Hiking Trails in Colorado Roaring Creek Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring Creek Trail

Trail Information

Trail Name: Roaring Creek TrailHiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring River Trail

Location: West of Rustic, Colorado

Date: January 25, 2020

Time at the Trail Head: 8:30 am

Trail Length: 9.6 miles (out & back)

Elevation Gain: 2,198 feet

Elev. at Trail Head: 7,752 feet

# of Hikers Passed: 3

# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 0

# of Horses Passed: 0

Mosquitoes: 0

Trail Research

I haven’t hiked up in northern Colorado in the area around Steamboat Springs, so I started looking in that direction and found a great looking trail west of Rustic, Colorado in the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest. It’s a 9.6 mile out and back trail and doesn’t get to high in elevation, which is important in the winter months, unless you have snowshoes, which we do not have presently.Hiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring River Trail

This trail is about 3 hours from my home in Castle Rock and will take us up north through Fort Collins. I’m excited to see a new area in Colorado that we haven’t been to before.

I may not have told all of you yet, but my intentions are not to hike every trail in Colorado, but to hike trails in every part of the state to give you a sense of what all of Colorado is like.

Drive to the Trail

The drive to the trail was ok, then incredible. The first hour and a half took me through Denver, then up I-25 to Fort Collins, Colorado. This was the section that was just okay, primarily due to the traffic on I-25.

After turning off the highway just north of Fort Collins, the traffic lightened up significantly and it wasn’t long before we entered a gorgeous canyon along the Cache La Poudre River.

Cache La Poudre River

Cache La Poudre River

The Poudre Canyon is absolutely stunning, with its majestic rock walls. Take some time to stop and enjoy the scenery and maybe even bring a fishing pole and try your luck in the Cache La Poudre River.

Poudre Canyon

The drive is windy and a little slow, due to the sharp curves, but it is well worth it.

We finally left the rock canyons and the mountains started opening up a little into a beautiful valley. This is a beautiful drive to take, even without any intention of going hiking.

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Poudre Canyon Road

My Day on the Trail

We were the only ones at the trailhead this early Saturday morning in January.

Roaring Creek Trailhead

There are no facilities here so stop along the way or be prepared for the real outdoor experience. There are many bathroom facilities on the drive at other trailheads or small state parks, so you have plenty of opportunity before reaching the trail. We checked our backpacks, turned on our Garmin inReach Mini and hit the trail.

Roaring Creek Trailhead

I thought the trail would be somewhat snow free, since we hadn’t seen any snow in the last two weeks but I was definitely mistaken on that account.Roaring Creek Trail Covered in 1 to 2 Feet of Snow

The trail had a lot of snow on it, and ice in many locations and it didn’t take long before we bulled on our ICETrekkers. The slopes are pretty steep off the trail so one slip could send you down into the icy creek.

Sale
ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats (1 Pair), Medium (Men's 6.5-9/Women's 7.5-10)
  • Shoe grips designed to provide aggressive traction in winter walking conditions
  • Made of case-hardened steel alloy and strung on steel aircraft cable
  • Riveted to tough rubber sling that fits tennis shoes, boots and dress shoes
  • Sling remains elastic even in subzero temperatures to keep grips secure
  • Self-clearing design prevents snow and ice buildup

We hiked along with our ICETrekkers on but without our Trekking poles but that also changed shortly and we pulled out or Leki Trekking Poles to help with the traction on the trail.

LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Pole Pair
  • Exclusive AERGON grip features a hollow core construction to save weight and create an edgeless, rounded grip for comfortable gripping at all angles especially for "palming" on steeper terrain. Thermo foam grip material for extra comfort, light weight and insulation in colder weather. Built in 8deg Positive Angle in LEKI grips keeps wrist in neutral position and provides more efficient pole plants.
  • Air-textured "no bulk" security strap maintains design dimensions of grip; efficient wicking and fast drying; adjusts and secures strap adjustment without buckles. Extended foam grip for traversing and climbing. SPEEDLOCK 2 lever locking mechanism is simply THE strongest external locking system in the world as rated by TUV, and the only locking systems to meet the minimum holding force recommended by TUV.
  • 100% High Modulus Carbon shaft sections for reliable, lightweight performance in all conditions. PE coated, Kevlar reinforced tension cord for long term reliability. ELD (External Locking Device) gives easy access to release the assembly tension of the pole for quick knock down and packing. Maximum tension between shaft sections made possible by internal (serviceable) spring in lower shaft.
  • Carbon section ends are protected by machined Aluminum sleeves for extra long wear. Machined Aluminum connectors help to center shaft sections for quick, snag free assembly. LEKI's original Carbide Flextips provide secure hold on all terrain and surfaces for years of adventure; easily replaced in the field.
  • Interchangeable basket system allows a variety of different sized LEKI baskets to be easily screwed on/off for different seasons/uses thanks to offset threads that keep the baskets securely in place.

It was a beautiful morning that had a forecast of clear skies for the day but for the first few hours, we were in a light snow shower.

Many times an overcast sky can feel dreary but on this day, with the light snow and a hint of a clearing sky, it was incredible.Roaring Creek Trail with a Light Snow Shower

We started out at the trailhead around 8,700 feet in elevation but the higher we climbed, the deeper the snow got, and we started wishing we had some snowshoes. Others had passed before us on the trail a few days back, and evidently had snow shoes. If we stepped more then a foot off the trail, we would sink a foot or more into the snow.

Snow on the Roaring Creek Trail

Snow on the Roaring Creek Trail

We were only a mile or a little more into the hike when it became too much of a struggle in the snow, without snowshoes, and we decided that was enough for this hike. We will be buying some snowshoes soon.

Roaring Creek Trail | Turning Around Because of No Snowshoes

On the way down the trail, be met a group of three hikers who were actually coming up the trail to do some maintenance on the trail. They were a great group to talk to, but I noticed they all had snowshoes on their packs, and were a little more prepared for this trail then we were.

MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes with Paragon Bindings, 25 Inch Pair, Cobalt Blue
  • Ultralight (4.33 lbs) technical snowshoes with superior traction for mountaineering, aggressive backcountry pursuits, and rugged terrain
  • 360-degree Traction Frames deliver edge-to-edge grip, especially on traverses, while durable steel DTX crampons provide serious bite on alpine steeps
  • Paragon bindings feature a one-piece contouring strap that wraps securely around boots, for a glove-like feel that eliminates rigid pressure points, and provides easy alignment and foot control
  • Ergo Televator heel lift bar flips up to increase uphill efficiency, provide help on steep ascents, and reduce fatigue
  • Snowshoes measure 8 x 25 inches, weigh 4.33 pounds/pair, and can carry up to a 220-pound load; bindings fit men’s shoes sizes 4.5-15; made in the USA

This is about the time the sun really started to shine and we were able to take some stunning photos. There were some huge Ponderosa Pines in this area. Some have been killed by the beatles, but there are still some massive Ponderosas.

Ponderosa PInes

We were able to get some incredible photos of the canyons as we came back down the trail.

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring Creek Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring Creek Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring Creek Trail

My son found a way to make a snowball snowing device out of a stick, that looked more like an axe.

Axe Snow Throwing Device

This turned out to be a spectacular day with the sun out, but one of the nice things was being able to take a relaxing drive through the mountains to the trail.

Trail Recommendations

I love visiting and different parts of Colorado and I had never been to this area, so it was time to take a longer drive and see the Rocky Mountains west of Fort Collins.

This trail would be better hiked in the summer months, as the creek is truly roaring and gorgeous.

If you take this trail in the winter, make sure to have ICETrekkers, Trekking Poles and Snowshoes.

Lunch after the Hike

On the way home we found this great restaurant, called the Mishawaka, along the Cache La Poudre River. It is a popular mountain restaurant so make sure you stop and enjoy a little piece of the Rocky Mountain flavor.

Mishawaka Restaurant

If you would like to see more of the Roaring Creek trail, then Check out this short video of the trail on YouTube.

I would love to know if you have had any experience on this trail or have other trails you love to hike. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.

 

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Roaring Creek Trail

8

Scenic Drive

8.0/10

Accessibility

10.0/10

Mountain Views

7.0/10

Lake or Stream Views

7.0/10

Well Maintained Trails

8.0/10

Pros

  • Easy Access
  • Incredible Drive
  • Mountain Views
  • Drive Through Canyon on Trip
  • Lightly Traveled Trail

Cons

  • Best Views of Hike Near the Beginning of Trail

6 thoughts on “Hiking Trails in Colorado | Roaring Creek Trail”

  1. Hey, Your Hiking Trails in Colorado is very awesome for everyone. Roaring Creek Trail is really very beautiful trail. I enjoy while reading and watching your trail. Now I know few things we must have while going on trail. MSR Lightning Ascent Backcountry & Mountaineering Snowshoes with Paragon Bindings, 25 Inch Pair, Cobalt Blue & LEKI Micro Vario Carbon Pole Pair. 

    Keep the grate work up for traveler like me.

    1. You are so welcome. It’s interesting how you can think you’re prepared for an outdoor adventure, only to find out you’re still missing a few important pieces of gear.

      Oh well, sometimes it’s best to learn as we go.

      Rick

  2. Hello; before I even say something about the trail itself. The photos are fantastic. How you were able to take such clear photos, that show every little detail of their location? 

    At the trail’s entrance where the truck is parked, wow; it gives a natural invitation of the Trail, but because I am a tropical dweller, I really would prefer that trail during the summer months. 

    Your Son making that Ice Ax with a stick shows that the trail is comfortable in winter for those who used to the climate. Standing there with his snow ax, he shows so much comfort.

    DorcasW

    1. Hi Dorcas, I agree the trail would be better suited for the summer months, and the the creek would truly be roaring.

      I love the tropics also but I have grown up in the mountains so this is my first love in the outdoors.

      The weather in Colorado is not as bad in the winter as many people think. The main thing is to have the right gear, then everything feels a little better.

      Oh, and for the pictures…I have the iPhone 11 Max, which does have an improved camera. My son is using a GoPro 8 Black, and I’ll be picking up one of those soon.

      Rick

  3. This is really an amazing trail especially it’s beautiful scenery that you can take advantage of for some beautiful photo coverage. I can see you always visit every trail before you take the time to made known your experiences to us which is awesome.

    This help us to have good preparations and to avoid eventualities. The three things you mentioned about having like ICETrekkers, trekking poles and snowshoes are all very important when going on a trail.

    1. Thanks Leon. You’re right, every trail on hikingtrailsincolorado.com is one that I have hiked. It’s the same principal I have on my hiking emergency beacon site. I don’t do in depth reviews until I buy the satellite messenger or personal locator beacon. I’m always amazed at how much more I learn when I hike the trail first or buy the emergency beacon and actually see how it works on the trail.

      The other thing you mentioned is the gear I recommended. I don’t tell people about the gear that’s needed until I’m on the trail and realize or know it’s important. 

      Thanks for being so observant.

      Rick

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