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Rock Creek Loop

Extremely Difficult
  5.0 ( 2 ) Favorite

Trail

12.1 mile 19.5 kilometer loop
Extremely Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,123' 952 m
Descent: -3,123' -952 m
High: 12,163' 3,707 m
Low: 9,478' 2,889 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 113% (48°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Thomas David Kehoe

A challenging off-trail route with lots of photo opportunities, and ample challenging terrain.

Thomas David Kehoe

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This 12 mile loop travels up South Rock Creek to a high valley with small ponds, then over a steep ridge with big views, down to North Rock Creek, and out on an old mining road.

Need to Know

To get to the Rock Creek trailhead from I-70 exit 205 in Silverthorne, turn right and go eight miles north on the Blue River Parkway. Then turn left onto County Road 1350. Drive three miles to the trailhead. CR 1350 is a rocky dirt road that's fine for a Subaru Outback but not for two-wheel-drive cars. The parking lot is large, there shouldn't be any parking problems.

Description

The trailhead starts at North Rock Creek Trail #46 and then soon continues for a few miles with an average grade of 3.9% on the Gore Range Trail. This part goes by easy and boring, through beetle-killed forests with stagnant ponds. Then you reach South Rock Creek and a large pond with water lilies and a view of the mountains. There are several campsites around the South Rock Creek crossing and the pond.

Next, head along the South Rock Creek Route for 3.9 miles with an average grade of 4.7% on game trails or off-trail. There's a marsh where you might get your feet wet. You can eat lunch or camp in a high valley with many small ponds and wildflowers (7.0 miles).

Then you go over a ridge to North Rock Creek via the Ridge Traverse Route. You follow an elk trail for 0.8 miles with an average grade over 25% (!). You can then explore the ridge line, with great views. The ridgeline is a minimum of 0.5 mile but can be as much as two miles, depending on how many views you want to see. Once you've enjoyed the view and have caught your breath, you drop down a gully 0.7 miles with an average grade over 35% (over 40% in places, bring trekking poles!).

Next comes the bad part, with a 1.1 mile trudge through the forest during the North Rock Creek Bushwhack Route (-5% average grade, not counting climbing over 4,567 downed trees) to the end of a mining road. There's a good campsite along North Rock Creek just above the mine.

The rest is easy, 2.4 miles (-5% average grade) down the North Rock Creek Trail #46 - which you could drive your Honda Fit on. Total distance was measured at 12.6 miles.

Flora & Fauna

Elk are common here, and elk hunters in the fall. Not a recommended route in October!

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background

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Check-Ins

Jul 4, 2017
leahferrara
2-day backpacking trip with Sam, Kieran, and James.

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes

#592

Overall
  5.0 from 2 votes
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#123

in Colorado

#592

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Photos

The marsh on South Rock Creek
Aug 2, 2016 near Silvert…, CO
Hiking up the ridge between South Rock Creek and North Rock Creek.
Aug 2, 2016 near Silvert…, CO
A pond on South Rock Creek.
Aug 2, 2016 near Silvert…, CO
Exploring the nearby ridge extension between South Rock Creek and North Rock Creek.
Aug 2, 2016 near Silvert…, CO
Enjoy great views of snowy mountains in July from the high meadow before the ascent up the ridge.
Jul 4, 2017 near Silvert…, CO
A pond on South Rock Creek.
Aug 2, 2016 near Silvert…, CO

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