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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests > Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District

Quick Facts

Red Dirt Trail

Beginning Elevation: 6,800 Feet (2119.7 Meters) at Elk River Road
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,600 Feet (498.8 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,400 Feet (2618.5 Meters) at jct. with Swamp Park Trail #1100
Length, One-way: 6.3 Miles (10.5 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Routt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #117 Clark, Buffalo Pass; So Mt Zirkel Wilderness
Trail Number: 1171
Usage: Light to Moderate
USGS Maps: Mad Creek; Rocky Creek

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The grade on the trail is steadily up until it drops into the Mad Creek drainage. Hiking does become less difficult once the ridge top is reached. This trail is used by hunters during the fall. Water is not available en route. A hitch rail is provided for horses.

NARRATIVE: This trail leaves the Elk River Road and immediately switchbacks up a brush covered hillside of the Elk River Valley. It passes through stands of aspen and lodgepole pine, and offers outstanding views of the Elk River Valley and Yampa Valley. The trail proceeds up the ridge between the Cabin Creeks. Neither creek is visible from the trail itself until the trail starts its descent into Mad Creek where you cross the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness boundary. At this point, excellent views of the rugged upper Mad Creek area are available. Connecting with trail #1100, it offers the opportunity to continue north to Swamp Park or south into Mad Creek. Return to Mad Creek Trailhead on the Elk River road.


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

Directions from Steamboat Springs: Go west on U.S. Hwy 40 to County Road 129, Elk River Road. Turn north on County Road #129 and go about 7 miles to the trailhead parking lot, on the right side of the road.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Late Spring through Fall (NOTE: Accessibility depends on snow depth and weather.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Red Dirt and other adjoining trails.
ICON Hiking & Walking Red Dirt and other adjoining trails.
ICON Horseback Riding Red Dirt and other adjoining trails.

Related Activities
Luna Lake Trail - Luna Lake Trail is located north of Steamboat Springs in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. The trail can be accessed from either the east or the west end.

Swamp Park Trail - Swamp Park Trail leads from Mad Creek, several miles north of Steamboat Springs, north to the upper Elk River near Seedhouse Campground. It can be enjoyed for both summer and winter activities.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District, 925 Weiss Drive , Steamboat Springs, CO, 80487, Phone: 970-879-1870, Fax: 970-879-2147


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