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Rolling Creek Trail

Basics
Location:
Southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
12.8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
6.5 to 7.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
8400 feet
Elevation Change:
1300 feet
Season:
Summer - Fall

Description

This popular trail provides access into the northeast side of the Lost Creek Wilderness. The first third of the trail south from the trailhead are an easy, pleasant hike following gently rolling terrain. However, the second two thirds of the trail is quite steep and the trail up the tight canyon on the north side is often blocked by downed trees. The trail passes around to the west of the Castle and offers some very dramatic views of this prominent pinnacle. This trail, in conjunction with the Colorado Trail, Wigwam Trail and Goose Creek Trail, offer some interesting loops for backpack trips. The gentle first section of the trail, up to the Wilderness boundary, is popular with mountain bikers, but the rest of the trail is entirely in designated wilderness. Mountain bikes are prohibited and Wilderness regulations apply.

From the trailhead at end of the road, the Colorado Trail bears right (west) and the Rolling Creek Trail heads left (east). The first part of this trail is very easy to hike, with only minor "ups and downs" and small stream crossings. Just after crossing the much larger Rolling Creek, the Wilderness boundary is reached. Soon thereafter, a tight canyon is entered and the trail becomes very steep. As you climb out of the canyon, the view to the north opens up with views of the Castle, the granite along upper Rolling Creek, and the mountains in the distance.

The high point of the trail is a saddle between the Rolling Creek and Wigwam Creek drainages. From the saddle the trail continues south down into Wigwam Park, where it meets the Wigwam Trail.

A final note on the Rolling Creek Trail. The 1954 Windy Peak Quad map does not show the location of the first 1/3 of the trail. The trail is not shown on the map until you cross Rolling Creek. From that point south, the trail is located more or less as shown on the quad map.

Details

Location:
Southwest of Denver
Setting:
Mountainous
Length:
12.8 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Difficult
First half easy; remainder difficult
Time:
6.5 to 7.5 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
8400
Elevation Change:
1300
Season:
Summer - Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS Quad Windy Peak

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Drive west from Denver on US 285 for 30 miles to the town of Bailey. At the bottom of the long hill into Bailey, turn left on Park County 68 (Forest Service Road 560). Drive east 8 miles to a small parking area on the south (right) side of the road. A sign at the parking area identifies this point as the crossing of the Colorado Trail and access to the Rolling Creek Trail. From the parking area follow the Colorado Trail South on an old road for .25 mile to a second small parking area at the actual trailhead for the Colorado and Rolling Creek Trails. Horse trailers and large vehicles should park at the larger lower lot.


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