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Mountain Biking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > South Platte Ranger District

Quick Facts

Colorado Trail (South Platte to Buffalo Creek)

Beginning Elevation: 6,380 Feet (1988.8 Meters) South Platte Town Site
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,220 Feet (380.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 7,600 Feet (2369.1 Meters) Colorado Trail Access - Buffalo Creek Area
Handicapped Accessible: No
High Point: 7,600 Feet (2369.1 Meters)
Length, One-way: 9.5 Miles (15.83 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Pike National Forest, Trails Illustrated 135
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 1776
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Platte Canyon, Deckers




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This segment of the Colorado Trail leads west 9.5 miles from the old South Platte Town site to Highway 126 south of Buffalo Creek. The South Platte Town site is located 11 miles east of Buffalo Creek or 16 miles north of Deckers, on the South Platte River. The trail begins on the southwest side of the river following an old mining road. This is the beginning of trail 695, which connects with Forest Road 538, the Rawlen Peak Road. Parking is limited at the site. Please respect posted private property. The South Platte Railroad Station was located at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the South Platte River. There was a spur from here to the old mining camp of Nighthawk and the station served the South Platte Hotel, which was generally full of tourists. This station was on the railroad line until 1938 when the line was dismantled. The trail crosses Highway 126 approximately 3 miles south of Buffalo Creek. Parking is available at the developed parking area or along the access road to the abandoned Top-of-the-World Campground.

The terrain along this section of the trail is steep and rocky with several peaks rising in close proximity to the trail. The trail gains 1,000' of elevation in 3 miles during the first stretch of this section. There is a steep uphill climb to abandoned Top-of-the-world Campground, but the panoramic view is well worth it. For the rest of this stretch of the Colorado Trail the terrain remains relatively level. Once you reach the intersection of the trail with Highway 126 cross the road and continue walking on the path. You have at least a mile of easy hiking to the trailhead, which is located immediately east of the Buffalo Creek Mountain Biking Area. Once you leave the South Platte River the trail is void of water for 13 miles.

Be sure to fill up your water containers at the trailhead, because this stretch of trail is very dry. The predominant type of vegetation is ponderosa pine with few grasses and forage that survive in dry climates. The trail travels through different land forms, from steep, gravel hillsides with little vegetation to gentle, rolling ridgetops with outstanding scenery. If any user of the trail needs to be resupplied, whether it be food or water, supplies can be obtained at Buffalo Creek, which is 3 miles north from the junction of the trail and Highway 126. Forest fire danger is often very high in this area, due to very dry conditions.

Directions from Denver: Northern 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: Northern 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.

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 right on County Road 96 traveling toward Foxton. The next T road will be the junction with County Road 126. Turn left at the T and drive through Buffalo Creek. Continue approximately 5 miles to Forest Road 550. Turn right and the trailhead will be on your immediate right.

Directions from Colorado Springs: Southern Access: Drive west on Highway 24 to Woodland Park. Turn right on Highway 67 toward Deckers. When you reach Deckers turn left on County Road 126. Follow 126 past Wigwam and Kelsey Campgrounds to Forest Road 550. Turn left on to 550 and the trailhead will be on your immediate right.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: May through October .



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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Colorado Trail
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Colorado Trail (South Platte to Buffalo Creek)
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Colorado Trail
Yes
ICON Animal Identification Colorado Trail
Yes
ICON Bird Identification Colorado Trail
Yes
ICON Mushroom Identification Colorado Trail
Yes
ICON Wildflower Identification Colorado Trail
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking Colorado Trail - non-wilderness areas only
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Colorado Trail
Yes



Nearby Services

nearest public telephone: various (private for profit) Directions: Buffalo Creek - 7 miles north on Highway 126

emergency services: (non-profit) Directions: Buffalo Creek - 7 miles north on Highway 126



Related Activities
Buffalo Creek General Forest Area - The Buffalo Creek General Forest Area is located along Forest Developed Road 543 southwest of the town of Buffalo Creek. Recreation opportunities include, but are not limited to hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking and fishing.

Colorado Trail (Buffalo Creek to Wellington Lake R - This segment of the Colorado Trail leads 13.5 miles west from the Buffalo Creek Area to the Rolling Creek Trailhead. The terrain is considered easy, but users gain some elevation after crossing Buffalo Creek.

Colorado Trail (Waterton Canyon to South Platte) - The first segment of the Colorado Trail stretches 10 miles from Waterton Canyon to South Platte. Hikers and horseback riders are welcome to use this section of the trail.



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