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Backpacking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Salida Ranger District

Quick Facts

Stout Creek Trail

Difficulty: Difficult
Length, One-way: 5.0 Miles (8.0 Kilometers)
Other Maps: San Isabel National Forest
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: $1403
USGS Maps: Howard, Coaldale, Bushnell Peak

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Hikers can gain access to the Stout Creek Lakes Trail from the Rainbow Trail. At the trailhead (north edge of the meadow) follow the old logging road about .75 miles to the Rainbow Trail. Hike north on the Rainbow Trail .25 miles to Stout Creek Lake Trailhead. Follow Stout Creek Lakes Trail, climbing steeply in some places, 3 miles to the lake. The trail begins on the eastern boundary of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness and leads west into the wilderness. No bikes or motorized vehicles are permitted in the wilderness area.

Stout Creek Lakes provides good cutthroat fishing. It is best in early July and late August. Upper Stout Creek Lake has some of the best fishing in the area. The lakes lie in a narrow, steep-sided valley near the top of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Hikers will find some beautiful waterfalls along the creek below the lakes. This trail is difficult, very steep in some areas, and it is recommended that this trip be done as an overnighter. Campers should pick campsites well away from lake shores, streams and trails to avoid damage to fragile wet areas.

Directions from Salida: Kerr Gulch Access: Traveling east on Highway 50 from Salida turn right on Kerr Gulch Road, BLM 6110. The turn is approximately 4 miles northwest of Coaldale. Drive about 4 miles to BLM Road 6117. Follow Road 6117 1 mile to the trailhead. At the trailhead (north edge of the meadow) follow the old logging road about .75 miles to the Rainbow Trail. Hike north on the Rainbow Trail .25 miles to Stout Creek Lake Trailhead. Follow Stout Creek Lakes Trail climbing steeply in some places 3 miles to the lake.This access is recommended for high clearance vehicles and dry weather only.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through Mid-October .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Time of Day: 9 AM
Length of Time: 6 hours
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Straight up from first step to last. Largely over-rated. Tight canyon not much for views, closed-in forest. Fishing ok but better at places that require a lot less time and effort to get into. Encountered steady stream of folks coming and going. Lower camp site pretty well pounded by horses and bpers. Upper lake not as heavily used by campers but fishing litter (leader material, bobbers etc.) very evident.
Conditions: Given the lakes location be prepared for windy, windy conditions. The wind howls. This is a very, very steep trail. Be sure to have sturdy and ankle supporting boots. While the trail is pretty well pounded it is not smooth by any means.
Water Availability: Water was fine. I don't treat water. The trail crosses the stream but generally requires some effort to get down to. Hump a water bottle (or hydration technology).
Recommended Clothing: Standard mountain clothes. A pair of ear muffs to protect the ears from the wind would have been handy.
Suggested Accessories: I'd recommend a pair of hiking sticks.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Stout Creek Trail
ICON Fishing Stout Creek Lakes
ICON Four-Wheel Driving BLM Road 6117
ICON Hiking & Walking Stout Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Stout Creek Trail
ICON Animal Identification Stout Creek Trail
ICON Bird Identification Stout Creek Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Stout Creek Trail
ICON Plant Identification Stout Creek Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Stout Creek Trail

Related Activities
Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: Big Cottonwood Creek - This segment of the Rainbow Trail extends 13.5 miles from Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek south of Salida. It offers excellent views of the Arkansas River Valley and the Sangre de Christo Mountains.

Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: Stout Creek to Bear C - This segment of the Rainbow Trail extends 12.2 miles north from Stout Creek to Bear Creek. Most of this segment follows the eastern border of the Sangre de Christo Wilderness.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce, 406 West Rainbow Blvd. , Salida, CO, , Phone: 719-539-3591


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