North American Bike Park Review Tour

Steamboat Springs Bike Park

Jewel of the Rockies

Photos by Dusten LaPointe

Located in northern Colorado’s beautiful Yampa Valley, Steamboat Springs is one of our favorite stops of the tour. The town sits in an absolutely beautiful setting, with rivers, lakes and geothermal hot springs complimenting the massive mountain peaks surrounding the valley. Part cowboy town, part ski/bike town, Steamboat Springs is a happening spot to visit and truly has something for the whole family.

As a precursor to our review of Steamboat’s bike park we want to begin by mentioning that Steamboat resort is currently installing a new gondola to serve the top of the mountain. Due to the major construction up top, our review and experiences shared here are only representative of the lower half of the mountain, which is served by the Christie Peak Express chairlift.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Steamboat Springs Bike Park

THE TRAILS

During fully operational summers, Steamboat Bike Park boasts 40 miles of trail that are sure to entertain and thrill. Riders can choose to take a lift to the top or pedal up one of Steamboat’s multi-directional trails. In fact we received lots of Instagram messages and feedback from locals that Creekside trail was one of their favorite trails and could be accessed via a pedal up the side of the park’s slope.

We didn’t see much uphill traffic or riders pedaling however many of the ones we did see were riding Trek Powerfly e-bikes, which the Steamboat Bike Shop has for rent. Without a doubt, the majority of riders at the park were enjoying the sights offered from the chairlift ride up to the halfway point. From this unloading point we spent 2.5 days riding and filming on mostly blue and green trails, which are what’s primarily found on the lower mountain. There are couple of black on the lower mountain which are more jumpy than technical, however we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have a lot of fun riding them.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Steamboat Springs Bike Park

Based on the quality and style of trail building found on the lower half of the mountain, we are actually counting down the days until we can get back there to ride the upper mountain. We’ve been riding bike parks all over North America, South America and Europe for a long time and we all agreed that Steamboat has probably got some of the best blue trails we’ve ever ridden.

As the park sits this year, a downhill bike is definitely not the right call for a trip to Steamboat, and we’re not quite sure if it’s necessary for the upper mountain trails either, so if you’ve got an aggressive 140mm bike or a 160/170mm set up you’re going to have a great time riding here. The trails utilize slope amazingly well, braking bumps are minimal and grade reversals help keep beginners off the brakes. Steamboat Bike Park is jibber’s playground. The trails urge you to practice nose bonks, long manuals over rolling terrain and fun little moves that rougher trails just don’t allow. Gunsmoke, Rustler’s Ridge, Cowpoke, Lickity Split and Wrangler’s Gulch are a few trails worth checking out and offer a nod to the town’s cowboy heritage.

If you’re a more skilled rider and looking to catch some airtime, be sure to visit Buckin’ Bronc as it was an absolute blast! We’d like to see a little bit of work done to make some of the landings a bit steeper, but it was the trail we ended every run on both days. It’s a high-speed jump line with overhead lips and the ability to catch landings from 35-40 feet out. Our computers showed us reaching speeds over 30 MPH as we boosted lips just above the bustling village below.

The amount of fun we were having on the bottom trails just made the upper mountain’s closure even more painful. No matter how fun a blue trail is the first few times you ride it, it’s gonna get old after a while and we found ourselves looking for more after the second full day of riding. The newness had worn off and we realized the park’s roughly 15 trails (many of which were closed due to the gondola project) weren’t enough to keep us there much longer. Although that may not be the case for some riders, we’d assume more beginner level folks, we’re just not sure that the top of the mountain offerings would be enough to keep us on the hill for more than three days. Lucky for us, there is a pretty awesome network of trails off mountain that will certainly push the limits for even the most experienced of riders. Get online, do a little research and you’ll find some epic trail zones with free camping right nearby. We spent a night there ourselves, just be sure to bring some mosquito repellant.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Steamboat Springs Bike Park

ON SITE ACTIVITIES
Without a doubt Steamboat’s village is one of the nicest and cleanest we’ve seen in North America. It isn’t the biggest in terms of size, but it probably packs the biggest punch. The hotels, shops and restaurants all converge at a beautiful creek that runs through a grassy common area where families spend much of the day relaxing. It has a very European feel and is quite welcoming. Steamboat almost offers a theme park sort of feel. Trampoline bungee jumping, rock climbing, a brand new miniature golf course and the Outlaw Coaster are all activities the whole family can get into while taking an afternoon off the bike. We had a great time on the coaster.

If you’re looking for meals, shopping or forgot something from your riding kit, the village has you covered. The Steamboat Bike Shop has a stacked demo fleet of Trek bikes and probably the friendliest bike shop employees we’ve met at a bike park yet. They were all smiles and ready to help whether it was finding us some brake pads or just giving us some pointers on the best local lines.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Steamboat Springs Bike Park

WHERE TO STAY
Steamboat Springs is a pretty sizeable town so you’ve definitely got options when it comes to lodging. There are plenty of places to camp in the surrounding area if you’d prefer the open sky to a covered roof. There are lots of hotels in the village but we opted to stay in a condominium we found on Airbnb. The two-bedroom unit we stayed in sleeps 7 and varies in price but can be had for as little as $88 a night. We also enjoyed having the hot tub and proximity to the mountain and town. There’s a bus stop that picks up around the corner and really helps minimize driving if you don’t want to fire up the truck to head up to the mountain. It’s a downhill coast back down to the condo too.

LOCAL INFO
Whether you’re traveling with the family or just enjoying seeing more than your front tire, Steamboat’s got plenty of cool stuff to see and do. Our first two stops in town were F.M. Light and Sons and Azteca Taqueria.

We’d been seeing billboards for F.M. Light for the last 100 miles of our drive and when the 115 year old western store came into sight, we had to stop. Luckily we parked just a few doors down and in front of Azteca. After you get yourself a new cowboy hat, be sure to stop off at the Taqueria for an amazing breakfast burrito, served all day.

If you’re looking for a heartier meal, be sure to stop by Moe’s Original Bar B Que. They’ve got some delicious food and large sharable portions to satisfy even the hungriest of riders. Moe’s is also close to Steamboat’s impressive public bike park and skate park. There are several jump lines and two pump tracks that will keep you entertained for at least a couple hours.

When it comes time to take a day off the bike you can choose between a more relaxing day or adventure. Several outfits offer tube rentals, or rafting tours for those seeking fun. For those who want to relax, downtown Steamboat has a great, historic downtown with tons of shopping and stores to keep you entertained. The area’s geothermal activity also offer visitors a more therapeutic rest day if you’d like to soak in some warm water. The Steamboat Springs website has lots of good info.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Steamboat Springs Bike Park

The Wolf’s Last Word

Steamboat Springs was an absolute blast and while it seemed the local riders seemed to be a bit harsh on what they have to offer, for tourists passing through, the town is a great stop and one we highly recommend. The town has an active night life, there are tons of options when it comes to lodging, dining, and off the bike activities. When it comes time to hit the trails, Steamboat isn’t exactly Whistler, but it is a lot of fun.

The trails are a bit limited this summer due to the gondola construction but we are 100% planning on returning to see what the upper mountain has to offer since the lower trails are very well built. Steamboat has easily got some of the best blue and green beginner trails we’ve ever ridden however, they do seem to be lacking some of the raw, natural terrain that challenges riders. Perhaps the upper mountain would change our mind but we’d still like to see them add some more trails to keep riders entertained for a longer period of time. The village, mountain and town are just so cool that we believe Steamboat could really be a major player in the destination bike park world with a few more trails on the menu. Keep up the good work Steamboat, we look forward to seeing you next summer!

To learn more about Steamboat Bike Park, visit their website here.

Trails: 7.5/10
Affordability: 9/10
Food: 8.5/10
Nightlife: 9/10
Lodging: 9/10
Camping: 7/10
Off Mountain Activities: 9/10

Chairlift Dates and Hours
June 14 – September 2, then Friday-Sunday through September 6 – 22.
Late season Saturday Sunday lifts run until October 13. During mid-summer lifts run 11-5pm during the week and 11-7pm Friday through Sunday. We wish the lifts would open up at 10am for some extra ride time however.

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