Mansfield Ditch #2291

The Mansfield Ditch trail is 9.5 miles long and is accessible from Forest Road 820 (elevation 8,800 feet) and Forest Road 245 (elevation 6,700 feet). The trail is characterized by gentle grades, smooth and wide tread, and expansive views of the surrounding landscape. Beginning at Forest Road 820, the trail makes a short initial descent to an intersection with the Last Chance Trail. From there, the Mansfield Ditch trail turns south and follows the contour of the ridge for the next 4.5 miles. Along the way, the trail winds through stands of evergreen trees and offers outstanding views of Deep Creek Canyon.

At 4.9 miles from the top, visitors will arrive at an intersection with a 0.5 mile connector trail to Cherry Creek. From this intersection, the Mansfield Ditch trail makes a steep descent into Calhoun Basin before leveling off for another 3 miles. This section of the trail passes through pinyon-juniper and scrub oak vegetation, with additional outstanding views of Deep Creek Point, Hadley Gulch, and the Clinetop Mesa. At 8 miles from the top, the trail reaches a bench and an intersection with the Main Elk Trail. The trail gradually descends to Forest Road 245 over the final 1.5 miles.  

The Mansfield Ditch trail’s gentle grades and good views make it an excellent destination for mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers alike!

View the Recreation Opportunity Guide for the Mansfield Ditch Trail (.pdf file).  


At a Glance

Fees: No fee
Closest Towns: New Castle, Colorado
Water: None
Restroom: None
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Rifle Ranger District: (970)-626-2371

General Information


From New Castle travel north on County Road 245 (the Buford-New Castle Road), starting from the northwest edge of town. Proceed approximately 9 miles to the lower trailhead, located just south of the White River National Forest boundary. The trailhead will be on the right.

To access the upper trailhead, continue on the Buford-New Castle road for an additional 8 miles (past the West Elk Trailhead parking lot), to the intersection with Forest Road 820. Turn right on Forest Road 820 and drive 0.25 miles to the upper trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

Horse Riding

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
9.5 miles

  Latitude : 

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