Emerald Mountain Hikes
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Thursday, July 28, 2011
A network of trails offering miles of mixed-use hiking, biking and horseback recreation begins at the base of Howelsen Hill and winds up into the meadows and forested slopes of Emerald Mountain. The main road, Blackmer Drive, 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 Steamboat Ski Area. The popular Lupine Trail starts from the Howelsen Hill entrance at Sombrero Ranches Steamboat Stables, for a more challenging, three-mile route to the quarry. The Bluffs Loop starts at the stables entrance for a moderate, rolling route of just under three miles, much of which is shaded in the late afternoon. Popular with mountain bikers, new trails (Beall Trail and Ridge Trail) have also recently been added to the backside of the mountain for those looking for longer loops.
How to get there: The extensive multi-use trail system on Emerald Mountain can be access from several points at the base of Howelsen Hill (from downtown Steamboat, head south on Fifth Street and west on Howelsen Parkway) as well as from Blackmer Drive in the Fairview neighborhood. From downtown, head west on U.S. 40, turn left onto 13th Street, left onto Gilpin Street, left onto Saratoga Avenue and right onto Routt Street. Park at the top of Routt Street, and hike up the gated gravel road (Blackmer Drive).