Explore the best trails near Bailey with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
dogs on leash
Tips to find the trailhead -- its easy to miss! Our car clocked 2,9 miles from the entrance sign at Geneva Park Campground, but there isn't a recognizable parking area and the small sign is on the right in the trees facing away from you as you go up the dirt road. We went passed it and didn't see the sign until we were driving back down (on the left as you go down). We'll be back to hike it - it ended up starting to snow so hard we decided to save it for a better day.
Great trail -- we started at the pass and hiked five miles in to the junction of Abyss trail. Note if you start at the pass, at 1 mile in there is a sharp left turn to stay on the trail (what you came on so far goes straight.) Look for the tall poles and follow them down the hill to the creek and beyond. Fantastic views and very quiet on a sunny Thursday.
Just finished this hike today. Lots of snow on the trail but still can hike it with just hiking boots. The aspens have golden leaves at lower elevation but are blown off all the trees as you gain elevation. Continued on trail past the summit down the Rock Creek Drainage area for about 30 minutes. I wanted to see the old lumber camp. Didn't make it. Clouds started rolling in. I found the trail south of the summit was spotty in some areas but cairns do help. I have driven by this trail many times and never dreamed it would be so challenging.
Qualifier: I am 64 years old, so younger legs may do better than mine. A mixed review: a picturesque trail, with a jackpot of views at the Continental Divide, including a nice view of Rosalie, and huge Bristlecone Pine trees. The downside: although the first mile is OK, the middle three miles are a near-constant scree of exposed roots and jumbled rocks, together with tons of ankle-rollers. I have nothing against horses, don't mind the Trail biscuits, but the trail is so hoof-pounded that much of the trail really is a HORSE trail. I'll probably hike it again sometime in the future, but I'm not a fan of all the rocks.
Nice trail. Way off the beaten path. Very few other hikers. Nowhere is the trail marked Rosedale Peak but you can find. The "peak" wasn't too exciting, view was OK but not great for a 2,300 ft gain in elevation. Will need to guess trail direction in a few places but we managed it pretty well.
A great trail. Arrived at TH 7:30am. Didn't see another human until 11.
The climb is constant, but mild. A few scraggly spots. The ambiance is from the trail. Not a lot of great vistas.
I never did get to the end of the trail. After 6.2 miles I was at the summit which is a nice mountain meadow. The trail continued, I did not. On the way down met more people. In all, saw maybe 10 people. No horses or bikes. And lots of varied terrain. Got a touch of altitude sickness. You get up to 12k feet. A great Sunday hike!
If you think this trail is "moderate" you didn't hike far enough. We took it to the CT, 12.7 miles, on an OAB hike and yeah, it's a killer. The Wilderness sign-in box is 3.2 miles up, according to my GPS. The box is where the tougher part begins. Until that point, you could push a wheel chair up it. From 3 miles in to 12.7 miles deep, this thing goes up and down like a prom... er... nevermind. This'n here cranks out big gains and then losses, over and over again, whilst traversing beautiful valleys and wider-than-usual-trail-width-creeks. No, it doesn't go anywhere important, but it'll burn about 6,000 calories and ache oh-soooo good for a few days. It'll take 10 hours of straight humping, but in the end you'll have earned yourself about 5600 ft. of gains and losses over the course of 25 miles OAB. You can literally then go home and eat the entire house down, and still be ahead in the morning.
You's a hiker, ain't ya?
Like all Colorado trails, one must get more than three miles out to know anything about the trail. The first three miles of Payne Creek will weed out the weekenders, undoubtedly. This ain't Mt. Bierstadt, with wheelchair accessible trails and burrito salesmen at 6 AM. This is out-there-alone-hiking. Of course, you ain't really alone, are you? The piles of bears*** every quarter mile will remind you of that. This trail is what I refer to as, "a hump."
It's a steady hike up for three miles, meandering through bear country and mountain lion paradise before you come to "The Road."
As another reviewer stated, The Road is no joke. It's about 1.7 miles of steep uphill hiking. It's unrelenting. (-and undoubtedly the reason why we only saw one group of badass middle-aged women, and one well-dressed family, who had a fantastic hatter and clever accents, beyond that treacherous hill) The Road is rocky, like a creek bed, but as wide as an old logging road. The real joy is, you get it both ways. As soon as one finally summit's that sonbitch, one begins a steep hump down it. This is all fine and dandy on the way out. On the way back, it's Kilimanjaro.
We set out for the CT. I had to guess that it was about 10 miles out, one way. In all the reviews, I couldn't find anyone who could talk about distances beyond the first five or so, miles. I don't get many days to hike, so like some-a'-you, I want it to hurt for a few days when it's over. I want to go far and fast. I want it to hurt like hell on the way back.
Brookside/McCurdy trail winds on for a little over a mile before Payne Creek splits off. It's a hard-hard left, and in the dark you could miss it. It was about 9.7 miles from the Brookside/McCurdy Trailhead sign, to the Colorado Trail/Payne Creek Trail sign, so maybe just over 8 miles on Payne Creek, from start to finish? Regardless, it's awesome. It's a great dog-trail, with plenty of water and shade. The trail is mostly softish, but it's rocky too. As far as camping, there are some super-cool spots (perhaps illegally close to the water, but too far out there for anyone to police it) just waiting to be taken.
So, here's my summary. Payne Creek is 8ish miles on somewhat predicable 9000-10000 ft trails, but stunningly beautiful for it. A 20-miler on PCT will put you down for a day or so, in that -oh-you-hurt-me-so-good kind of way. Push up that 1.7 miles of hot torment and see the part no one else is talking about.