As the days warm and lengthen, the snow continues to melt in Steamboat Springs. This time of year boasts some fun activities as we head into the summer months. Spring hiking (on dry permitted trails) are some of my favorite hikes of the year, and the trails are not crowded. With lush green leaves budding on the trees, and blue sky at the backdrop, the trails offer some of the most majestic views in Steamboat. See a list below for the top 5 spring hikes that provide beautiful backdrops and cater to abilities of all ages.
Spring Creek Trail
Access trail at corner of Amethyst Drive and Maple St. Follow Routt County Road 34 (single-lane, rough road) 1/2 mi. to reservoirs. Trail continues approximately 5 mi. to Dry Lake Campground. This is a popular and easily accessible trail within Steamboat Springs city limits.
Emerald Mountain Quarry Hike
Enjoy sweeping views of the Steamboat Ski Area and the town of Steamboat Springs, CO. Access the quarry trailhead by parking at Blackmier. From downtown Steamboat Springs, make a left onto 13th street. Cross over the bridge and make a left onto Gilpin Avenue. Drive to the top of the hill and make a left on Saratoga and then a quick right onto Routt Street. At the top of the hill is Blackmier Drive and trailhead. Hike about 2 miles up to the rock quarry for the best views in town.
Fish Creek Falls (to the first waterfall)
From Lincoln Avenue (highway 40) go north on 3rd Street then a right on Fish Creek Falls Road. Four miles to the parking lot and trailhead. Hike 1/4 mile to the 280 foot waterfall called Fish Creek Falls. For a longer hike, continue 2.5 miles to the second waterfall. Bring a snack or picnic, then turn around to hike back to the parking lot.
Mad Creek Trail
Take Routt County Road 129 to the Mad Creek trailhead. Hike about 1.5 - 2 miles to the historic barn. This is a great spot to have a picnic lunch or take a rest in the shade. You can continue into National Forest land on the trail and then turn around when your heart is content. In the summer, this trail system offers some great accessing for longer hikes and backpacking in the Zirkel Wilderness.
Red Dirt Trail
Drive west of Steamboat on U.S. 40 approximately 2 miles. Turn north on County Road 129, Elk River Road. Travel about 7 miles to Red Dirt on right side of the road (just past the Mad Creek trailhead). This trail climbs steadily uphill until it drops into the Mad Creek drainage.
Check in with the friendly staff at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Visitor Center at Anglers Drive (next to the Kum and Go gas station) for a full listing of dry trails to explore.