Steamboat Springs The upside to a year with fewer springtime snowstorms is that area trails are likely to dry out faster, leading to earlier springtime hiking.
Hiking the 'Boat II author Diane White-Crane said there are many popular and lesser-known hiking trails that tend to dry out earlier than others and are great for early season hiking.
Among White-Crane’s recommendations is the Mad Creek Trail, which begins about five miles up Routt County Road 129 north of Steamboat. Hike the two miles to the Mad Creek Barn or use the trailhead as a starting point to connect to the Hot Springs Trail, Red Dirt Trail and others.
White-Crane said the Coulton Creek Trail off Seedhouse Road in North Routt is also a good option for the early season.
“That is one that gets a little muddy, but it opens up way before anything else does,” White-Crane said.
Other early-season suggestions by White-Crane include Fish Creek Falls and the adjacent Uranium Mine hike, the Soda Creek hike and hiking trails at Stagecoach Reservoir.
Copies of White-Crane’s book are available to view or checkout at Bud Werner Memorial Library, and within the book, she recommends hikes 1 to 11, 18, 44 to 46 and 75 to 78 during the early season.
Also worth checking out is the Sarvis Creek Trail, which begins in the Sarvis Creek State Wildlife Area, a couple miles past Stagecoach Reservoir on Routt County Road 18.
Closures on many trails, including Emerald Mountain and Spring Creek trails in Steamboat, were scheduled to open Saturday, April 15.
The city’s Park and Community Services Department reminds trail users to use only authorized trails and to stay on existing single-track trails rather that walking on the sides of muddy areas, which can create widening.
Stay off muddy and wet trails, and if mud is sticking to shoes, then the trail is too muddy to use.
An interactive map of the city’s trail system, with up-to-date closure information is available at maps.steamboatsprings.net/trails.