Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
3,829.00 ft (1,167.08 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
17.20 mi (27.68 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.

Completed in 1987, the Colorado Trail stretches 485 magnificent miles from Denver to Durango. Along the way it meanders through high alpine mountains and valleys, offering a glimpse at some of the finest terrain Colorado has to offer. It traverses eight mountain ranges, six wilderness areas and stays above 10,000’ for the majority of the trail. Highlights include the Collegiate Range, where multiple 14ers are just off trail and can easily be climbed, and the San Juans, where the trail remains above tree line for days at a time and climbs to elevations of over 13,000’. There is also abundant wildlife along the Colorado Trail, ranging in size from small pika and marmot, to bear and moose.

The trail is divided into 28 different segments, each beginning at a trailhead accessible by vehicle. This accessibility is what makes the Colorado Trail special. Day hikers and section hikers can easily find their way to new segments of trail, while thru hikers can still enjoy a wild and rugged four to six week journey. Below is a description for Colorado Trail Segment 22.

 

Colorado Trail Segment 22

Spring Creek Pass Trailhead to Carson Saddle

 

Segment 22 of the Colorado Trail begins at Spring Creek Pass Trailhead where you’ll find a large parking area, vault toilet and picnic tables (day use only). The trail starts off as a dirt road heading up from the parking area. Eventually the trail turns to singletrack and climbs up and over Jarosa Mesa (not nearly as impressive as Snow Mesa on the previous segment).

The trail then follows a combination of dirt roads and singletrack as it carries onward until you reach a spring and a yurt just off trail. This spring is the last water of the segment. There is also a small patch of trees just past the spring - this is the last cover for many miles as the trail remains above tree line for the remainder of the segment, as well as the following segment.

Continuing onward, the trail climbs through stunning terrain until it finally reaches a high point - not just any high point, but the highest point on the entire Colorado Trail (13,271’). From here it is only 1.6 miles down to Carson Saddle and the end of segment 22. Be careful on this last stretch as most of it follows a dirt road that is quite popular with OHVs. Also note that, if ending or shuttling from Carson Saddle, a 4WD vehicle will be needed to reach there.

The Ultimate
Adventure Maps

Access 650K+ miles of trail data, Offline Maps, GPS Tracking, Waypoint functionality, Outdoor Project Adventures, and more with onX Backcountry. Start your free trial today–no credit card required.

Start Free Trial

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Stunning views. Highest point on Colorado Trail.

Cons

Very exposed terrain.

Trailhead Elevation

10,909.00 ft (3,325.06 m)

Highest point

13,260.00 ft (4,041.65 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback
Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.