July 01, 2018 Slideshows » Columns

Loop hike in the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area 

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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.

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.
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Bob Falcone
The trailhead is about 1.6 miles from CR 128, with plenty of free parking. The trail is to the left of the parking area.
Bob Falcone
The trail head marker. Although the sign says it's 2 miles to Morrison Creek Trail, it's quite a bit less.
Bob Falcone
The Buffalo Creek fire in 1996 unfortunately cleared out most of the vegetation, but did leave behind some nice, expansive views.
Bob Falcone
At about 1.5 miles the Morrison Creek Trail #724 meets the Shinglemill trail from the left. Continue straight on Shinglemill Trail.
Bob Falcone
The trail winds through the burn area, with no protection from the sun. At about 3.65 miles the trail meets Buffalo Creek Road. Turn left here.
Bob Falcone
At about 4.1 miles, Buffalo Creek Road meets the other end of the Morrison Creek Trail. Continue straight on Buffalo Creek Road to continue the loop. If you wish, you can bear left onto Morrison Creek Trail to return to the trailhead/parking lot. The distance from here back to the Shinglemill Trail via the Morrison Creek Trail is about 1.65 miles.
Bob Falcone
At about 5 miles the Gashouse Trail #726 and the Baldy Trail #727 cut off to the right. Continue straight on Buffalo Creek Road.
Bob Falcone
At around 5.4 miles, turn left onto the Tramway Trail #723
Bob Falcone
The Tramway Trail is mostly shaded and follows a creek.
Bob Falcone
At a little over 6 miles, the Tramway Trail meets FSR 550. The trail continues across the road. Or you can turn left here on 550 to return to the trailhead, a bit over 2.5 miles away, for a total of around 8.7 miles. For this loop hike, continue straight across the road.
Bob Falcone
Follow the Tramway Trail to the Colorado Trail #1776. The distance to the Colorado Trail on this sign is quite a ways off. There is another sign similar to this further down the trail but it also has incorrect information. This part of the trail goes through private property under a US Forest Service easement — stay on the trail.
Bob Falcone
At about 6.7 miles, the Tramway Trail ends at the Colorado Trail. Turn left.
Bob Falcone
This sign at the intersection of the Colorado and Tramway Trails has old information. The Tramway Trail is now #723.
Bob Falcone
The trail winds through some dense forest and up and down rolling hills, none of which are difficult. At about 9.35 miles, at the top of a hill, the Little Scraggy Trail #765 comes in from the right. Continue straight and down the hill to continue.
Bob Falcone
At the bottom of the hill, the trail appears to go straight. Instead, follow this marker and bear left.
Bob Falcone
At 10.75 miles, the Colorado Trail meets the Shinglemill Trail. Turn left onto Shinglemill. After another .25 miles the trail crosses back over FSR 550 and back to the trailhead, for a total distance of about 11 miles.
Bob Falcone
The map of this loop.
More slideshows
Bob Falcone23 images
Bob Falcone14 images
Matthew Schniper22 images
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Bob Falcone
The trailhead is about 1.6 miles from CR 128, with plenty of free parking. The trail is to the left of the parking area.

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