Posted on 6/29/2018 by Alyssa Hubbard
Mountain Biking Highlight: Keystone Gulch to Soda Creek Loop
This is a longer loop of about 15 and a half miles at Keystone Resort that starts with a big climb, but ends with a fun downhill and wide open meadow vistas and incredible views throughout. This trail has it all including summer time views of the ski resort and lifts, tons of wildflowers, riding alongside streams, open meadows and lots of fun singletrack. This is a must-do ride for riders who can handle the challenging climb of just over 2,000 vertical feet at altitude. [caption id="attachment_28209" align="alignnone" width="500"] Starting the climb on Keystone Gulch Road[/caption] [caption id="attachment_28210" align="alignleft" width="800"] Views from the climb, nearing the top of the ridge[/caption] If you are staying in the West Keystone area, such as Keystone Gulch Townhomes, Northstar or Wild Irishman, you can just start the ride right from your vacation rental and leave the car parked! The 'trail' starts at the Keystone Gulch Trailhead, going up the dirt road, following along side the stream. After about 3 miles of a gradual climb on the road, you will pass by two ski lifts in the Keystone Outback ski area. A little further at 3.4 miles you will be turning right on CO Rd 176. This is where the real climbing begins for another 3 miles. You'll be going up several switchbacks, with some short steep sections and longer mellow climbs. You will catch some awesome glimpses of the ski runs as you continue to get closer to the top. Look for the singletrack trail off to the left as you turn up onto the final switchback and you'll soon be at the Colorado Trail - turn right at the T and start your descent. [caption id="attachment_28211" align="alignleft" width="800"] Enjoying the wide open views[/caption] [caption id="attachment_28212" align="alignleft" width="800"] The descent (and the fun) begins![/caption] You'll take in some great views of the hills, wildflowers and trees on this fun singletrack. Watch out, as this is a popular trail with other bikers and hikers so keep your finger on the brake. You'll come to a signed intersection at Red Trail, where you will turn right. Head through the meadows and forest until you reach the Soda Ridge Trail. Continue to ride this trail as it flows up and down through the Keystone Ranch area and various neighborhoods. This section has a great fast flow and is lots of fun! Eventually you will come to the Keystone Aqueduct Trail intersection, where you will again turn right. This trail has views over the Keystone Valley and River Golf Course. You will run into the exposed pipe and you may choose to walk this section. You're nearing the end of your ride, totaling about 15.5 miles. Look for the bridge that will take you back to the road towards the starting point and give yourself a pat on the back - job well done! [caption id="attachment_28213" align="alignleft" width="660"] Going through some recent logging operations[/caption] To celebrate, you'll likely want to grab a cold one! Continue the ride and go right on Soda Ridge Road from the Keystone Gulch Trailhead parking area and then left on West Keystone Road. You'll meet up with the bike path shortly - turn right on the path and head towards the Keystone Lake, going left at the shore. Park your bike here and head to happy hour at the Bighorn Bistro inside the Keystone Lodge and Spa- you've earned it!