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

Quick Facts

Burning Bear Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,560 Feet (2980.0 Meters) Geneva Creek Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,180 Feet (367.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,545 Feet (2975.4 Meters) Hall Valley Trailhead
Handicapped Accessible: No
High Point: 10,740 Feet (3347.9 Meters)
Length, One-way: 5.5 Miles (9.17 Kilometers) 8.85 K
Other Maps: Pike National Forest
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 601
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Quads: Mt. Evans, Montezuma, Jefferson

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This pleasant 5.5 mile trail follows the Burning Bear Creek west from Geneva Creek, over a ridge, and down the Burning Bear Creek on the west side of the ridge. The creek drains west into the North Fork of the south Platte River in Hall Valley. The trail is accessible for hikers, horses and bicycles. Allow approximately 2.5 - 3 hours to hike the entire trail. The hike from the Geneva Creek Trailhead to the ridge summit will take about 90 minutes at a moderate pace.

This trail description begins at the east end of the trail at the Geneva Creek Trailhead and proceeds west into Hall Valley. From the trailhead gate the trail leads north west in an open meadow for about 200 yards and then crosses a big bridge over Geneva Creek. About 20 minutes from the trailhead you will come to a fork in the trail that is marked by a sign post. Bear left at this junction. (The right fork leads back into the meadow and eastward to the Guanella Pass Road.) The first mile is relatively flat. You then leave the meadow area and begin climbing through a stand of lodgepole pine. At about 2.5 miles from the trailhead you will come to remnants of an old log cabin on the left. Above this point the trail becomes steep by a series of switchbacks to the ridge summit at 3.7 miles. A six-foot tree stump that has 2 metal diamond-shaped markers designates the high point of the trail. From this saddle, the trail begins to descend in a general south westerly direction. Fifteen minutes down the ridge you will cross the Burning Bear Creek as it now drains west. From this point the trail follows the creek to the Hall Valley trailhead on an old road. Approximately 8 minutes from the stream crossing you will pass the remains of another log cabin. The trail is identified by diamond shaped metal markers (blue and gray) nailed to trees. The Hall Valley Trailhead (west end of the trail) is marked by sign posted along Park County Road 60.

Directions from Bailey: Eastern Trailhead: From Bailey drive west on Highway 285 for 10.8 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) on Park county Road #62 (sometimes called the Guanella Pass Road) and drive 4.9 miles to the trailhead at a turn in the road. There is a sign and gate on the left (north) side of the road at the trailhead. Parking is available .2 miles further at the parking area for Abyss Lake Trail.

Directions from Bailey: Western Trailhead: From Bailey drive west on Highway 285 for 14.9 miles. Turn right (north) on Park County Road 60 (also designated as Forest Service Road 120) and drive 3 miles to a parking area on the left side of the road. The upper parts of Park County Road 60 are not recommended for low clearance vehicles, but the portion up to this trailhead is accessible to all vehicles.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late Spring through Late Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: This trail does not include much in the way of scenic views, but is peaceful. The log cabins are partially down. The creek is beautiful. The descent after crossing the ridge is quite steep with loose larger stones. This is the most difficult part of the hike. Take food. The complete round trip is at least 5 hours at a brisk pace. I hiked the trail on June 29, a beautiful day, and I was the only one there that day.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Burning Bear Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Burning Bear Trail
ICON Animal Identification Burning Bear Trail
ICON Bird Identification Burning Bear Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Burning Bear Trail
ICON Plant Identification Burning Bear Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Burning Bear Trail
ICON Mountain Biking Burning Bear Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Burning Bear Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Burning Bear Trail

Related Activities
Burning Bear Campground - Burning Bear Campground is located approximately four miles northwest of the small town of Grant, Colorado. It consists of 13 individual family campsites.

Duck Creek Picnic Ground - Duck Creek Picnic Ground consists of five individual family sites, each with a table and a fire ring. This site provides access to hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing and four-wheel driving.

Hall Valley Campground - Hall Valley Campground consists of nine individual family campsites, which include a table, fire ring, and parking spur. The site offers access to fishing, hiking, biking and four-wheel driving.

Handcart Campground - Handcart Campground is located approximately seven miles west of the small town of Grant, Colorado. There are 10 sites available that provide access to hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing.

More Information

Visitor Information:

South Platte Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 19316 Goddard Ranch Ct. , Morrison, CO, 80465, Phone: 303-275-5610


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