This segment of the Colorado Trail is the gateway to the state. It leads users 16 miles through Waterton Canyon to the South Platte townsite. From the Waterton Canyon Trailhead visitors will find a variety of recreation opportunities. Many mountain bikers use the first 6 miles of this section so backpackers beware. No dogs or camping for the first 6 miles due to Denver Water Board regulations.
From Waterton Canyon the trail climbs high above the South Platte River offering spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. A variety of ecosystems are encountered from thick oakbrush patches to stands of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and spruce. Aspen adds color to the fall color scheme. The trail follows the South Platte River to the Strontia Springs Reservoir where it intersects with the Carpenter Peak Trail. The Colorado Trail continues south and begins to climb. The trail switchbacks then crosses Bear Creek. Shortly after crossing Bear Creek the trail becomes wider and forks. Stay to the right. For the next .5 miles the trail shares its path with motorcycle trail #692. This trail will intersect with smaller trail that climbs to the right. Stay to the right and follow the smaller trail. In another mile the motorcycle trail crosses the Colorado Trail for the final time. The trail climbs for the next 2 miles until it reaches its high point at 7,280'. From here the trail descends to South Platte.
Directions from Denver: Norther Access: Take Interstate 25 south to State Road 470; and then drive west 12.5 miles to State Road 126. Travel south on 126 4.5 miles to a side road with signs leading to Waterton Canyon Recreation Area.
Directions from Colorado Springs: Northern Access: Drive north on Interstate 25 to the Sedalia exit (Highway 85). Pass Sedalia and continue 6 miles to Titan Road. Turn west (left) and travel almost 6 miles to Waterton Road and signs for the recreation area.
Directions from Denver: Southern Access: Drive south on Highway 285 past Conifer turn left on Foxton Road (County Road 97). Approximately 1.5 miles past Reynolds Park turn left on County Road 97 toward Dome Rock and South Platte.
Directions from Colorado Springs: Southern Access: Drive west on Highway 24 to Woodland Park. Turn right on Highway 67 toward Deckers. Continue driving north on Highway 67 past deckers until the road makes a sharp right at Oxyoke. At this point drive straight following Highwat 97 to the town site of South Platte.
January through December
(NOTE: The first section of the trail is open for all seasons.)