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Keystone Gulch to Soda Creek Loop

Intermediate

Trail

16.0 mile 25.8 kilometer loop
70% Singletrack
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,972' 601 m
Descent: -1,973' -601 m
High: 11,008' 3,355 m
Low: 9,296' 2,833 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

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

Nick Wilder

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Keystone Gulch Road is closed to motor vehicles 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.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Oct 2, 2019
David Maurer
Trail is all clear
Sep 28, 2019
Dustin L Roth
Sep 28, 2019
Marcin Gliszewski
Sep 13, 2019
Tom Califf
Sep 9, 2019
Josh Gammel
Sep 7, 2019
Len Johnson
9mi
Sep 6, 2019
Kyle Sovada
Sep 3, 2019
Sphen Koolbak
3h 26m

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 112 votes

#68

Overall
  4.4 from 112 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
46%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
0%
Ride Rankings

#23

in Colorado

#68

Overall
377 Views Last Month
33,940 Since Jul 2, 2014
Intermediate

1%
0%
79%
0%
20%
0%

Photos

Cruise the Red Trail as part of the Keystone Gulch to Soda Creek Loop.
Mar 5, 2017 near Keystone, CO
Closing in on the intersection of the Red Trail and Colorado Trail
Jul 29, 2013 near Keystone, CO
Keystone Gulch path looking west over Keystone Ranch area.
Oct 7, 2016 near Keystone, CO
Great singletrack, great scenery.
Jul 2, 2014 near Keystone, CO
July wildflowers looking good!
Jul 2, 2014 near Keystone, CO
Views of Swan Mountain (right foreground) and the Ten Mile Range (left background) from the Red Trail.
Jul 29, 2013 near Keystone, CO

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