Park County, Colorado
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Forest Service Roads: 194, 194.1A, 669, 669.2B
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: Fairplay, Alma
Nearby Trails: Mosquito Pass, Weston Pass, Beaver Ridge, Thompson Park
Trail Length: 10.2 miles
Elevation: 9,971 to 11,347 feet
If you're looking for a fairly easy trail that provides big mountain views, this is a great choice. It starts just outside the town of Fairplay and has two long ends on a trail in a big "Y" shape. One side provides a rocky hill climb in the trees while the other provides big, open scenery.
The first part is the bottom of the "Y" and it is fairly easy. There are some rutted spots and big holes in the trail, so an SUV without much clearance may have to work out the best line through them. You'll cross Crooked Creek at a very shallow crossing just before the central intersection of the "Y."
You can do either side first, and both sides must come back to this intersection. Turn left to stay on forest service road 669. This half stays with Crooked Creek much of the time. The rocky hill climb on this half is fun and not particularly difficult. The views here are nice, with lots of aspens and meadows.
Continue along this western half to its end as it takes you through big pine trees. It ends at a place where the old 4x4 trail is now a hiking trail. It is very marshy past this point, and that is probably why it is now closed. There is plenty of room to turn around, though there aren't many flat spots off of the trail.
Turn around here and go back to the main "Y" intersection, and stay to the left to take forest service road 194. This eastern half is the most scenic half, and it is the most bumpy. It stays fairly mellow until you get to Trout Creek.
The Trout Creek crossing is easy and fun, because you travel with and in the creek for a little portion. On the other side, you follow Trout Creek to the end of the trail. Palmer Peak and Mount Silverheels make a large and scenic ridge to the left of the trail as you climb, and there are some big views of them above timberline.
The end of this eastern spur is very rocky but it is flat. There are some little challenges in this section, but it is mostly just bumpy. When you get to the end you are treated to a series of old cabins at an unknown ghost town. There is lots of flat room for turning around. Hikers can continue on hiking trail 614 over the ridge to connect with the Boreas Pass trail near Como.
Information last updated on September 20th, 2012.