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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Salida Ranger District

Quick Facts

Colorado Trail (Chalk Creek to Highway 50)

Beginning Elevation: 8,360 Feet (2606.0 Meters) Chalk Creek Road
Difficulty: Moderate to More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 3,100 Feet (966.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,840 Feet (2755.6 Meters) Highway 50
High Point: 10,160 Feet (3167.1 Meters) north of Squaw Creek
Length: 20 Miles (33.33 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 130 Salida, St. Elmo, Mt. Shavano
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 1776
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Quads: Mt. Antero, Maysville

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Hikers at Colorado Trail Trailhead
Copyright: Chadwick Lange - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Hikers at Colorado Trail Trailhead
Segment 14 of the Colorado Trail extends 20 miles south from Chalk Creek Road to Highway 50 west of Maysville. This portion of the trail is open to foot, horse and bike traffic. It passes through the southern Sawatch range where several of the peaks such as Antero (14,269'), Tabeguache (14,155') and Shavano (14,229') are named for Ute tribesmen. Side trips on this section of the trail feature paths to the above mentioned peaks, as well as Browns Lake (#1429).

The trail begins on the south side of Chalk Creek Road (291) approximately 7 miles from Highway 24. The trailhead is located at an elevation of 8,360'. From here the trail ascends out of the Chalk Creek valley and crosses a 4 WD road (290) within .5 miles. The trail climbs a few switchbacks to the head of a small side canyon then levels and leads east. The path continues east for about a mile then turns south into the Eddy Creek drainage. It crosses Eddy Creek following a level path around the base of an 11,000' unnamed peak.

The next landmark to look for is Raspberry Gulch Road (273), which the tread crosses after a slight descent. Within .25 miles of Raspberry Gulch Road the trail begins to climb. At this point you are within 2.5 miles of the Browns Creek Trail junction. Soon after reaching an elevation of 9,600' Browns Creek Trail forks to the right. This area is well marked so you won't have any problems navigating past the junction.

The Colorado Trail continues leading south providing views of the lower Arkansas Headwaters. Skirting the eastern base of Tabeguache Peak the trail ascends to 10,100'; and then it sharply turns eastward and descends into Squaw Creek valley. The trail crosses the creek at 9,900' and continues to descend. Approximately .5 miles after crossing Squaw Creek the Mt. Shavano Trail forks to the right. Within the next .25 miles Weldon Gulch Road (252) ends where it reaches the Colorado Trail. This access point is known as Blank Cabin. From here the trail follows the base of Mt. Shavano into the North Fork Drainage to the Angel of Shavano Campground.

Cross the North Fork Road and follow the trail as it continues southward. Immediately after leaving the campground the trail ascends approximately 400'. It then descends slowly into the Lost Creek drainage and crosses Lost Creek. Within 1.5 miles the trail intersects Cree Creek Road (228) then crosses Creek Creek. This is mile 19. The trail continues to descend crossing the old railroad grade and finally reaching Highway 50 west of Maysville.

Directions from Buena Vista: Chalk Creek Access: Travel south from Buena Vista on Highway 285 to Nathrop. Turn right (west) on County Road 162 (Chalk Creek Road). Drive 6 miles and bear left on County Road 291. Drive 1 mile on 291 to the trailhead.

Directions from Poncha Springs: Angel of Shavano Campground Access: Begin driving from the intersection of Highway 285 and Highway 50 in Poncha Springs. Travel 6 miles west on Highway 50 to Maysville. Turn right (north) on to County Road 240 and drive four miles to the campground. The road is paved to within one mile of the campground.

Directions from Poncha Springs: Highway 50 Access: Travel 9 miles west of Poncha Springs to County Road 225. This road is the southern continuation of the Colorado Trail. Immediately across Highway 50 is the terminus of Section 14 of the Colorado Trail.

Directions from Nathrop: Browns Creek Trailhead Access: Travel 3 miles south of Nathrop on Highway 285 and turn right (west) on County Road 270. Travel westward 2 miles to a fork in the road. At this intersection 270 turns right and 272 lies in front of you. Continue driving straight on 272 and follow it as it turns southward. After traveling 4 miles on this well graded dirt road you will reach the Browns Creek Trailhead.

Directions from Poncha Springs: Blanks Cabin Access: From Poncha Springs drive 2 miles west on Highway 50 to County Road 250. Travel north about 7 miles to the end of the road and the Blanks Cabin site.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through October .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Don Lyman (Denver, CO)
Time of Day: 9 AM
Length of Time: 9 Hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We went from Chalk Creek Road to the Mt. Shavano trail head and then back (we didn't have a shuttle car.) If going one way, I would recommend going North from Highway 50 for more downhill. Most of the trail is technically moderate with some nice rocky descents, creek crossings, and logs to jump. We ate lunch about one mile north of the Shavano trail head on the ridge.
Conditions: There are still some snow drifts up to 3 ft on the northern faces.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Colorado Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Colorado Trail (Chalk Creek to Highway 50)
ICON Horseback Riding Colorado Trail
ICON Stock Packing Colorado Trail
ICON Animal Identification Colorado Trail
ICON Bird Identification Colorado Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Colorado Trail
ICON Plant Identification Colorado Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Colorado Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Colorado Trail

Related Activities
Angel Of Shavano Campground - Angel of Shavano Campground is located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies at an elevation of 9200'. A variety of recreation opportunities are available from this site.

Browns Creek Trail - Browns Creek Trail provides access to scenic views of Mt. Antero and the central Rocky Mountain highlands. Fishing for trout is accessible in Browns and Little Browns Creeks.

Little Browns Creek Trail - Little Browns Creek Trail is a lightly used trail that provides solitude for anyone willing to fight the rugged terrain. It provides access to Mt. Antero, one of Colorado's 14'ers, and trout fishing, in Little Browns Creek.

Wagon Loop Trail - This loop provides a relatively easy day hike or ride. The total mileage is approximately 3.5 miles to complete the loop. Fishing is good in Browns Creek and Little Browns Creek.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Salida Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 325 Rainbow Blvd. , Salida, CO, 81201, Phone: 719-539-3591, Fax: 719-539-3593


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