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Black Bear - Horseshoe Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (22) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A quiet and remote escape that provides exposure to a variety of terrain.


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Map Key

5.1

Miles

8.2

KM

Loop

9,314' 2,839 m

High

8,225' 2,507 m

Low

1,199' 365 m

Up

1,193' 364 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

42%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Overview

This route provides varied terrain and a remote escape from the more crowded trails closer to Denver. Though the route follows all singletrack, there are some technical and rocky sections. The nice views of the bigger mountains just beyond make the tougher sections worth it.

Need to Know

There is $7 fee for a day pass at the state park. Park hours are from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Temperatures can vary quickly in the mountains. Early season there may still be snow.

Description

From the parking lot off Hwy-57, follow the Black Bear Trail on a rocky climb from the Ralston Roost Trailhead up to the Mule Deer Trail. The majority of the Black Bear Trail is advanced singletrack with more technical sections including a short, easy scramble popping up closer to the intersection with the Mule Deer Trail.

Follow Mule Deer Trail for a short while and hang a right onto Horseshoe Trail Alternate. From here, the trail is a mix of singletrack and wider trail. There are some short rocky sections but mostly the trail is smooth. At about the 3.7 mile mark, this joins the main Horseshoe Trail and continues south.

Finally, near the end of the Horseshoe Trail, cut right across a small wooden bridge and follow Horseshoe Connector Trail back to the Black Bear Trail and ultimately the Ralston Roost Trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Max Krueger

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 22 votes

#504

Overall
  4.5 from 22 votes
5 Star
55%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#104

in Colorado

#504

Overall
89 Views Last Month
3,776 Since Apr 3, 2018
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
32%
21%
47%
0%

Photos

Views
Apr 4, 2018 near Coal Creek, CO
Easy singletrack
Apr 4, 2018 near Coal Creek, CO
The ridge as you top out on Black Bear Trail.
May 15, 2016 near Coal Creek, CO
Easy Scramble
Apr 4, 2018 near Coal Creek, CO
Lovely views!
Jul 20, 2019 near Coal Creek, CO
Tougher scramble
Apr 4, 2018 near Coal Creek, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 37 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Jun 27, 2021
jenn lu
Moderate from mile ~1.5-2, o/w easy. 3 hrs w/resting/training of G — 3h 00m
Jun 6, 2021
Courtney Arete
Apr 18, 2021
Patrick Csongei
5.2mi — 2h 00m
Mar 20, 2021
Deborah Bacon
Snow packed in some places. Slushy in others. Breathtakingly beautiful views. A great hike! 5.6mi — 4h 10m
Mar 20, 2021
Ari R.
Nov 22, 2020
Patti P
Icy parts on the northwest side of the loop. No water sources on Black Bear. Frozen stream on Horseshoe. 4.7mi — 2h 55m
Sep 27, 2020
Max Murphy
Sep 19, 2020
Chris Koke