Emerald Mountain
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Trailblazing on Steamboat's Emerald Mountain
My last few weekend snowshoe and snow hiking adventures had required drives to get to the trailhead and today I was hoping to walk out my front door in downtown Steamboat Springs and use the river trail in town to connect to the start of a new trailhead. Tipped off by what residents call the 'Steamboat Bible', author Diane White-Crane came through again with the suggestion for nearby Emerald Mountain. I walked the mile and a half to the trail head through town along the river trail and then took a left on 13th street over the train tracks. Then my first left on Gilpin Street, next left on Saratoga Ave and first right on Routt St. There at the end of Routt St. is the parking area and trailhead for those looking to take to the mountains. I started at 6,710 feet at the trailhead and followed the well-maintained Blackmere path. Many a snow runner, dog walker and cross country skier came by, as well as a good ten people enjoying their rides on the newer 'Fat Bikes' built for cycling on snow. The higher I climbed, the fewer people I began to see and at exactly 2 miles from the start I arrived at the summit look-out known as the Quarry at 7,800 feet. The view from this cliff drop- off is sensational (pictured). Blackmere, Lupine and Little Moab trails all lead up to this spot and if you're ready for more climbing, there are three more that will get you out even farther before connecting back to trails that bring you back to Blackmere for your descent.
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