Mountain Biking in Northwest Colorado

Browns Park | Cedar Mountain | Emerald Mountain | Douglas Mountain Boulevard | Vermillion Bluffs/Sevenmile Ridge | Yampa Valley Trail

Mountain biking photo 


Browns Park

  • Rating: Easy to Intermediate
  • Distance: 7 to 21 miles one-way
  • Elevation: 5358 to 6200 feet
  • Trails: Good dirt road, gravel on segments
  • Type: Mountain Bike, Car
  • Best Time to Ride: April/May - October
  • Maps: Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge brochure and map, Browns Park Self-guided Tour brochure and map, and BLM Canyon of Lodore 1:100,000 scale map.

Access: From Craig, Colorado drive west 30 miles on U.S. Hwy 40 and turn right just past Maybell onto SH 318. Travel 48 miles on SH 318 and turn left onto County Road 164, this is the beginning of the tour road through Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge. Travel 1.5 miles to the Crook camp area and park and ride from this point or others further along the tour road.

Ride Description: This route offers picturesque terrain of the adjacent BLM Diamond Breaks Wilderness Study Area, Gates of Lodore's spectacular red canyon walls where the Green River enters Dinosaur National Monument and the remote valley of Browns Park. The refuge provides ample opportunities to view waterfowl and big game wildlife as well as historic sites abandoned by early settlers. The Browns Park area has a rich history of outlaws and fur trappers occupation. This route parallels the Green River along its bottom to swinging bridge, one of the only bridges of this type still in use. After crossing the swinging bridge (OK for cars and pick-up trucks) follow the road approximately 3 miles west towards Crouse Canyon in Utah. Turn right on a more primitive road that parallels the rim of Swallow Canyon and leads to Indian Crossing and the John Jarvie Homestead. This National Register Historic Site has been restored, has a resident Ranger and visitors are welcome.

Swinging bridge is 7 miles from Crook camp and the John Jarvie Homestead is approximately 14 miles further. Limited camping facilities are available at Crook campground, Swinging Bridge and Indian Crossing. The first 7 miles through the refuge is flat and is a good gravel road. The remaining stretch to Indian Crossing is a rough gravel route with some short steep grades recommended for high clearance vehicles.

The only place in this region to purchase limited supplies is at the Browns Park Store on SH 318 in Browns Park. 


Cedar Mountain

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Distance: 3.5 mile loop
  • Elevation: 6950 to 7524 feet
  • Trails: Single track, and dirt road
  • Type: Mountain Bike
  • Best Time to Ride: April/May - October
  • Maps: BLM Craig 1:100,000 scale map

Access: From the junction of U.S. Hwy 40 and SH 13 in Craig, turn north on County Road 7 (paved) and travel 5 miles to Cedar Mountain Recreation Area.

Ride Description: Cedar Mountain rises 1,000 feet above the Yampa Valley and has 880 acres of BLM public land. The horseshoe-shaped, juniper-rimmed mountain provides a vantage point which offers a superior view of the surrounding countryside including the Yampa Valley to the south and into Wyoming to the north. It is a steep climb up to the rim from the parking/picnic area. For a less strenuous and shorter trail ride, there is an approximately one-mile trail that branches off from the main trail and will take you to the picnic area.

Click here for more information on Cedar Mountain

View the 2007 Cedar Mountain Brochure


Emerald Mountain

  • Rating: Easy to Intermediate
  • Distance: 4 to 7 miles one-way
  • Elevation: 6700 to 8000 feet
  • Trails: Good single track and unimproved dirt roads
  • Type: Mountain biking, equestrian, hiking
  • Best Time to Ride: June - October
  • Maps: BLM Steamboat Springs  1:100,000 scale map; Emerald Mountain brochure

Access: From Craig, Colorado drive east on Highway 40 to Steamboat Springs.  At approximately 35 miles turn south on County Road 33A.  This graveled maintained road will take you to County Road 33.  Turn right on County Road 33 to County Road 45.  Make a left on County Road 45 (Cow Creek Road) and approximately 1 mile there will be a turn-off to the undeveloped parking area.  An Information Board is located at the parking area.

Another access point is from Steamboat Springs. Take 13th Street (at Library) and turn  on Gilpin Street, which is the first road on the left.  Make another left on Routt St.  Park along the road near the Information Board and gate.  The first 3 miles of the trail system is a two-track gated road (Blackmere Drive) that will take you to the northeastern section of Emerald Mountain to the Ridge Trail and Beall Trail.

Ride Description:  Emerald Mountain offers three multiple-use trails that can be accessed from Cow Creek Road or Blackmere Drive Trail.  Cow Creek Road provides easy access to the 4-mile Rotary Trail and 4.6 mile Ridge Trail located in the northwest corner of the SRMA.  The Rotary Trail connects to the Ridge Trail providing a loop trail.  The Ridge Trail connects Cow Creek Road to the Blackmere Drive Trail to the northeast.  Where Ridge Trail connects at the Blackmere Drive Trail point, the 6.7-mile Beall Trail branches off to the southeast.   The trails meander through a variety of vegetative habitats from sage, aspen, pine, and fern forests with scenic overlooks.   Because of the unique habitats within the SRMA, the trails provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing and birding.

The Beall Trail is closed from December 1st to June 31st to protect wintering elk and calving range.  It is also recommended that trails not be used when wet or muddy.


 Douglas Mountain Boulevard

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Distance: 10 miles one-way
  • Elevation: 7000 to 7600 feet
  • Trails: Rocky dirt road, no gravel
  • Type: Mountain bike, equestrian,
  • Best Time to Ride: June - October
  • Maps: BLM Canyon of Lodore 1:100,000 scale map

Access: From Craig, Colorado drive west 30 miles on U.S. Hwy 40 and turn right just past Maybell onto SH 318. Travel 29 miles and turn left onto County Road 12. Travel 5 miles to where this road intersects County Road 10. Turn left onto County Road 10 and travel 4 miles to County Road 116. Turn right onto County Road 116 which is the beginning of the Douglas Mountain Boulevard. Park and ride from one of the primitive sites along the first mile of the boulevard or others further along.

Ride Description: This route offers picturesque vistas of the adjacent Browns Park area. Red sandstone outcrops and a ponderosa pine forest line the boulevard with opportunities to explore other four-wheel drive trails that follow various draws leading to the north boundary of Dinosaur National Monument. This route also provides opportunities to view big game wildlife such as mule deer and elk. The boulevard is relatively flat but most four-wheel drive trails branching off into the draws to the south are very rough with large rocks and rock outcrops and have steep grades.

Beware of private property parcels on some of the routes (Holland Draw, Peterson Valley and others). Do not trespass!

This area is very remote so come prepared as there are no facilities and no potable water. 

Click here for more information on Douglas Mountain 

 

 

 Vermillion Bluffs / Sevenmile Ridge

  • Rating: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Distance: 67 miles one-way
  • Elevation: 5750 to 8120 feet
  • Trails: Good dirt road, no gravel
  • Type: Mountain Bike, ATV, motorcycle, equestrian
  • Best Time to Ride: May - September
  • Maps: BLM Canyon of Lodore 1:100,000 scale

Access: From Craig, Colorado drive west 30 miles on U.S. Hwy 40 and turn right just past Maybell onto SH 318. The Sevenmile Ridge area can be accessed about 14 miles from Maybell off SH 318. Turn right onto County Road 75 just after crossing the Little Snake River. Travel about 1/2 mile to the set of large trees on the west side and park and ride from this point or others further along this route. If you travel about 5 miles up County Road 75 you will be on top of Sevenmile Ridge and avoid a steep climb up to this point.

Ride Description: This route offers scenic vistas of the cold desert plateau country characteristic of northwest Colorado and south central Wyoming. This area is known for its archaeological and paleontological values as well as opportunities to view wildlife and some of the few remaining wild horse herds in Colorado. The area is also known for its extensive network of two-track trails and is popular for motorcycle and ATV trail use. Lookout Mountain is the highest point along the scenic Vermillion Bluffs badlands and is designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to provide protection to remnant plant associations, sensitive plants and scenic quality. The route consists of rolling high desert terrain with some steep segments, rocky surfaces and sparse sagebrush vegetation with scattered Pinyon/juniper woodlands. A loop ride is possible by utilizing SH318 (total is about 80 miles) or smaller loop rides are possible within Sand Wash Basin utilizing other roads and trails, through the area.

This area is very remote and no facilities exist nearby so be prepared with water, food, etc. Travel into this backcountry desert area is not recommended for conventional two-wheel drive vehicles. Summer thunderstorms can make localized roads and trails impassible when wet, even for four-wheel drive vehicles.  


  Yampa Valley Trail

  • Rating: Intermediate to Advanced 
  • Distance: 100 miles one-way 
  • Elevation: 5079 to 7200 feet 
  • Trails: 2 track 4x4 trails, single track, unimproved dirt road, no gravel 
  • Type: Mountain biking, equestrian, hiking, motorcycle, 4-wheel drive (Portions of the trail are for non-motorized use only) 
  • Best Time to Ride: April/May - October 
  • Maps: BLM Meeker, Rangely, and Canyon of Lodore (Maybell area) 1:100,000 scale map; Also Dinosaur National Monument map and guide. 

Access: From Craig, Colorado drive west 30 miles on U.S. Hwy 40 to Maybell. Continue 1.5 miles west on Hwy. 40 to the top of the first hill outside Maybell and turn right at the green steel gate. This is where the trail begins. The trail can also be accessed where it crosses Cedar Springs Draw. Continue west 8 miles on Hwy. 40 to County Road 23. Turn right onto County Road 23 and travel 3 miles, look for the trail signs where it crosses this road.

Another access point to over 12 miles of continuous single track can be found along the Deer lodge Park Road. Continue 20 miles west of Maybell to the Deer lodge Road turnoff. Follow the Deer lodge Road 3.5 miles to the Cross Mountain Turnout. Parking is available here and the trail leaves the Deer lodge Road heading west just 200 yards prior to the Cross Mountain Turnout. The Bear Valley Road (County Road 14) at Elk Springs also provides access to the unimproved road portions of the trail system. Travel 12 miles and turn right onto County Road 14N. Travel 2 miles to where this road enters Dinosaur National Monument. Park and ride from this point or others further along the Yampa Bench.

Ride Description: The trail segments between Maybell and Cross Mountain are primarily two track routes leading through the rolling sandhills landscape. This area is important winter range for big game wildlife and opportunities to view herds of elk, mule deer and pronghorn are outstanding in the spring. The trail leading over the south end of Cross Mountain begins to take you into the pinyon/juniper woodlands and a spur trial provides access to the Cross Mountain Canyon overlook. The trail segments west of the Deer lodge Road lead to some rugged terrain and steep slopes along the breaks of Twelvemile Mesa. This can be some tough single track riding in remote settings. Big Game wildlife are also abundant in this area. The mesa provides outstanding views of the Lilly Park area and surrounding desert mountains.

The route leading into Dinosaur National Monument offers picturesque canyon terrain of the adjacent Yampa Canyon, desert ecosystem and opportunities to explore remote historic sites abandon by early settlers. This route parallels the rim of the scenic Yampa Canyon and provides numerous opportunities for overlooks. Please note that within Dinosaur National Monument mountain bikes are limited to the same trails open to motorized vehicles and camping is allowed only in designated areas. Camping facilities are available in Echo Park. Echo Park is at the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers and prehistoric Indian rock art can be viewed in this area.

This is very remote country and food, phone, gas or other supplies are available only at Maybell. Be prepared with all the water you will need for the trip plus repair kit, food or any other necessities for extended rides.

Another access point is from Steamboat Springs. Take 13th Street (at Library) and turn  on Gilpin Street, which is the first road on the left. Make another left on Routt St.  Park along the road near the Information Board and gate. The first 3 miles of the trail system is a two-track gated road (Blackmere Drive) that will take you to the northeastern section of Emerald Mountain to the Ridge Trail and Beall Trail.

Ride Description:  Emerald Mountain offers three multiple-use trails that can be accessed from Cow Creek Road or Blackmere Drive Trail.  Cow Creek Road provides easy access to the 4-mile Rotary Trail and 4.6 mile Ridge Trail located in the northwest corner of the SRMA.  The Rotary Trail connects to the Ridge Trail providing a loop trail.  The Ridge Trail connects Cow Creek Road to the Blackmere Drive Trail to the northeast.  Where Ridge Trail connects at the Blackmere Drive Trail point, the 6.7-mile Beall Trail branches off to the southeast.   The trails meander through a variety of vegetative habitats from sage, aspen, pine, and fern forests with scenic overlooks.   Because of the unique habitats within the SRMA, the trails provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing and birding.

The Beall Trail is closed from December 1st to June 31st to protect wintering elk and calving range.  It is also recommended that trails not be used when wet or muddy.

 

 


 


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