Go for a run
Trails, running series tempt serious milers
June 26, 2008
Steamboat Springs — To train her legs and lungs for the grueling, late-summer Leadville Trail 100, Brenda Geisler spends a lot of time on local singletrack trails.
“It’s not so much the miles as much as it is the time spent out there,” said Geisler, who has finished the legendary 100-mile ultramarathon three times. “You’re running, walking, hiking – it’s seeing how long you can be out there.”
One of Geisler’s favorite “running” routes, starting from the Coulton Creek Trailhead, is an early season trail many would consider a moderate hiking option. Head north on C.R. 129 to Clark, take a right on Seedhouse Road (C.R. 64) and travel 4.5 miles east to the Coulton Creek Trailhead. But rather than taking the Coulton Creek Trail (#1188) to its dead end after a few miles at the southern foot of Farwell Mountain, Geisler likes to take the Cutover Trail (1188.1a), 1.4 miles over to Scotts Run Trail (1177), up to the Diamond Park Trail and then back down along the North Fork of the Elk River to Seedhouse Road.
“I’ll just go up and meander around on the loops,” Geisler said of the network of 10 miles of mixed-use hiking/biking/horseback recreation trails on city property that begin at the base of Howelsen Hill and wind up and diverge into the meadows and forested slopes of Emerald Mountain. The main road, Blackmer Drive, maintained for authorized vehicle use, runs just shy of two miles from its gate at the top of Routt Street to the Emerald Mountain Quarry, which affords a prime overlook of town and the ski area.
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“I’ll usually park at the Knoll Lot, head up Zig Zag Trail to the top of Thunderhead (Peak) and come down Mountain View Trail, or connect to Huffman’s to Valley View for a little loop back down,” Geisler said of the network of mixed-use hiking/mountain bike trails that connect at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area gondola terminal.
Across from the Steamboat Springs High School at the intersection of Amethyst Drive and East Maple Street is one of the most popular hiking and biking trail outlets in town. Spring Creek Trail offers a relatively easy grade up, along and over creek crossings in shaded pine forest for about a mile before increasing steepness onto the singletrack trail for approximately four miles out of the city limits, into the Routt National Forest and up to the Dry Lake Campground on Buffalo Pass Road (FDR 60 / C.R. 38).
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