Keystone, Colorado, serves up another cycling gem with the Keystone Aqueduct Trail—a 6-mile intermediate, out-and-back trail that provides a versatile blend of singletrack and doubletrack segments. Although the trail is often dismissed as merely a connector between Keystone Gulch and Keystone Ranch, dismissing it would be a mistake.
How to Get There
To reach the trailhead, take HWY 6 east to Keystone from I-70 at Silverthorn. At the stoplight, make a right onto Keystone Road. Subsequently, take a quick left, crossing the Snake River, and turn right onto Soda Ridge Road. The parking area for Keystone Gulch is on your left.
- Distance: 6 mi
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Out & Back
- City: Keystone
- State: Colorado
Navigating the Trail
- Starting Point: Commence at Keystone Gulch Road, proceeding about 1/4 mile where a beaver pond is encountered. Turn right onto a doubletrack that crosses the creek.
- Aqueduct Segment: The trail follows an aqueduct for 2.5 miles. Be cautious of the plank bridges; they can be slippery and challenging to navigate.
- Singletrack Bliss: At the end of the aqueduct, turn left uphill. What follows is a flowing singletrack, a treat for any cyclist.
- Decision Point: At Keystone Ranch, a maze of trails opens up. This point serves as a good turn-around spot unless you are familiar with the area or are up for some exploration.
Cyclist Reviews and Comments
- Trail Traffic: The trail gets busy; an early start is advised. Also, be on the lookout for horses and guided tours.
- Trail Condition: The first 2.5 miles include plank bridges that are slippery and tricky. Beyond that, it turns into a fun, fast trail.
- Versatility: Suitable as a connector trail or a stand-alone ride, especially when combined with other trail loops like West Ridge Loop and Colorado Trail.
Tips and Recommendations
- Watch for Horses: Guided tours don't appreciate bikers, so maintain your trail etiquette.
- Bridge Caution: The first section of the trail has plank bridges; exercise care.
- Uphill Sections: These are challenging but manageable for intermediate riders.
- Trail Alternatives: For a richer experience, consider combining this trail with others like West Ridge Loop or the Colorado Trail.
While the Keystone Aqueduct Trail may not appear particularly special at first glance, it serves as a reliable and fun connector between Keystone Gulch and Keystone Ranch. It packs in some enjoyable singletrack, challenging uphill segments, and a caution-worthy aqueduct section. If you find yourself in Keystone, Colorado, it's well worth adding to your cycling itinerary.