Hiking, Biking & Horseback Riding
Trails galore interlace the countryside around Creede and throughout Mineral County. Public lands, which constitute 95% of the county, provide ample access to Forest Service trails, many of which carry multi-use designations (Descriptive brochures and maps of Forest Service trails and roads are available at the Creede Ranger Station on South Main Street).
The Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail are two favorite high country hiking routes that pass through Mineral County. Regional Volksmarch trails are clearly marked. The Snow Country Explorers (719-658-2221) maintain a GIS mapped system of snowmobile trails for winter recreation. The Upper Rio Grande Nordic Ski Club (719-658-0106) also maintains a half dozen trails for cross-country skiing.
Mineral County has constructed a trail leading south from the Creede ballpark. This new trail affords a pleasant recreational environment for bikers, hikers, and joggers.
Our Favorite Hiking Trails
Pheonix Park Trail
Length: 6.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation: 10,000-12,700 feet
Directions: From the Mineral County Courthouse in Creede, proceed up US Forest Service Road #502 (Willow Creek) about one mile, to the junction of East Willow and West Willow Creek Road. Turn right onto East Willow Creek Road then turn right on the Pheonix Park 4-wheel-drive Road, the trailhead begins at the end of the road.
Open to: Mountain bikes, foot traffic and horse travel.
The Pheonix Park Trail follows an old stock driveway. After a 300 yard climb across the slope, the trail will quickly drop into a tributary of East Willow Creek. The trail continues up the tributary for about one half mile before entering a large stand of old growth spruce and fir. The trail then climbs for about 2 miles through timber, before topping out in a beautiful alpine meadow at the base of the LaGarita Mountains. After reaching the large park, the trail gets thin for the next several miles. Keep your eyes open for rock cairns and old stock driveway signs, and you will reach Halfmoon Pass. The last half mile of the trail is a fairly steep climb to reach Halfmoon Pass, which is above the timberline. This trail is an excellent cross country experience, with ample opportunities to view wildlife and wildflowers. While there are no fishing opportunities, there are plenty of areas for camping, remember to bring your own water.
Miners Creek Trail
Length: 7 miles
Elevation: 9,000-11,500 feet
Directions: From Creede, travel west on Colorado Highway 149 for 3 miles and turn right on US Forest Service Road #507 (Miners Creek Road). Go north on US Forest Road 507 for 3 miles. The trailhead begins at the end of the road.
Open to: Mountain Bikes, foot traffic, and horse travel.
In the Rio Grande National Forest, the Miner’s Creek Trail offers more experienced hikers views of chalk white cliffs at the trailhead and elk herds in the backcountry. A lightly used trail, it is unlikely you’ll see many others during your adventure. The trail crosses Miner’s Creek several times over the first two miles, and can be difficult during the early Spring snowmelt. The trail parallels the creek in the narrow canyon bottom for the first few miles. Then, hikers will climb out of the creek bottom and through dense aspens for approximately one mile. The trail will then travel through many small parks and scattered spruce. You can choose to end your hike at the Miner’s Creek headwaters. The Miner’s Creek area is a great place for viewing elk, just make sure you are there in the early morning or late evening. Camping sites are readily available, and good fishing is possible in the upper part of Miner’s Creek Drainage. This trail is best traveled from June-September.
Inspiration Point/The Pinnacles
Length: 3.5 miles
Difficulty: Intermediate to difficult
Elevation: 9,000 feet to 11,200 feet
Directions: Beginning within Creede city limits, just east of Creede Gifts and Gas, you’ll find the Inspiration Point trailhead.
Open to: Foot traffic.
The Inspiration Point trail is a steep climb and gains almost 3,000 feet in the space of 3.5 miles. The shortest hike on our list, it is certainly for expert hikers. Referred to affectionately as “Perspiration Point,” this trail might be difficult to climb, but offers a great payoff. After many switchbacks and steady climbing, hikers will be rewarded with a truly inspirational view of the famous Creede cliffs and historic downtown Creede. There are no fishing opportunities, and camping is not recommended as water is not readily available. Despite the short length of the hike, the duration could be as long as 3 hours, depending on how often you stop to take in the views. We recommend beginning this hike early, as you will want to take your time when you reach the top.
Our Favorite Mountain Biking Trails
Middle Rat Creek Loop
Length: 7 miles
Riding time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Located right off the Bachelor Loop, the Middle Rat Creek Loop is a relatively relaxed ride and offers an easy pace. Begin your trip by driving up the Bachelor Loop, then take the left turn located approximately 2 miles up. Shortly before the road meets Rat Creek, turn right and climb Windy Gulch. After Windy Gulch, the ride is easy and rolling back down to the Bachelor Loop.
Length: 17 miles
Riding time: 1.5-3 hours
The highest point of this beautiful ride is 10,000 feet at the top of Bachelor Mountain. The well maintained, graded gravel road provides multiple stopping points to enjoy the scenic landscape or inspect historical markers. Most riders prefer to travel the loop backwards. To travel this way, you will begin on the southside of town, adjacent to the baseball field, and end at Humphrey’s Mill. Traveling the Bachelor Loop backwards challenges riders with a steep climb for the first four miles, but allows the remaining 8 miles to be fast and rolling. Be observant and watch for large vehicles traveling on this road.
Rat Creek/Willow Creek 4x4 Road
Length: 22 miles
Riding time: 2.5-5 hours
To get to the Rat Creek/Willow Creek 4 wheel-drive Road, you will travel to Windy Gulch (off of Bachelor Loop). Riders will follow the Rat Creek drainage to the top of San Luis Pass. A challenging ride, this road offers break-taking views of the Continental Divide. Riders should be prepared for cool weather conditions and pack food and water. Riders can choose to shorten the ride by driving a vehicle up Bachelor Loop to Windy Gulch. If you choose to do so, you will shorten your ride by 3.5 miles.
East Willow Loop
Length: 8 miles.
Riding time 1-2 hours.
We recommend riding up East Willow Canyon, heading north from town and turning right at the “Y”. The first three miles make a gradual climb suitable for all levels of riders. After the final creek crossing, the road climbs up 5 switchbacks. Though the switchbacks are only 1.5 miles long, the climbing is demanding. The view of the La Garita Mountains from the crest of the climb is fantastic. In the fall this route provides some tremendous aspen colors. This loop finishes by descending to the Midwest Mine where the road meets with the top of West Willow Canyon. The descent back to town is steep and contains many blind corners.
Miners Creek Trail
Length: 7 miles.
Riding time: 1-2hours.
Tail begins at Creedmont Boy Sout Camp at the end of Miners Creek Road #507 (9,000 feet). Trail ends at the unction with La Garita Stock Driveway Trail #787 in Upper Miners Creek Park. Be prepared to cross the creek several times in the first couple of miles. Most riders enjoy riding up the trail from the Boy Scout Camp a few miles and then turning around and returning the way they came. The more adventurous riders can ride this trail as a loop. Begin by riding up Bachelor Road to the Rat Creek/Willow Creek 4x4 road and taking the left fork after crossing Rat Creek. This is Trail #787 in Upper Miners Creek Park. Riding the trail in this direction gives a total ride of approximately 22 miles. Please see a USGS map of the Forest Service for more details.
East Willow to Phoenix Park or Wason Park, Farmers Creek Trail, North Clear Creek Falls to Bristol Head or Crystal Lake, Stoney Pass, Stage Station Flat area near Rio Grande Reservoir, Jarosa Mesa Primitive Road on Spring Creek Pass. Please see the U.S. Forest Service for more details on many of these and other trails.
For more information or maps on Biking in the Creede and Mineral County area, please contact the Creede and Mineral County Chamber of Commerce.