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Loop hike in the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area 

click to enlarge BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone

The Buffalo Creek Recreation Area, west of the town of Deckers in the Pike National Forest, has many trails for cycling and hiking. The Colorado Trail, which goes from Waterton Canyon just outside of Denver to Durango, is just one of many trails that traverse the area.

To make myself somewhat familiar with the area, I pieced together a few trails to create an 11-mile loop that was easily accessible, varied in terrain, and had a few built in points where the loop could be shortened if desired. I hiked the loop, but it would make for a good bike ride, too.

If you're interested in researching this route on your own, take note that the Trails Illustrated Deckers/Rampart Range map #135 that covers this area was last updated in 2007 and has an old, much shorter alignment for the Shinglemill Trail. The new alignment is over 1.5 miles longer than on the map, which also does not show the Little Scraggy Trail at all.

The Trails Illustrated Buffalo Creek Mountain Bike Trails #503 map does have the correct alignment of the Shinglemill Trail, but does not show the entirety of the Little Scraggy Trail, including the intersection with the Colorado Trail as noted here. Pocket Pals Trail Maps is producing an up-to-date map of the Buffalo Creek area, and they expect it to be available this summer.

To get there:  Take US 24 west from Colorado Springs to Woodland Park, and turn right (north) on CO Highway 67. Take Hwy 67 28 miles to Deckers, and bear left onto Jefferson County Road 128. Take CR 128 for about 11 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 550. Follow FSR 550 for about 1.6 miles to the trailhead.

Unattended campfires now carry a stiffer penalty, effective July 1st.  A bill passed by the Colorado Legislature and signed by Governor Hickenlooper raised the crime of "unattended campfires" from a minor class 2 petty offense to a class 3 misdemeanor, and raised the penalty from $50 to a maximum of $750 and possibly up to 6 months in jail. As of this writing, no campfires were allowed in the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area, including in formal, established campsites or fire rings.

Happy trails!


Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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