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The Red Dirt Trail, north of Steamboat Springs, leads from Elk River Road, northwest to the Swamp Park Trail #1100, on Mad Creek.

Attractions and Considerations:
The grade on the trail is steadily up until it drops into the Mad Creek drainage. Hiking does become less difficult once the ridge top is reached. This trail is used by hunters during the fall. Water is not available en route. A hitch rail is provided for horses.

Narrative: This trail leaves the Elk River Road and immediately switchbacks up a brush covered hillside of the Elk River Valley. It passes through stands of aspen and lodgepole pine, and offers outstanding views of the Elk River Valley and Yampa Valley. The trail proceeds up the ridge between the Cabin Creeks. Neither creek is visible from the trail itself until the trail starts its descent into Mad Creek where you cross the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness boundary. At this point, excellent views of the rugged upper Mad Creek area are available. Connecting with trail #1100, it offers the opportunity to continue north to Swamp Park or south into Mad Creek. Return to Mad Creek Trailhead on the Elk River road.


As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.

Directions: From Steamboat Springs, Go west on U.S. Hwy 40 to County Road 129, Elk River Road. Turn north on County Road #129 and go about 7 miles to the trailhead parking lot, on the right side of the road.

Elevation: 6,800 feet

Ending Elevation: 8,400 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet

Usage: Light to Moderate

Difficulty: Moderate

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Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests, Wyoming

Visitor Information

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

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