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Off-Highway Vehicles: Colorado

Quick Facts

Bears Ears Trail

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

ACCESS: This trail makes a large loop around the Black Mountain area, therefore, it may be accessed from many different points. The following Forest Development Roads may be used to access this trail: FDR 110, 150, 118, 109 and 112. There are three primary access points to sections of this trail. Some points access motorized sections of the trail and some access only nonmotorized section.

ACCESS #1 - BLACK MOUNTAIN: The southern access point is located 1 mile north of the Forest Boundary on Forest Road 110. From here and you may either go east or west on the trail. These segments of the trail are open only to NONMOTORIZED TRAVEL.

The northern portion of Trail #1144 is accessed further north on Forest Road 110 near the Lost Park Guard Station. Turn left on Forest Road 162 to access the NONMOTORIZED portion of the trail, toward the scenic views of Mt. Welba, Mt. Oliphant, Buck Point, Sand Point, and Black Mountain. The MOTORIZED section of #1144, which runs to the east, is along Road 110 just beyond Road 162, on the South Fork of Slater Creek. This section of trail is a popular route to the California Park Area and Forest Road 150 north of Hayden.

ACCESS #2 - FREEMAN RECREATION AREA: Trail #1144 can be easily accessed from the Freeman Recreation Area which is located north of Craig. There are three short trail spurs that leave the reservoir and campground area, these all intersect with Trail #1144 up the drainages of Cottonwood and Taylor Creeks (approximately 1-1/2 miles from the recreation area). All of these trails are for NONMOTORIZED (foot,horseback and bicycle) travel only .

ACCESS #3 - CALIFORNIA PARK: The trailhead for the southern portion of Trail #1144 is in California Park on the west side of Forest Road #150 approximately 5 miles from the Forest Boundary-between Armstrong and Knowles Creek. This trailhead is for NONMOTORIZED use only.

The northern access to the trail, which is MOTORIZED,is on the divide between California Park and Slater Park at the intersection of Forest Roads 150 and 117. From this point the trail runs west to the trailhead on the South Fork of Slater Creek and Forest Road 110. This section of trail can also be accessed from Forest Road 126, approximately 1.75 miles north of Road 42. This is referred to as the Adams Creek Trailhead.

This trail receives very light to moderate use during June, July and August which offers the visitor an opportunity for solitude and great wildlife viewing. During hunting season, October and November, this trail receives HEAVY hiking, mechanized and motorized uses. Be very cautious and wear blaze-orange during hunting season. Because of the remoteness of this area, make sure to be well equipped for back country conditions--all weather gear (even in summer), water, food, first aid supplies, compass and a good map. It is never recommended to go hiking alone without notifying someone of your plans.

NARRATIVE: This trail makes a large loop around the "Black Mountain" area and traverses into Routt County to the east. The trail travels through aspen stands and open parks with a few stretches of spruce/fir trees. Only a few short sections of the trail are steep. There are no developed campgrounds in this area with the exception of Freeman Campground. Dispersed camping is allowed 100 feet away from the trail and bodies of water, and 1/4 mile from a developed campground or trailhead.

Please follow backcountry ethics and pack out all trash. The only portion of this trail open to motorized use is the northern portion, between FDR 110 and FDR 150. Since this trail crosses numerous roads, it is suitable for hikers and bikers to be dropped off at one point and picked up at another.

The trail segment north from Freeman Recreation Area to Sand Point/Forest Road 109 travels over the drainage divide between Fortification Creek and the Little Snake River. The climb is steep from either side up to the divide. On top of the divide, called the "Gap" is an opportunity for an excellent scenic view. This stretch crosses the three forks of Fortification Creek which is not accessible by vehicle and offer some fair small stream fishing.

The trail segment from Sand Point/Forest Road 109 east to Forest Road 110 is very scenic. There are several mountain peaks here: Mt. Welba, 10,569; Mt. Oliphant 10,670 feet; Buck Point 10,550 feet; Sand Point 10,074 feet; and Black Mountain 10,801 feet the highest point in the western area of the Forest. In this area you can still see traces of forest fires that burned nearly a century ago. This portion of the trail accesses Beaver Creek, Cataract Creek, Roaring Fork Creek and Boulder Creek with scattered beaver ponds and fair fishing opportunities. The longest part of trail #1144 between roads is the portion from Forest Road 110 to 150, that lies to the south below Bears Ears Peaks. Going east the trail is fairly steep down into Sawmill Creek, then it skirts the base of Bears Ears Peaks, and is fairly easy traveling into California Park. Two to three miles west of California Park this trail passes through one of the largest aspen stands in Colorado. This is also prime elk habitat along with mule deer and numerous species of migratory birds.


As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.

Directions from Craig: ACCESS #1- BLACK MOUNTAIN: Go north on Colorado HWY 13 11.5 miles to Moffat County Road #27-(turn right at Cox Brothers Sawmill) continue to the National Forest Boundary. Continue north on Forest Road 110 over Black Mtn and past Lost Park Guard Station. For the MOTORIZED section of trail #1144, continue just beyond Forest Road 162 to the trailhead on the South Fork of Slater Creek- there is parking on the right side of the road. The trail leads east toward California Park.

Directions from Hayden: ACCESS #3 - CALIFORNIA PARK: Take Routt County Road #80 north out of Hayden (the first right after crossing the Yampa River). Turn left at the intersection of County Roads 80 and 70. County Road 80 becomes Forest Road 150 at the Forest Boundary. The northern access to this trail #1144, which is MOTORIZED, is located on the divide between California Park and Slater Park, at the intersection of Forest Roads 150 and 117. 117 is a narrow four-wheel-drive road so it is advised to park in the parking area at the intersection of Roads 150 and 42, just a few yards away. The actual trailhead is approximately 1.5 miles down Road 117. This section of trail can also be accessed from Forest Road 126 which is approximately 1.75 miles north of Road 42. This is referred to as the Adams Creek Trailhead. Road 126 is also a narrow four wheel-drive-road; it is recommended that you park near the main road and hike the .5 mile to the actual trailhead.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Be aware, certain sections of the trail are open to motorized travel.
ICON Fishing Numerous streams, lakes and beaver ponds which are encountered along the trail.
ICON Hiking & Walking Be aware, certain sections of the trail are open to motorized travel.
ICON Big Game Hunting general area
ICON ATV Riding Only the northern section, between Forest Roads 110 and 150 is open to motorized travel.
ICON Viewing Scenery The northwest section of the trail offers particularly scenic views.

Related Activities
Freeman Reservoir Campground - Freeman Campground is located 21 miles north of Craig, near Freeman Reservoir, at an elevation of 8,800 feet.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO


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