Medicine Bow - Routt National Forests
With over a million acres covering more than 1600 square miles; 65% public land; lakes, rivers and reservoirs that attract and support unique and abundant wildlife; and access to five of Colorado’s most rugged and pristine wilderness areas – North Park lies at the center of a minimally used and amazingly untapped recreation universe.
North Park, Colorado, Jackson County, Northwest Colorado, Walden, Rand, Cowdrey, Coalmont, Gould, moose, moose capital, fishing, trout, wildlife, birding, elk, hunting, deer, Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Never Summer Wilderness, Platte River Wilderness, Rawah Wilderness, Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, TransAmerica Trail, Cache La Poudre Byway, North Park Scenic Byway, Colorado State Forest State Park, Continental Divide Scenic Trail, Great Parks Bicycle Route, Headwaters, North Platte River, Hidden Lakes, Lake Teal, Lake Tiago, Rainbow Lakes, Agua Fria Lake, Big Horn Lake, Big Creek Lake, Lake John, Delaney Butte Lakes, Cowdrey Lake, Michigan Reservoir, Meadow Creek Reservoir, Seymour Reservoir, Slack Weiss Reservoir, Park Range, Rabbit Ears Range, Never Summer Mountains, Medicine Bow Mountains, Arapaho Pass, Ute Pass, Cameron Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, Willow Creek Pass, Milner Pass, Northgate Canyon, North Platte Nature Trail, Museum, North Sand Hills Recreation Area, Routt National Forest, Teller City Ghost Town, heritage, Colorado history, ranching, rafting, kayaking, OHV, ATV, Jeep, off road trails, mountain biking, biking, winter, skiing, snowboarding, backcountry skiing, snow, yurts, motorized, snowmobiling
347243
page-template-default,page,page-id-347243,page-child,parent-pageid-347076,eltd-cpt-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,north park custom-child-ver-1.0.0,moose-ver-1.3.1, vertical_menu_with_scroll,blog_installed,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.2.1,vc_responsive

Medicine Bow – Routt National Forests

Unless otherwise indicated, stated trail length and elevation gain/loss is one-way (to destination) and recommended season of use is Summer and Fall. Detailed information, seasonal recommendations, and updated regulations available at Parks Ranger District Visitor Center, 100 Main St., Walden, CO, 970-723-2700.

 

Easy to Moderate Trails
Blue Lake (Easy) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 2 miles. Amount of use: Moderate. Elevation Gain: est. 755 ft. Access: CR 12W from Hwy 125-14 near Walden, left on CR 16 past Lone Pine Ranch, west on FDR 640 to Lone Pine Trailhead, follow FDT 1126 north to Blue Lake Trail. Notes: Blue Lake is nestled in a beautiful cirque and provides fishing for brook and lake trout. Very few view points along trail. (Boettcher Lake Quad)

 

Lake Katherine #1157 (Easy) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 0.9 miles. Amount of use: Heavy. Elevation Gain: est. 450 ft. Access: CR 12W from Hwy 125-14 near Walden, left on CR 16 past Lone Pine Ranch, west on FDR 640 to Katherine Lake Trailhead. Notes: Lake Katherine is turquoise in color because of the suspension of glacial dust (rock flour) in the water. Popular, so opportunity for solitude is low. Fishing is poor, although huge mackinaw are said to lurk in the lake’s deepest holes up to 115 ft. in depth. (Mt Ethel and Mt Zirkel Quads)

 

Main Fork Encampment #1152 (Easy) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 12.2 miles. Amount of use: Moderate. Elevation Gain: est. 1360 ft. from Encampment Trailhead to Continental Divide. Access: CR 6W west from Cowdrey past Pearl left on CR 6B/FDR 80, west to Commissary Park, left on FDR 82, “new” trailhead. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, ample parking for horse trailers and new toilet facility at trailhead. Follow trail across river, through lodgepole, Engelmann spruce, and subalpine fir forests. 1890s cabins present from railroad tie-cutting days. (West Fork Lake, Davis Peak, and Mt Zirkel Quads)

 

West Fork Encampment #1153 (Easy) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 8.1 miles. Amount of use: Moderate. Elevation Gain: est. 990 ft. from junction with Main Fork Encampment Trail to junction east of West Fork Lake. Access: CR 6W west from Cowdrey past Pearl left on CR 6B/FDR 80, west to Commissary Park, left on FDR 82, “new” trailhead. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, ample parking for horse trailers and new toilet facility at trailhead. Trail maintains slight grade to 1 mile before West Fork Lake, then climbs steeply. Water and horse forage available, numerous campsites, some opportunity for solitude. (West Fork Lake and Davis Peak Quads)

 

Moderate to Difficult Trails/Climbs
Arapahoe Ridge #1135 (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback/Mountain Bike. Length: 10.1 miles. Amount of use: Light. Elevation Gain: est. 200 ft. from FDR 700 to end of FDR721 near Grassy Run Creek. Access: CR 11 near Hebron east from Hwy 14 and south to forest boundary. South along FDR700 past Bundy Park to trailhead. Notes: First 5 miles alternate between grassland and lodgepole pine. Near Hyannis Peak large burn area visible from fire set by Utes during an 1879 uprising that followed the Meeker Massacre. Steep switchbacks to Continental Divide. Trail difficult to follow, branches at top of ridge, east fork to Sheep Mountain and Long’s Lake, north fork down to Grassy Run. (Buffalo Peak, Hyannis Peak, and Rand Quads)

 

Bear Creek #1180 (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 4 miles. Season of use: Amount of use: Moderate to Heavy. Elevation Gain: est. 1880 ft. Access: CR 12W from Hwy 125-14 near Walden, left on CR 16 past Lone Pine Ranch, west on FDR 640 to Lone Pine Trailhead. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area. Originates off Grizzly-Helena Trail and intersects Ute Pass Trail to loop around Bear Mountain. Also intersects with Bear Lakes Trail, which travels south to Bear Lakes and adequate fishing for native and brown trout. (Boettcher Lake and Mt Zirkel Quads)

 

Beaver Creek #1124 (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 5.44 miles. Amount of use: Moderate. Elevation Gain: est. 200 ft. from end of FDR 681 to Main Fork Trail, along main fork of Encampment River. Access: CR 6W from Cowdrey to Pearl, left on FDR 600 to junction of FDR 689, right through Twisty Park, left at FDR 681 to Beaver Creek Trailhead. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area and provides good access to the wilderness, especially for groups with horses who want to avoid more heavily used trails. Trail climbs at a moderate grade and alternately parallels Beaver Creek, travels through old growth lodgepole forests and open meadows, and drops down steeply to main fork of Encampment River, which is known for its outstanding fisheries and numerous campsites. (Davis Peak Quad)

 

Bighorn Lake #1040 (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 1.3 miles. Amount of use: Heavy. Elevation Gain: est. 800 ft. Access: CR 12W from Hwy 125-14 near Walden, left on CR 16 past Lone Pine Ranch, west on FDR 640 to Katherine Lake Trailhead. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area. Easy to follow, some sections steep and difficult for horses. Follow Lone Pine Trail and Katherine Lake Trail to just before it crosses Lone Pine Creek. Trail/path to Bighorn Lake is primitive with a few blazes on trees that mark the way. Turquoise blue in color, Bighorn is popular destination and campsites are limited. Fishing is good, with huge mackinaw lurking amidst deep holes more than 115 feet deep. (Pitchpine Mtn, Mt Ethel, Mt Zirkel, and Boettcher Lake Quads)

 

Bowen Pass #1136 (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback (not recommended). Length: .8 miles. Amount of use: Light. Elevation Gain: est. 280 ft. Access: CR 21 north from Hwy 125 just south of Rand to FDR 740, east on FDR 750 along Illinois River to Illinois River Trailhead. Bowen Pass Trail branches off FDT 1141 as it reaches Farview Mtn. Notes: This trail lies in the Never Summer Wilderness and traverses a talus slope along its entirety. No campsites, water scarce, not recommended for horses, opportunity for solitude. Trail very rocky, but almost level after a quick climb from upper Illinois River Trailhead. Views include peaks along Continental Divide and historic timber operations. (Bowen Mountain Quad)

 

Buffalo Ridge #1151 to Seven Lakes/Davis Peak (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 8.1 miles. Amount of use: Light to Moderate. Elevation Gain: est. 1010 ft. from Buffalo Ridge Trailhead to Seven Lakes. Access: CR 6W from Cowdrey to past Pearl, left on CR 6B/FDR 80, west toward Buffalo Park, left on FDR 682 to Buffalo Ridge Trailhead. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area and is very steep in a few places. Water is scarce along top of ridge and on Davis Peak. Fishing at lakes, good chance to observe elk, trail difficult to follow as it crosses saddle just east of peak, steep ascent. (Davis Peak Quad)

 

Fryingpan Basin #1127 (Easy to Difficult) – Open to Foot/Horseback (not recommended parts of trail). Length: 2.7 miles, 3.5 miles (undeveloped). Amount of use: Light. Elevation Gain: est. 1120 ft. from start of Fryingpan Basin Trail to point where trail enters Fryingpan Basin, est. 3040 ft. to end of undeveloped route at Red Dirt Pass. Access: CR 6W from Cowdrey to Pearl, left on CR 6A/FDR 600 to Big Creek Lakes Campground, left at lake, FDR 660 to Helena Trailhead, south on FDT #1126 to Fryingpan Basin Trail. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, not maintained past Fryingpan Basin. A few cairns mark route to Red Dirt Pass, several rocky areas, horseback not recommended. From pass easy climb to Mt. Zirkel and Flattop Mountain. High degree of solitude and good opportunity to view wildlife. (Boettcher Lake and Mt Zirkel Quads)

 

Gem Lake #1152.2A (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback. Length: 1.1 miles. Amount of use: Light. Elevation Gain: est. 560 ft. from main fork of Encampment River to Gem Lake. Access: CR 6W from Cowdrey to Pearl, left on FDR 600 Big Creek Lakes Campground, take Trail #1125 West Seven Lakes to Main Fork Trail #1125, go south to Gem Lake Trail. Notes: This trail lies in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness Area and has several washed out areas. Water is available, but campsites and horse forage areas are scarce. A moderate climb through old growth Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir forests make panoramic views nonexistent. Gem Lake, however, lies in a pretty setting just below the Continental Divide, fishing is good, and relatively light use affords chances for solitude. (Davis Peak Quad)

 

Grimes Peak #58 (Moderate) – Open to Foot/Horseback/Mountain Bike (check with Ranger District to verify). Length: 8 miles. Amount of use: Moderate. Elevation Gain: est. 120 ft. from Matheson Reservoir to forest boundary. Access: FDR 106 from Hwy 125, 4 miles south of Rand, to FDR 730, right about 1 mile, left on FDR 107 to end, trail down to Matheson Reservoir. Notes: This trail lies in the Troublesome Area where motorized vehicles are prohibited. Trail climbs ridge to Grimes Peak, mostly in trees. Very popular during hunting season. (Gunsight Pass and Hyannis Peak Quads)