Home | Getting Started | Gift Center | Gear Store | Topo Maps | My Wildernet | Newsletter Signup

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

Quick Facts

Swamp Park Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,390 Feet (2615.3 Meters) at South Fork Elk River, Road #443
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,250 Feet (701.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,720 Feet (2718.2 Meters) at Elk Park
High Point: 9,680 Feet (3017.5 Meters) at Burnt Ridge
Length, One-way: 22.4 Miles (37.33 Kilometers)
Other Elevation: 7,800 Feet (2431.4 Meters) low point, at Mad Creek
Other Maps: Routt National Forest Map
TI Topo Maps: #117 Clark, Buffalo Pass; So Mt Zirkel Wilderness; #116 Hahns Peak, Steamboat Lake; No Mt Zirkel Wilderness
Trail Number: 1100
Usage: Light to Moderate
USGS Maps: Rocky Peak; Floyd Peak; Farewell Mtn

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This is a long trail which can be joined in several locations. It is a great cross country ski trail at the lower elevations which has a longer season of use than most high country trails. This is one of the few trails that cross three major drainages coming from the Continental Divide (Elk River, Big Creek, and Mad Creek). The trail has some boggy areas in it. The trail also serves as a trunk trail to the Red Dirt trail #1171, Luna Lake trail #1168, and Roaring Fork trail #1166. Portions of the trail are located within the Mt Zirkel Wilderness.

NARRATIVE: From the north end, the Swamp Park Trail leaves the South Fork Road #443 and follows the South Fork of the Elk River downstream before turning up Burn Creek and on to Burn Ridge. The trail then switchbacks into and out of Big Creek, then on to Swamp Park. Two miles south of Swamp Park the user has the choice of taking Red Dirt trail #1171 dead-ending into Elk River Road (Road 129) or continuing on #1100. If the user continues on #1100, the trail will again split. If continuing on #1100, the user will travel down into the Mad Creek trailhead. If the user turns left onto Elk Park trail #1118, this trail will end at the 4 WD road #314 in Elk Park (see access #2 above).


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

Directions from Steamboat Springs: ACCESS #1: DUE TO THE BLOWDOWN, THIS END OF THE TRAIL IS PRESENTLY INACCESSIBLE BY VEHICLES! Go west on US HWY 40 to County Road 129, Elk River Road. Go north on Elk River Road about 15 miles. Just past Clark, turn right onto Seedhouse Road (Forest Road 400) and travel 12 miles. Turn right at the fork on to South Fork Road (Forest Road 443) & travel about 2.5 miles to the trailhead, on the right

Directions from Steamboat Springs: ACCESS #2: Go north of Steamboat Springs on Strawberry Park Road for about 4.5 miles to the Elk Park Road, #314 (may be unmarked). Turn right on this 4WD road and travel 4 miles to its end where you will find the Elk Park trail #1118. This trail connects with the Swamp Park Trail #1100.

Seasonal Information:
Normal Summer Season: Summer through Fall (NOTE: Accessibility depends on snow depth and weather.) .

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: Paul Knowles (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Length of Time: 3 Days, 2 Nights
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This is an amazing late-fall trip depending on weather/snow pack. A great mix of a couple vertical climbs to wake up the lungs/legs and plenty of long easy stretches to set your mind adrift. One big suggestion- buy the most current BLM/Forest Service map or GPS software! The trail has been slightly re-routed in a couple of places since my 2002 BLM map and 2005 Garmin Topo software- and signage is somewhat lacking in a couple places. Lesson learned. Also- if starting on the North end off Seedhouse(recommended), be aware that the trail will split soon after cresting Burn Ridge at around 5.5 miles- stay to the left even though it may look less traveled. About .2 miles after cresting the south rim of Big Creek drainage you will enter a clearing- the trail is straight ahead although not very obvious. Then, once entering Swamp Park walking East you will cross a creek and see a beat up post with an illegible sign- the trail is due South from the sign. Very soon after leaving Swamp Park you will again enter a clearing where the trail peters-out. There is a post marking the trail about 75 yds at your 2:00. Despite a couple head-scratchers and minor backtracks (mostly due to outdated material), I highly recommend this hike. Stunning views up Big Creek canyon as well as down Mad Creek. Just bring an updated map and GPS!
Conditions: There was a little snow on both the North and South rims of Big Creek (9300-9700 ft). If spending the night down in Big Creek, the hike out the next morning should suffice in waking you up!
Water Availability: Water is plentiful except from the South Fork of the Elk River to Big Creek (about a 5.5 mile stretch).

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Swamp Park and adjoining trails
ICON Cross-country Skiing Swamp Park Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Swamp Park and adjoining trails
ICON Horseback Riding Swamp Park and adjoining trails

Related Activities
Dry Lake Campground - Dry Lake Campground is a small campground located on the Buffalo Pass Road, 8 miles northeast of Steamboat Springs, at an elevation of 8,000 feet.

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.

Red Dirt Trail - The Red Dirt Trail, north of Steamboat Springs, leads from Elk River Road, northwest to the Swamp Park Trail #1100, on Mad Creek.

Seedhouse Campground - This area was affected by a large tree blowdown. Contact the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District for current conditions. Seedhouse Campground is located miles north of Steamboat Springs, on the upper Elk River, at an elevation of 8,000 feet.

South Fork Trailhead - The South Fork Trailhead is located north of Steamboat Springs, just off Seedhouse Road, near Hinman Park Campground. It accesses trail #1100.5A.

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


About Wildernet |  Email to a Friend  |  Disclaimer |  Privacy |  Contact Us  | Comments & Suggestions
Advertisers & Sponsors |  Owners & Operators |  Tourism Promotors
©1995-2019 Interactive Outdoors Inc. All rights reserved.