Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
704.00 ft (214.58 m)
Trail type
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Mad Creek Trail is a wonderful out and back trail in Routt National Forrest.  Named for the creek that it follows. This trail is a beautiful gateway to the National Forrest.  The trailhead has ample parking but can still get crowded on the weekends.  While there is a pit toilet there is no water.  Dogs are permitted on leashes on the trail and the trail is open to mountain bikers as well.

Hikers will start by immediately ascending above Mad Creek.   Almost all of the elevation gain takes place in the first mile where the trail climbs over 700 feet.  Majority of the trail is exposed to the sun but the views on this portion of the trail are amazing.  Looking down hikers can see the beautiful gorges that are carved by the creek.  In early summer hikers should take a moment to enjoy the wildflowers that line the trail especially during the uphill portion of the trail.

After the first mile, the trail levels out and turns into rolling hills for the next mile.  Hikers will continue to enjoy the views and roughly 1.8 miles in hikers will happen upon an historic barn. The barn is a two-story building that was built in the early 1900s which was before the land was established as a national forest. The barn was restored in 2000, and hikers can walk through the structure and enjoy some time in the shade. 

After exploring the barn, hikers can continue along the trail until it meets the banks of the creek roughly 2.5 miles from the trailhead.  Once hikers reach Mad Creek they can turn around and head back to the trailhead the way that they came.  The return to the trailhead is downhill and hikers can enjoy the remaining views as well as the 700-foot descent in the final mile. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Beautiful Views. Historic Barn.


Little Shade. Can Get Crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

6,772.00 ft (2,064.11 m)

Highest point

7,195.00 ft (2,193.04 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Historically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Adventures


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