The North Clear Creek Road #510 and the Santa Maria Reservoir/Seepage Creek Road #509 are part of the Lake City to Creede Cross-Country Ski/Snowmobile Trail system. This section of the trail is approximately 11.5 miles long. One can travel the complete distance or go as far as desired and return to their vehicle. (Those traveling the full 11.5 miles should check the Seepage Creek end prior to your trip, to ensure adequate snow cover exists at the end of the trail.) Leave a vehicle at the junction of the Seepage Creek Road and Colorado Highway 149.
A short side trip to see North Clear Creek Falls is easily possible when traveling the upper section of this trail.
The trail system follows County and 4-wheel drive forest roads. The route crosses open parks and rolling aspen-covered hills. Beautiful views of Bristol Head Peak and the surrounding mountains of the Continental Divide, as well as North Clear Creek waterfall are available.
Trail users should be aware that travel in the Santa Maria Reservoir area is on private land. Ice fishing is prohibited on the reservoir. The landowners at Santa Maria Reservoir have been cooperative in allowing skiers and snowmobilers to cross their land, please do not abuse this privilege!
The North Clear Creek and Seepage Creek roads are easy to moderate in degree of difficulty. By starting from the North Clear Creek end, the route is mostly downhill. The roads are marked with orange diamonds, wide, and easy to follow. The roads are not groomed but are snowmobile-packed where no snow grading has occurred. Approximately 3 miles of the road from North Clear Creek Campground to Santa Maria Reservoir is graded regularly but the roadbed still remains snow-packed.
After leaving the parking area at North Clear Creek Fisherman Site, one must ski or walk approximately 300 yards along Colorado Highway 149 to the junction of the North Clear Creek Road with the highway.
The trail begins by traveling through a flat, open park area for approximately 1 mile. After leaving North Clear Creek Falls, the trail descends rather sharply for 1/4 mile, then more gradually for 1.5 miles. The trail system levels out and traverses flat to rolling hill country for 4 miles from the junction of the North Clear Creek Road #510 with the Santa Maria Reservoir-Seepage Creek Road #509, to Santa Maria Reservoir. From Santa Maria Reservoir to the end of the trail, the ski-tourer must climb one steep hill at the south end of the reservoir. After climbing out of the reservoir basin, the trail gradually drops 600 feet in elevation over the last 3.25 miles.
Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel west on Colorado Highway 149 for approximately 26.5 miles, to the intersection of Highway 149 and Forest Road #510. Parking is available at North Clear Creek Fisherman Parking Area, at the junction of Highway 149 and Forest Road #513 (Rito Hondo Reservoir/ Continental Reservoir Road). Trail begins about 200 yards east of the North Clear Creek Fisherman Parking Area.