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Colorado, Rolling Creek Trail
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State: Colorado
Location: Pike & San Isabel National Forests
Length, One-Way: 6.4 miles
Trail Type: Out and Back
Minimum Elevation: 8360 feet
Maximum Elevation: 10650 feet
Best Season: Summer, Fall
Difficulty: Difficult
Usage: Moderate

Trail Information

The Rolling Creek Trail is a popular trail provides access into the northeast side of the Lost Creek Wilderness. The first third of the trail south from the trailhead are an easy, pleasant hike following gently rolling terrain. However, the second two thirds of the trail is quite steep and the trail up the tight canyon on the north side is often blocked by downed trees. The trail passes around to the west of the Castle and offers some very dramatic views of this prominent pinnacle. This trail, in conjunction with the Colorado Trail, Wigwam Trail and Goose Creek Trail, offer some interesting loops for backpack trips. The gentle first section of the trail, up to the Wilderness boundary, is popular with mountain bikers, but the rest of the trail is entirely in designated wilderness. Mountain bikes are prohibited and Wilderness regulations apply.

From the trailhead at end of the road, the Colorado Trail bears right (west) and the Rolling Creek Trail heads left (east). The first part of this trail is very easy to hike, with only minor “ups and downs” and small stream crossings. Just after crossing the much larger Rolling Creek, the Wilderness boundary is reached. Soon thereafter, a tight canyon is entered and the trail becomes very steep. As you climb out of the canyon, the view to the north opens up with views of the Castle, the granite along upper Rolling Creek and the mountains in the distance.

The high point of the trail is a saddle between the Rolling Creek and Wigwam Creek drainages. From the saddle the trail continues south down into Wigwam Park, where it meets the Wigwam Trail.

Directions

From Denver:
Drive west from Denver on U. S. Highway 285 for 30 miles to the town of Bailey. At the bottom of the long hill into Bailey, turn left on Park County 68 (Forest Road 560). Drive east 8 miles to a small parking area on the south (right) side of the road. A sign at the parking area identifies this point as the crossing of the Colorado Trail and access to the Rolling Creek Trail. From the parking area follow the Colorado Trail South on an old road for .25 mile to a second small parking area at the actual trailhead for the Colorado and Rolling Creek Trails. Horse trailers and large vehicles should park at the larger lower lot.

2 Comments

  1. NickNick
    September 7, 2010

    We just finished a 3 day loop begining at the North Fork Trail Head at the Colorado Trail, to the Rolling Creek Trail, to the Wigwam Trail and then Brookside McCurdy to finish the loop. The Rolling Creek Trail was with out a doubt the most beautiful leg in our loop. Be advised that the climb is 2300+ vertical rise in about 3 miles followed by a one mile/1000 ft. descent, be prepared to spend the better part of the day on this 6 mile trail. There are places to stop for water along the way, which you will need as this was the most difficult summer trail ascent that I have ever done with a full pack. Several deluxe, dispursed campsites with water and excellent views along the trail.

  2. JeffJeff
    June 8, 2011

    Just finished a leisurely 3 day out and back on Rolling Creek Trail. Plenty of water on the way up from the trailhead. At this point there is still a tad bit of snow so you can surely reap the benefits from that….No water at the top. I disagree with the guy (Nick) posting about the difficulty of the ascent…I over-packed, just to get in shape, and I shot right up the thing…it was hard but nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing you shouldn’t expect. Nothing super special or pretty about the trail, but it was nice for sure. Watch out on the ascent from the trailhead, there aren’t any cairns at the top…though I laid out a few…I got pretty turned around for a little bit, luckily I have a smart dog :) Whoever is laying out some of the cairns obviously have no clue what they are doing…you’re supposed to put cairns on the right if you are turning right and vice versa. It was the other way around in MANY cases. Also, ALUMINUM DOES NOT BURN! STOP LEAVING IT IN THE FIRE PITS…I cleaned out at least 6 different pits full of foil. Damn yahoos.

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