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Spring Creek
Clear Creek County, Colorado
Arapaho National Forest
Clear Creek Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Forest Service Road: 712.2J
County Road: 712
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Idaho Springs, Georgetown
Nearby Trails: Bill Moore Lake, Red Elephant Hill, Saxon Mountain, Cascade Creek, Democrat Mountain, Bard Creek, South Spring Gulch, Trail Creek Road
Season: Year Round
Trail Length: 5.5 miles
Elevation: 8,100 to 11,000 feet
Named Obstacles: First Obstacle, Second Obstacle, Third Obstacle, Rock Garden

Recommended by Bill M.
Recommended by Brian G.
Recommended by Ed A.
Recommended by Jordan

This is a fun trail that is very accessible because it is close to Denver and low enough in elevation that it can be run very early and late in the year compared to many Colorado trails. It's also right next to a Starbucks, which is a nice bonus.

You start on the trail right next to I-70 and you can hear it or see it for a good portion of the trail. It starts up a steep hill of rock and you will come to a "Y" in the road where you can continue straight ahead or turn right. If you go straight then right away you get to the first obstacle, a big hill of rock and dirt. Go to the right side of the lower part of the hill for the easiest line. If you turn right at the "Y" you can bypass the hill but it's worth checking out (it's very easy to turn around if you decide not to take the hill). This obstacle can be very difficult and dangerous if it is muddy at the bottom. It is probably the most dangerous of all of the obstacles on this trail.

You'll climb the mountain after the first obstacle, often on narrow shelf roads. There is a rocky second obstacle near the edge of the mountain on a switchback, overlooking the highway and a nice view of Georgetown. Careful tire placement will get you through these rocks without any issues (keep your tires on the high points).

The third major obstacle is at another switchback, though this one is safer in the trees. It is much more difficult and it is in the shade, making it stay muddy when the second obstacle is dry. There are many lines through the obstacle though none of them is particularly easy.

You'll see more rocky hills and some cliffs, along with a few smaller rock challenges. These challenges get more interesting with snow or rain as most of the trail is dirt.

The most challenging part is the Rock Garden. It's a lengthy, rocky piece of the trail with many ways through it. There are some easy lines and some very difficult lines, so you'll need to get out and plan your route before attempting it for the first time. There is a brief bypass to the right of the rocks that will get you around the biggest of the obstacle's rocks, but it won't get you around all of it. Be sure to watch for signs as this bypass may be closed in the near future.

When you get to the top you'll find the large meadow with a gorgeous view. Turn right to go down Saxon Mountain to Georgetown (moderate trail) or turn left to visit a network of trails including Cascade Creek (moderate), Ute Creek (easy), Spring Gulch (easy), and Trail Creek (easy). See the map and additional trail information on this site for details about these trails and roads.

Information last updated on June 24th, 2012.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

Take I-70 from Denver to the Downieville exit 234 about 5 minutes past Idaho Springs. Turn right at the bottom of the exit, then left again to run alongside the highway on a frontage road. You'll pass under I-70 to continue west, then turn left to cross the creek. The trail starts to your left next to the creek.

Meeting Places

Meet at the Starbucks next to the gas station at Downieville, exit 234 off of I-70.

Additional Information

Low-End Rating: 6
High-End Rating: 8
Rock Crawling:
Dirt & Mud:
Water Crossings:
Cliffs & Ledges:
Climbs & Descents:
Other Activities:
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Trail Photographs

First Obstacle Second Obstacle Third Obstacle
Rock Garden Rock Garden Trail Marker

Trail Movies
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Maps and Coordinates
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Trails and Spurs in the Area
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Trail in Red
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Spring Creek (GPS Exchange File)
Spring Creek Track (Google Earth Track)
Third Obstacle (Google Earth Placemark)
Rock Garden (Google Earth Placemark)
Spring Creek Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Second Obstacle (Google Earth Placemark)
First Obstacle (Google Earth Placemark)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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