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

Quick Facts

Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek

Beginning Elevation: 7,320 Feet (2281.8 Meters) Big Cottonwood Creek
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,240 Feet (386.5 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,560 Feet (2668.3 Meters) Stout Creek
Length: 13.5 Miles (21.7 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: Summer
Trail Number: 1336
USGS Maps: Coaldale, Howard




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This segment of the Rainbow Trail extends 13.5 miles from Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek south of Salida. This part of the trail passes through Hayden Creek, which has 2 developed campgrounds. Both campgrounds have toilets, fireplaces and tables (See Salida Campgrounds for more details.) Big Cottonwood Creek does not have developed campground although there are good undeveloped sites.

Hayden Pass, west of Hayden Creek, was a short cut to the San Luis Valley during the 1800's. It is now a popular 4 WD road over the Sangre de Christo Range. Although steep, narrow and rough, it offers excellent views of the area. The area west of the Rainbow Trail is Wilderness and motorized vehicles are not permitted within it. This section of the Rainbow Trail offers excellent views of the Arkansas River Valley and surrounding terrain.

Directions from Coaldale: 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: Drive south on Highway 50 to County Road 6. Turn right on to County Road 6 in Coaldale to reach Hayden Creek Campground. The Rainbow Trail passes through the campground.

Directions from Salida: Big Cottonwood Creek: Follow Highway 50 southeast from Salida to County Road 40 about 1 mile southwest of Coaldale. Take 40 about 3.5 miles to the trailhead. The above sites are accessible by autos and small trucks with small trailers.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late May through September .



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

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Rode Rainbow Trail out of Westcliffe. So many 4'-5' rocks we could'nt cover more than 9 miles before heading back. This is not a beginner trail.

Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I've ridden 2 sections of the Rainbow tr. Had a great ride both times. Rocks, rocks and more rocks. Derek



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Rainbow Trail (Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek)
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Rainbow Trail (Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek)
Yes
ICON Stock Packing Rainbow Trail (Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek)
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking Rainbow Trail (Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek)
Yes
ICON ATV Riding Rainbow Trail (Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek)
Yes
ICON Motorcycle Riding Rainbow Trail (Big Cottonwood Creek to Stout Creek)
Yes



Related Activities
Coaldale Campground - The Coaldale Campground is located next to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. Recreation opportunities include but are not limited to fishing, hiking, biking, four-wheeling and horseback riding.

Hayden Creek Campground - The Hayden Creek Campground is located next to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Recreation opportunities include but are not limited to mountain biking, motorcycling, hiking, four-wheeling and fishing.

Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: North Brush Creek to - This segment of the Rainbow Trail leads 12 miles north from North Brush Creek to Big Cottonwood Creek. This part of the Rainbow Trail may be used by hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and motorcycle riders.

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.

Stout Creek Trail - Stout Creek Lakes are accessible from the Rainbow Trail. The trail leads west into the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. No mechanized or motorized vehicles are permitted on this trail.



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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