Starvation Creek Trail

Local legend has it that the creek got its name when an early fall blizzard trapped a local rancher's cattle. When the local cowhands got through the heavy snow, they found that all of the cattle had starved to death in the deep snow. Hence, the name "Starvation Creek". This is a pretty trail that winds up to the Continental Divide for 6.5 miles. The last .5 miles of the trail turns into a two-track road before it reaches the top of the Divide.

This trail is closed by heavy snow from November until May.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Special use permits are required for all commercial activities including outfitting and guiding.
Best Season: Summer and Fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: Motorized vehicles are not permitted on this trail.
Closest Towns: Poncha Springs and Salida, CO
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Salida Ranger District

General Information


From Poncha Springs, CO travel south on Hwy 285 for approximately 4.5 miles. Turn right onto County Road 200 and travel south for 2 miles to the trailhead at the Shirley Site. At the trailhead, turn right onto CR 203. Stay on this road for about 3/4 miles, crossing a stone bridge and then take the next left. This road continues as CR 203 for 2.75 miles to the trailhead. Parking is on the right side, across from the trailhead.


Parking is available for 3-4 vehicles


Mountain Biking

This is a popular route for mountain bikers coming off of Marshall Pass and the Crest Trail. The trail is narrow in spots but a great ride down to the Shirley Site.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

Day Hiking

The Starvation Creek trail winds its way to the Divide and offers hikers some beautiful views. A camera is a must for this hike!

NOTE: Hikers should be aware that this is a multi-use trail and the trail is a popular with mountain bikes so watch and listen for other users.

General Info:


Parking is available for 3-4 vehicles

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
6.5 Miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
9,100 Feet - 10,885 Feet