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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Columbine Ranger District

Quick Facts

Cascade Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,200 Feet (2867.8 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 520 Feet (162.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,720 Feet (3029.9 Meters)
Length, One-way: 4.7 Miles (7.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 510
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Engineer Mountain

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

There is a trail on both sides of the creek. The east side is a stock driveway that is steep and muddy in spots. The trail on the west is more pleasant, staying closer to the stream with more moderate hiking. Directly across the creek where Engine Creek Trail veers north away from the trail is where the trails turns into Graysill Trail. It is best to cross the creek up a little higher. There are several beautiful views and waterfalls.

Directions from Durango, Colorado: 30 miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550, turn west on the Cascade dirt road (frontage access sign). This road eventually turns to 4WD but there is a little cul-de-sac area just past the flume where some parking is available. If continuing, follow the dirt road approximately 3/4 of a mile to a red gate before a cabin on the right. Open the gate and follow the road until it dead ends at the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Good waterfall conditions. Can get muddy at the begining. Updated: 2003-09-03 12:15:00.0

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Filed By: Megan (Albuquerque, NM)
Time of Day: afternoon
Length of Time: backpacked over 3 days (3 half days of hiking)
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Pretty steep elevation gain with a pack and when you're not used to elevation - we were on the west side of the creek. We weren't ever sure we were on the "right" trail. But the water falls are amazing and made it well worth it! Great meadow views, great vista at the biggest waterfall. Really nice campsite in one of the meadows (maybe 3 miles in) with a great view of two of the peaks. We didn't see anyone for the first two days, then saw 3 small groups on the hike out.
Conditions: Snow fields lingering in the forrested areas, lots of downed trees in the trail, quite a few stream crossings, and at least 3 places where the trail was just a marsh or bog. We had a hard time finding the trail after about 3 or 4 miles, really hard after the big water fall. The trail looked really disused, it was barely an indentation, and we didn't have a map. There are no signs or trail markers that we found.
Water Availability: Copious water, filtered
Recommended Clothing: The canyon is deep and the altitude is high, so it got extremely cold at night (we had to retreat to 0 degree sleeping bags as soon as night fell). Very pleasant in the day this time of year.
Suggested Accessories: Definitely get a stick for the snow, mud, marsh, steep climbs, and river crossings.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Cascade Creek Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Waterfalls and beautiful views

Related Activities
Engine Creek Trail - Getting to the trail involves a bit of hiking, so planning an overnight is helpful. There is a good campsite at timberline with great views.

Graysill Trail - This trail provides a quick and easy way out of Cascade Canyon. The main attraction from this trail is to get to the Rico-Silverton Trail instead of going all the way to the end of Cascade Creek.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Durango Area Chamber Resort Association, 111 South Camino Del Rio , Durango, CO, 81301, Phone: 800-463-8726, Fax: 970-385-7884, durango@frontier.net


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