the aqueduct (where it's not contained in pipe). Surprisingly fun!

At the intersection with the Keystone Aqueduct Trail, turn right. 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 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!

Follow the trail just a little ways up Keystone Gulch. It will cross the creek, but if you go 100 yards further, you'll find a bridge to ride over and back to the road. Cruise down a quarter mile back to your car.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Oct 4, 2018
Ales Bata
I set out for my journey late afternoon and did not looked carefully into the map, climbing to Keystone Gulch and then West Ridge was never ending! 25mi — 2h 50m
Sep 30, 2018
Brian Huber
Perfect fall day to shred with Clem
Sep 25, 2018
Tom Hirschmann
Conditions are great, fast rolling and hard packed. Got stuck doing the downhill portion after sunset but still an amazing local loop. 15.5mi
Sep 23, 2018
Robert Williamson
Sep 22, 2018
Chöen Vogt
Sep 20, 2018
Alexander Schulte
Sep 15, 2018
Malone Camp
Sep 14, 2018
Tim C

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Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 92 votes

#50

Overall
  4.3 from 92 votes
5 Star
46%
4 Star
47%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#22

in Colorado

#50

Overall
191 Views Last Month
29,182 Since Jul 2, 2014
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
16%
63%
18%
3%
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The dirt road is a fairly steady but doable climb even for a flat-lander like myself. The switchbacks are pretty steep and can get pretty grueling if you're not in good shape. I hiked my bike half the way up the switchback section. The descent is a lot of fun and rewarding. Oct 2, 2017
The pedal up Keystone Gulch and on section of the West Ridge Loop will be grueling to start, but the climb will lead to a great endorphin high for the downhill section of the Colorado Trail after. The ride back to finish the loop will be fairly tame and level to round the day for a great workout. Nov 4, 2017
Ales Bata
Dillon, USA
Ales Bata   Dillon, USA
The best part is probably view at intersection with Red Trail, this part of downhill was the funniest part of the trip. Unfortunately, I set out for my trip late afternoon and did not check how long is initial climb up to the top of West Ridge. When I was down the Red Trail, it was completely dark and I had still a few miles to civilization. My mistake and fortunately enough I avoided any meeting with wild animals and got home safely, but I was freezing like hell. I am looking forward going here back, but next time I will leave much sooner and take warm clothese with me so that I can enjoy the views from the top and DH section (which is fun, but not technically demanding at all). Oct 5, 2018

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