Hiking Project Logo

Rainbow Trail #1336: Bear Creek to Mears Junction (Methodist Mountain Section)

Difficult
 4.3 (4)

A classic Salida trail shared with mountain bikers for those with big lungs and strong legs.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

15.5

Miles

24.9

KM

Point to Point

10,247' 3,123 m

High

8,517' 2,596 m

Low

2,300' 701 m

Up

2,773' 845 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

24%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Fall Colors · Views

Description

This section heads north around Methodist Mountain with big mountain views close to town. It's in and out of drainages with rocks, roots, nice climbs, and rewarding descents.

It is not common to hike the entire trail between Highway 285 and Bear Creek (County Rd 101) all at once. The more popular section is between County Rd 108 and Bear Creek (County Rd 101).

The most common way to approach this trail is by heading east from Salida on Highway 50 and turning right (south) onto County Rd 101. This is referred to as Bear Creek. This transitions to County Rd 49. Continue to the end of the dirt road and the Bear Creek trailhead.

Head west on the singletrack towards County Rd 108 (Methodist Mountain Trailhead) and Hwy 285. You'll pass the Columbine Trail that heads downhill and back to the parking lot by the cattle guard you passed on your route up to the trailhead. Once you hit County Rd 108, you can head down it back to town or to the Little Rainbow for more hiking.

Some hikers will continue towards Hwy 285 and down the Sand Gulch doubletrack to Double Rainbow. Some but not many continue west until they hit Hwy 285. West of County Rd 108, there are many steep ups and downs that are often torn up by motorcycle use. The grades get steeper and you may find the footing to be tricky in spots.

It is possible to start at the Hwy 285 trailhead and hike eastward. The climb up Poncha Mountain is brutal and filled with technical footing. Make sure you bring plenty of food and water.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 4 votes

#8255

Overall
  4.3 from 4 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#714

in Colorado

#8,255

Overall
25 Views Last Month
897 Since Apr 21, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jun 30, 2019
Satish Puskoor
Jun 8, 2019
Lee Trujillo
Nov 10, 2018
KM Lacy
Did the loop from columbine trailhead, part of rainbow trail, then looped back on the road. Wonderful hike with beautiful views! 8mi