Zig Zag to Valley View to Huffman’s
Mountain Bike Trail Map with GPS Track
The Steamboat Springs Ski Area offers a variety of mountain biking fun. Downhill specialists can pay to ride the Silver Bullet Gondola up to Thunderhead, and then let gravity take them down any number of trails. If you are looking for a good climb, then this is the place for you. The ride described here ascends to Thunderhead via the Zig Zag,Valley View, and Huffman’s trails. I took the main road back down because I was ‘done for the day’, but this route makes a great out and back ride. The ride as described is 10.1 miles long and climbs just over 2000 feet in about 5.4 miles.
From the base of the ski area, head northeast along the Zig Zag Trail (a four wheel drive road at this point). There will be condominiums on your left as you climb away from the base area and into the woods. Watch for a singletrack trail on your right about 0.94 miles into the ride.
Keep climbing. Shortly after waypoint four the trail narrows and enters the woods. Most of the leaves were down when we rode this, but a month or so earlier in the season and this section is much more scenic.
After Waypoint 5 you get a nice break from the climb. The trail wraps around the southern edge of the mountain and ends with a (very) brief descent to an access road at Waypoint 6. This is the end of the Valley View Trail, but not the end of the ride.
On the road, it’s back to the climb! If you like, you can climb on the road all the way to Thunderhead, the top of the gondola. But my local guide would have none of that when there is single track to ride.
The position of the afternoon autumn sun was not conducive to photos showing a view of the valley from the trail, so I shaded the camera with a tree and went for more of a ‘this is a nature scene’ photo than a ‘behold, the valley vista’ photo.
Finally, Thunderhead… From this spot you have a sweeping view of the lower ski area below you and the Yampa valley beyond. Since that photo was not in the cards, I present this one taken looking to the north.
As mentioned above, an out and back ride is a great option here because the Valley View trail is such a fun descent. I was ‘done for the day’ and coasted down the main access road. Near the bottom of the mountain, this road crosses the Zig Zag trail a little ways above where we turned off of it earlier. I picked up the Zig Zag trail and took that back to the base area. That’s it!
Here is a gpx file contianing the gps tracks and waypoints shown in the trail map at the top of the page.