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. The trail is open to foot, horse and motorcycle traffic. Motorcyclists need to be aware of wilderness regulations forbidding entry to the area by mechanized and motorized vehicle. A side trip to Stout Creek Lake may be taken, but is closed to motorized vehicles. The Stout Creek Lake trailhead is .5 miles North of Stout Creek. This road now accesses the Sangre de Cristo wilderness.
Camping is permitted at undeveloped sites along the trail except at West Creek or Howard Creek where the trail right-of-way passes through privately owned lands. The trailhead at Bear Creek offers good undeveloped camp sites. You are requested to pack out all of your trash however, since no trash pickup service is offered at these isolated undeveloped locations.
Other roads or trails such as Howard Creek, Porter Gulch, Spring Creek, West Creek or Cherry Creek, which access the trail, pass through private land that is not open to public use. Please, respect all posted lands and do not trespass.
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. This access is recommended for high clearance vehicles and dry weather only.
Directions from Salida: Bear Creek: Follow Highway 50 2 miles east of Salida to County Road 101. Turn right on to 101 and follow it to the end. (The road is rough toward the end and high clearance vehicles are recommended.) The RainbowTrail is accessible from the end of 101.
Late May through September .