Sink Creek #861

The Sink Creek Trail #861 begins at the Throughline Trailhead on Forest Service Road #814 and ends at an intersection with the Curecanti Trail #870. It offers the shortest route to the West Elk Wilderness and Curecanti Pass in this region. However, the trail is fairly steep at an average 11% slope and the only reliable water is a spring approximately 1 mile up. Sink Creek is often dry by late summer. The crossing of South Smith Fork can be hazardous in late spring, but it does offer fishing possibilities. Open areas of slide rock offer views of Tater Heap, Mt. Guero, and the Crawford Valley. Deer and elk are often seen in this area. After fording the South Smith Fork, the trail climbs through the oak brush to a ridge top (wilderness boundary). It descends steeply on a narrow tread to Sink Creek, then climbs just as steeply (average slope 15%) through dense aspen, gradually contouring a side hill across bands of slide rock. The trail opens up into a large sunken park known as “The Sink” that is profuse with wildflowers. The trail proceeds on to the south to intersect with the Curecanti Trail #870.

Geo-Ref Trail Map   Geo-Reference Instructions 

At a Glance

Open Season: June
Usage: Light
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Fall Hunting
Restrictions: Open to hiking and horseback riding. Open to mountain bikes for the first 1.2 miles from the TH to the Wilderness boundary.
Closest Towns: Crawford, CO

General Information


T. 15 S.; R. 90 W.; Section: 28. U.S.G.S. Map: Mount Guero. Elevation: 7,656 feet. Latitude: N38.719, Longitude: W-107.454.


From Crawford: Turn east onto Dogwood Ave. and continue straight. After approximately 0.9 miles, Dogwood Ave. turns into Needle Rock Road. At approximately 2.3 miles, Needle Rock Road intersects 4200 Road, turn right and stay on Needle Rock Road.  After passing the Needle Rock and the Smith Fork Ranch, the road will cross Smith Fork Creek and a cattle guard over Cow Creek which enters National Forest where Needle Rock Rd. becomes Forest Service Road #712.  Continue to approximately 8.3 miles and the intersection with Forest Service Road #714, Virginia Creek Road. FSR #714 veers to the right at the National Forest Access sign. Continue for another 0.9 miles where there is a sign on Virginia Creek Road for the Through Line and Sink Creek trails, stay to the left. There is an orange gate and parking for truck and trailers, pass through the gate and the trailhead is about four tenth of a mile further.


Mountain Biking

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5.9 miles

  Elevation : 
7,600 - 9,800 ft