||Baby Steps Loop
Steps Loop is a classic ride in the Klondike Bluffs
mountain bike trail system. It was the first addition to the old
Klondike route, and now new trail options mean that fewer bikers are doing
the classic loop. The trail features some long stretches of slickrock riding, narrow desert
singletrack, and fun boulder-rocking downhill singletrack.
west as we finish a mile of great downhill singletrack. Original
singletrack review April 2006, with most recent update April 2016. All photos by Bruce.
| The classic loop is 15
miles if ridden from the southern Klondike Bluffs
trailhead, or 20.5 miles if you start
from Highway 191. (You can also easily reach the loop starting at the
northern trailheads.) Total climbing is around 1200 vertical feet.
With the narrow track and loose trail sidewalls, plus some technical
features, I'd give the trail a
rating for upper-intermediate to advanced riders.
Section of smooth slickrock as we
climb east. The lower trail is marked with rockpiles on the sandstone.
Higher up, there are paint spots on the sandstone.
This first uphill part of the Baby Steps singletrack can
also be used as a longer, more technical climb to Klondike
Bluffs. Elevation change
for that ride is 900 feet. There's some up-and-down on the singletrack.
The trip to Klondike and back via Baby Steps is about 14 miles, 12 if you
descend via the official Klondike Bluffs trail.
of the La Sals from a high point on the singletrack. The terrain slopes
gradually uphill towards the Bluffs.
|From the trailhead gate (2.7 miles from US 191) cross the cattleguard
and go 0.8 miles on Klondike Bluffs. Turn left on
the doubletrack Copper Ridge Road. (Alternate: take Dino
Flow or EKG to Baby Steps.) About 0.9
miles later, fork right uphill to begin the counterclockwise loop. Shortly
after the turn, you'll enter a long slickrock climb. The trail is marked
by blue paint stripes on the rock.
Trail view early in the singletrack. The shoulders
are soft, so you'll dig in and dump if you don't control your riding line.
There are a few rock hazards that require good handling skills. All photos
||When you reach the EKG
Trail fork, you can select a variation on the classic ride. Sidestep
North is a technical trail that connects to Baby Steps uphill. You can
shortcut 1.5 miles off the ride by cutting through, or you can turn onto
Instep to reconnect -- bypassing a boring 0.5 doubletrack miles in favor
of 1.5 miles of more-technical trail. Sidestep
South is found 1/10 mile uphill on Baby Steps, and is a technical
singletrack option to the Baby Steps doubletrack. (See the map below.)
Baby Steps itself takes you 1/2 mile uphill on doubletrack (to the
point where the Sidestep/Instep route rejoins). Fork right on the
singletrack. When the singletrack drops onto sandstone marked with white
hash-marks, turn left (right
connects to Klondike Bluffs). The trail will
now alternate between rock and
In many areas, rock stunts keep things interesting.
While there's a lot of open-rock riding, other sections have barriers that
force the rider to take a specific line, with tight turns and stunts.
|As you climb a tiny hill on doubletrack,
watch for the next section of singletrack branching off on the left. There will be some
technical sections here. After a couple of miles, the singletrack will
dump you back onto the same doubletrack you were riding earlier. A short
bit later, the UFO trail forks to the left. This
trail offers a shorter alternative loop ride -- now a favorite -- that
does NOT dump you off the back of the mountain. (After UFO, you'll turn
uphill on Little
Salty to reconnect to Baby Steps on the ridgeline. Again, see
the map.) Keep right for the classic loop.
Here's a cute section. Plaster your body onto the
frame -- you can ride under this tight squeeze.
Baby Steps will rejoin the Klondike Bluffs
trail, then continue straight uphill as Klondike Bluffs turns east
(right). If you decide to pay a visit to Klondike Bluffs, it's about a mile to the Arches National Park
border. You'll have to leave
your bike at the park boundary and hike a
half-mile hike to the overlook.
To continue with the Baby Steps Loop,
grind up and over the hill. Drop down a steep descent toward a broad
valley. At the dirt-road intersection on the valley bottom, turn left.
down the east side of the mountain.
|Cruise the speedy dirt road for about 1-1/4 miles, then fork
uphill at the intersection. What goes down must come up, and you've got
about 300 vertical feet to gain back. There will be a "sucker
summit" after which you'll climb some more. If you're pooped, the Little
Salty trail heads downhill here. Stay left on doubletrack to finish
After a high-speed cruise down the
valley, it's time to climb back up the hill
to get to the top of the singletrack.
||As the doubletrack turns on the west end of the mountain,
you'll spot Baby Steps singletrack on your left. Another singletrack
straight ahead is the Mega Steps trail, an
alternate route downhill.
Hop on the Baby Steps North singletrack and get
ready for a great ride. Navigation is straightforward: go down. The trail
rocks and rolls over sandstone outcrops in the Salt Wash formation.
The singletrack starts smooth and
fast, then gets steeper and more technical.
|When you're almost to the bottom, you'll cross the EKG
trail and the Dino Flow trail. Keep
downhill for the classic loop (or grab one of these trails for a more-fun
variation). At the bottom of the singletrack, turn left on the
Copper Ridge road. About 1-1/2 mile later, you'll pass the fork where you
started uphill. Care for another go at the loop?
A rider descends the rolling technical
||Another nice variation on the classic loop ride is found where
Baby Steps hits the Copper Ridge road. Instead of turning down the road,
cross over to a singletrack connector heading west. This will take you
to the Jasper loop. Head south on either
West Jasper or East Jasper. Drop onto the connector at the south end of
the loop. Turn right on Jurassic, which will
take you back to the Klondike doubletrack
just south of the big wash.
View south on Jurassic. Smooth
swooping singletrack sure beats riding Copper Ridge!
|Riding notes for the loop, South Trailhead:
0.0 From upper parking, east over cattleguard
N38 46.417 W109 42.735
0.8 Fork left on DT Copper Ridge Road
N38 46.997 W109 43.072
1.7 Fork R on ST Baby Steps South
N38 47.545 W109 43.603
Climb through slickrock area
2.1 Straight uphill (EKG crosses)
Option = Sidestep North
N38 47.741 W109 43.285
2.2 Stay in wash (R = Sidestep S)
N38 47.832 W109 43.171
2.6 Trail veers R, N 38° 48.02' W 109° 42.88'
3.5 Slickrock, fork L following marks
N38 47.958 W109 42.584
(R = connect to Klondike)
3.9 L on ST, N 38° 48.28' W 109° 42.69'
5.1 Back at DT, fork L
N 38° 48.41' W 109° 42.77'
5.3 Straight (L = UFO)
N38 48.502 W109 42.903
6.1 Fork L to join Klondike trail
N38 48.578 W109 42.373
6.2 Keep straight N38 48.656 W109 42.260
6.6 Keep R and descend
N38 48.817 W109 42.085
6.8 Fork L in valley N38 48.811 W109 41.871
8.2 Fork L and climb hill N38 49.310 W109 43.045
8.8 Top of hill, R on DT (L = Little Salty)
N38 49.102 W109 43.371
9.9 Fork L onto ST downhill (St = Mega Steps)
N38 49.480 W109 43.797
10.8 Cross EKG, keep straight
N38 48.964 W109 44.612
11.1 Fork L on DT Copper Ridge Rd
N38 48.804 W109 44.837
12.1 Straight (L= Little Salty)
N38 48.180 W109 44.195
13.0 Straight (L=Baby Steps)
N38 47.545 W109 43.603
13.9 Stay R on DT N38 46.997 W109 43.072
14.7 Back at parking
|Northern Klondike Trailheads: On Highway 191 8.5 miles
south of I-70 and 6.5 miles north of the southern Klondike Bluffs road
(about 5 miles north of the airport), watch for a "Northern
Klondike" sign at N38 49.504 W109 46.893. Turn east (toward the
sandstone bluff). Keep to the right as the road winds south around a small
Chilkoot TH: 1.2 miles from the highway as the road is heading east toward the
bluff, the Chilkoot trailhead is on your right.
Agate TH: Go a bit past the fenced parking area then fork right on a fainter jeep road
at N38 49.103 W109 46.061. (The
main road continues to the dinosaur tracks, with an alternate trailhead
here for the Dino Flow trail.) At mile 1.6 from the highway, you'll come to the TH for the
Jasper and Agate
loops (N38 49.087 W109 45.625) on your right.
Mega Steps TH: Continuing past the Agate TH, at 2.0 miles you're at the
bottom of Mega Steps at a larger parking area N38 49.179 W109 45.417.
Dinosaur Tracks TH: At the trail fork at mile 1.2, keep left
on the main road toward the dinosaur tracks. About 1/2 mile further, turn
to the right into the parking area. The Dino Flow trail is up against the
mountain, to the left of the pit toilet.