This segment of the Colorado Trail (1776) begins at Clear Creek on Chaffee County Road 390 and, after gaining 4,520 feet, ends at North Cottonwood Creek 18.5 miles to the south. A re-route completed in 2007 moved the trail off private property making access easier. The trail climbs out of Clear Creek and enters the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Follow all posted Wilderness guidelines when entering the area. The trail then continues into Pine Creek and then Frenchman's Creek before dropping into North Cottonwood. This segment spends a good portion above 11,000 feet and brings you close to three Fourteeners (Mounts Oxford, Harvard, and Columbia).
This hike is one of Leadville Ranger District's Suggested Day Hikes.
At a Glance
||Summer and Fall
|| Wilderness regulations apply within Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Be aware of special regulations concerning group size, pets and permits. No mechanical or motorized vehicles are allowed in Wilderness. In keeping with the character of Wilderness, signage is minimal.
||Leadville Ranger District (719) 486-0749
The Colorado Trail is a backcountry multi-use trail connecting Denver and Durango, CO. It is over 483 miles of contiguous trail. The exact mileage for the trail is ever changing as trail segments are changed and re-routed. The project that was to be the Colorado Trail began in 1973 with a grant from the Gates Foundation and was completed in 1987. The trail sees considerable usage from day hikers, mountain bikers (although not in sections in Wilderness), horseback riders, and die-hard thru-hikers.
The trail is made up of 28 segments, varying in length from 10 miles (segment 2) to over 32 miles (Segment 6). Each segment is unique in its features and terrain. Some segments don't allow dogs and others can't be used by mountain bikes in Wilderness Areas (although these often have bypasses). The trail is marked throughout by small trail markers on trees and signposts. Signage for the Colorado Trail can be found along highways, at trailheads, and trail intersections.
The Colorado Trail was built and is currently maintained by the non-profit Colorado Trail Foundation and the United States Forest Service. The Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail follow the same path for approximately 200 miles.