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The first segment of the Colorado Trail stretches 10 miles from Waterton Canyon to South Platte. Hikers and horseback riders are welcome to use this section of the trail.

This segment of the Colorado Trail is the gateway to the state. It leads users 16 miles through Waterton Canyon to the South Platte townsite. From the Waterton Canyon Trailhead visitors will find a variety of recreation opportunities. Many mountain bikers use the first 6 miles of this section so backpackers beware. No dogs or camping for the first 6 miles due to Denver Water Board regulations.

From Waterton Canyon the trail climbs high above the South Platte River offering spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. A variety of ecosystems are encountered from thick oakbrush patches to stands of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and spruce. Aspen adds color to the fall color scheme. The trail follows the South Platte River to the Strontia Springs Reservoir where it intersects with the Carpenter Peak Trail. The Colorado Trail continues south and begins to climb. The trail switchbacks then crosses Bear Creek. Shortly after crossing Bear Creek the trail becomes wider and forks. Stay to the right. For the next .5 miles the trail shares its path with motorcycle trail #692. This trail will intersect with smaller trail that climbs to the right. Stay to the right and follow the smaller trail. In another mile the motorcycle trail crosses the Colorado Trail for the final time. The trail climbs for the next 2 miles until it reaches its high point at 7,280'. From here the trail descends to South Platte.

Directions: From Colorado Springs, Southern Access: Drive west on Highway 24 to Woodland Park. Turn right on Highway 67 toward Deckers. Continue driving north on Highway 67 past deckers until the road makes a sharp right at Oxyoke. At this point drive straight following Highwat 97 to the town site of South Platte.

Elevation: 5,600 feet

Ending Elevation: 6,400 feet

Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Colorado

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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