The Keystone Aqueduct was built to bring much needed water from Keystone Gulch to Keystone Ranch. The Aqueduct is still in use today to fill up the Keystone Ranch Reservoir to water the two golf courses at Keystone, The Ranch and The River. One really great and fairly easy ride or afternoon hike is the Aqueduct trail in Keystone which is fully open to the public. You can begin this trail from the parking lot of Keystone Gulch Road and Soda Ridge Road. The trail begins right at the gate of the road and sneaks off into the woods. Soon after you go into the woods, you will come across a small wooden bridge crossing over the creek which is easy to ride across, but you might just want to take some pictures of the creek…it’s a great view! Start climbing next to the creek and you will see a really steep turnoff to the right. Keep going straight and avoid the extremely steep climb to the aqueduct. When you get to a clearing, take a hard right to head West on the Aqueduct trail. The Aqueduct trail is pretty wide, but you will come across a narrow area with sturdy boards covering the pipe. It is best to walk your bike in this area as is can get slippery especially when wet. After the boardwalk area, the trail really opens up and it’s an easy flat ride. Be careful in this section, however….the Keystone Stables run their horse ride tours in this area and you may come upon a crew of trail riders. Always stop and pull far over and communicate with the people on the horses so the horses do not get spooked and injure the rider. You will eventually come to Keystone Ranch Road. From here you can cross the road and enter the Soda Ridge Trail System or continue into Keystone Ranch for some incredible views, especially in the early morning or evening just before sunset. This trail is also spectacular for viewing the fall colors over the Keystone valley.
Continue on the Aqueduct through the open fields. You will come to a fork and you may take either the “high road” or the “low road”. The high road will bypass the neighborhood, but it is a steep initial climb. Both trails converge again into the Keystone Ranch. Going through the neighborhood is a fun ride and you go between property lines of some really nice homes!
Once the trail converge, you have a special treat ahead with some great single track and some ups and downs. The final descent spills you about 1/4 mile into Keystone Ranch and easy access to the Colorado Trail just 2 miles away. At this point, you can turn around and go back, or you can ride the dirt road back. The dirt road turns to pavement and you can follow that all the way back to the top of Soda Ridge road and take the Aqueduct trail back to Keystone Gulch again.
This is a good ride for beginner mountain bikers. The first part is a little challenging, but it is short. Book a condo at Keystone Gulch Townhomes, Wild Irishman, Flying Dutchman or Soda Springs Condos and you’ll have this trail out your doorstep! Have fun, be safe, and happy trails in keystone Colorado!