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

Quick Facts

Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: Bear Creek to US Hwy. 285 (Mears Junction)

Beginning Elevation: 8,880 Feet (2768.1 Meters) Bear Creek
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 340 Feet (106.0 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,540 Feet (2662.1 Meters) Mears Junction
Recommended Season: Spring
Trail Number: 1336
USGS Maps: Wellsville & Poncha Pass

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This segment of the trail leads 12.3 miles north from Bear Creek to Mears Junction. The trail is open to foot, horse and motorcycle traffic. Camping is permitted at undeveloped sites along the trail. Water may not be available from Bear Creek to Hwy. 285 during dry periods.

The scenery is outstanding with excellent views of the Upper Arkansas Valley looking northward to Leadville and Colorado's highest peaks along the Sawatch Range. Methodist Mountain Road, County Road 108, passes through private land above the trail and is not open to the public beyond that point. The trail from Methodist Mtn road westward does not appear on the US Forest Service map. However the trail is well maintained and easy to follow.

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.

Directions from Salida: Methodist Mountain: From Salida take County Road 107 south to County Road 108. County Road 108 is a very rough forest road for 1.5 miles to the trail crossing. It is recommended for high clearance vehicles.

Directions from Hwy 285: Hwy 285: The Rainbow Trail crosses US Hwy 285 about 5 miles south of Poncha Springs. Parking space limited.

Directions from Methodist Mountain: Methodist Mountain: At Salida take CR 107 south to CR 108. CR 108 is very rough forest road for 1.5 miles to the trail crossing. CR 108 is recommended for high clearance vehicles.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late May through Mid-October .

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: Steve Green (Littleton, CO)
Time of Day: 11 AM till 8 PM
Length of Time: 9 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Started the day at Trout Creek and rode Aspen Ridge Salida and to Mears Junction on Hwy 285 on Poncha Pass. Got on the Rainbow Trail here and rode the whole thing to Medano Pass road on my 300+ lb 1999 640 LC4e. Took 9 hours (just on the Rainbow, includes stops) to cover 100 miles from N to S. The first 40 miles is true single track then it becomes rough 1.5 track. We maintained a fast pace, it was very challenging due to the length, narrowness, constant turns, and loose rock. After Medano we drove 100 miles pavement back north on bikes to Trout Creek where the van was parked. Loved every minute of it. Steve

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Rainbow Trail (Bear Creek to Mears Junction)
ICON Hiking & Walking Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment: Bear Creek to US Hwy 285 (Mears Junction)
ICON Horseback Riding Rainbow Trail (Bear Creek to Mears Junction)
ICON Motorcycle Riding Rainbow Trail (Bear Creek to Mears Junction)

Related Activities
Rainbow Trail #1336 Segment Mears Junction (Hwy. 2 - This section of the Rainbow Trail leads 13 miles west from Mears Junction Trailhead to the Colorado Trail. The western end of this segment is closed to mechanized and motorized vehicles.

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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