|Elevation Gain||197 ft|
|My Time||57 minutes|
|Closest Town||Steamboat Springs|
|Food Nearby||Old Town Pub|
The Fiddlehead Trail in Steamboat Springs is a great hike among a series of trails near the Dry Lake Campground. The trail is well used and easy to follow. It is on the easier side and I think it would be available for most hikers to enjoy.
The Fiddlehead Trail was actually a little challenging to find at first. There are several trails around the area including the Spring Creek Trail, the Ditch Trail, Panorama and more. They all kind of intertwine and where I found parking was in between them all. I took Fiddlehead counter-clockwise and that started as a walk down a service road and I missed the Fiddlehead turnoff at first. A quick back track and found the trail near a metal gate and I was on my way.
Taking the trail counter clockwise takes you through the thickest portion of the woods first. The beginning seven tenths of a mile was down a narrow trail with thick bush and trees on either side.
This opening section of the trail has a lot of shade and a ton of wildflowers when I went. There were quite a few bugs as well but to be expected in the thicker woods. This wooded section was really enjoyable but also had the most elevation gain of the hike. The elevation gain was still modest never getting above a 6% grade. As you follow along for another third of a mile you will cross the Ditch trail and then be out in the open with some amazing views.
The Open Loop
While the first portion of the Fiddlehead Trail is covered with a canopy of trees and tall bushes, the Open Loop portion is full of wide views and open air.
The trail remains narrow but well defined in this open section as it snakes its way across the hillside. The flowers are still around, especially around the woods, but the brush turns into shorter thickets as apposed to the tall bush from before. As the trail circles around the hill more and more views come into focus.
The open section of the trail lasts for about a mile before retreating back into the trees and towards the parking lots. The trail never gets up to the edge of the hill but it is clear enough to see most of the peaks and valleys around the Steamboat area and the surrounding Routt National Forest.
This was a really nice and enjoyable hike with just a bit of elevation gain but amazing views of the flowers and the valleys!
On the early August day that I hiked the Fiddlehead Trail I was rewarded with an amazing display of Colorado wildflowers and plant growth. The trails were lined with plants that had grown to about shoulder high. This is more rare on the front range where there is more traffic on the trails. The Steamboat Trails were full of growth though!
Along with the thicker bush the Fiddlehead trail was alive with wildflowers. They were everywhere. I have seen flowers in patches but this was spread through entire hillsides. As a disclaimer, I am not an expert on flowers but I think I saw some Ragwort and plenty of Aspen Fleabane.
Just a beautiful display and so many flowers for such a short hike! It was a really great way to spend an afternoon.
Video of the Fiddlehead Trail
I have put together this time-lapsed video of the Fiddlehead Trail so you can have a feel for how conditions are. If you enjoy this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get updates on all the latest videos.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.44 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 197 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 8,356 feet. I was also moving for a total of 57 minutes.
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The Fiddlehead trail is mostly flat with a little bit of elevation gain that comes in short bursts depending on which direction you do the hike. The trail is easy to follow and well worn so no challenge on the footwork and I think most people will be able to handle this trail.
The Fiddlehead trail is mostly dirt with a bit of rock but not much. The trail is well used and the trail is pretty well defined. The hardest part for me was finding exactly where the trail started as there are several trails in the area. In the summer when I did the hike there were tall plants on either side of the trail making it feel a little tight but nothing to worry about.
The Fiddlehead Trail starts just shy of the Dry Lake Campground on Forest Road 60 in Steamboat Springs. There is some parking on the side of the road and then a small lot across the street by some other trails. There was a pit toilet but it was locked when I went.
Wrapping up the Fiddlehead Trail Hike
The Fiddlehead trail was a stop on a road trip for me and also a hike in a new Colorado County. Routt County is my 28th county that I have hiked in on my goal of hiking in all 63. Fiddlehead was a perfect way to break up a road trip. As an added bonus there were amazing wildflowers in bloom!
The hike is relatively short and there isn’t too much elevation gain so I think it would be good for families with smaller kids. It was also a perfect way to get my legs stretched and the blood flowing a bit. There area is also really nice so if you are looking for a little more out of the hike you can take one of the other trails around to extend the hike. A really nice intro to my first time to Steamboat Springs and a really nice stand alone hike!
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