Trail Name: Roaring Creek 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
My Day on the Trail
We were the only ones at the trailhead this early Saturday morning in January.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
We were able to get some incredible photos of the canyons as we came back down the trail.
My son found a way to make a snowball snowing device out of a stick, that looked more like an axe.
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.
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.
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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