Explore the most popular forest trails in Rio Grande National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Would be a really slow, long drive to the trailhead if you don’t have an SUV. Road is really rocky. But the hike is quick and the falls are beautiful. We took off our shoes once we got to the creek.

When I looked into people photos and saw the beautiful formation rocks. I decided to check it out. Its about two hrs atv to there. The road wasn’t that bad but long drive. When my wife and I get there we hike there looked around it’s beautiful as it said. The bad part was not enough trails to go around all the formations rocks. There only two place where you can see upper on the hillside and lower by the creek. To me not worthy the time.

hiking
6 days ago

This trail head is difficult to find and when you do it is busy with Jeep & 4 wheelin’ vehicles. Dust in your face, rocky, nothing very scenic to justify the climb. Too many other good trails to experience in CO.

hiking
9 days ago

Excellent short hike to scenic waterfall. I recommend bringing hiking poles and a change of shoes if going into the creek to see the falls. The water in the creek is quite cold.

hiking
12 days ago

very easy hike with great payoff!!! The falls are hidden and fun to get to through the river. if you are careful, you can step on rocks and avoid having to step in the cold water. my boyfriend and I both left with totally dry shoes and socks. road to get to trailhead was definitely rough for low clearance vehicles with normal tires, take it slow and it's not impossible

hiking
14 days ago

We hiked 4.5 miles up for a round trip of 9 miles. We were the only ones on the trail. If you love aspens the lower elevations are full of amazing aspen groves. Got into an amazing thicket that was prime bear habitat-decently fresh poop on the trail. Didn’t seem like this trail was used too much at all-pretty overgrown, but easy to get through. Got steep and loose rock where we turned around.

The trail is a nice walk to the dam. As of 6-15-2018 the reservoir has been drained for work on the dam. The Los Pinos stream is a good place to fly fish.

hiking
27 days ago

Great stop on the way to Great Sand Dunes if you have the time. The river was flooded when I visited, but the trail has wide open views of the mountains, valleys, and dunes, and the falls are worth the little climb to get to them.

nice little hike and beautiful falls

The falls are amazing, heed all advice regarding footwear.
The road up is 3 miles of extremely rough terrain.
I saw all sorts of cars, slow going.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this trail on Aug 5. Took us about 1 hr and 45 min total with young children. There's a bathroom at the TH, and about 18-20 parking spots in the main lot plus a lot more along the road and in another parking lot plus a picnic area with its own parking lot. There are a lot of benches along the way up the trail. It is a "hot" trail with not much real shade, mostly consisting of short trees, shrubs, and cactuses. Nice views of the sand dunes and the Sangre de Cristo Mtns including the Crestone Needles. Bring water shoes and a small towel--it was definitely nice to have warm, dry socks and shoes to slip back into after walking in the ICY, numbing water! The water level was about ankle deep in most places. Fun, but our young boys didn't enjoy getting their feet so cold. The falls with the cave were definitely neat!

great little jont to the falls!! walking the falls was great wish i had my rain boots!

A+++

Since the hiking trail doesn't come up easily when looking for hikes near Creede, but the road does, I wanted to include my review here too. This hike is 16 miles. The trail portion is 5 miles. It then connects to the road for another 2. After 7 miles you reach the information area about the eroded rocks. It's another mile to walk anywhere near the rocks. The forest is dead from beetle kill. The trail is not hard, just long. But having to hike 16 miles just to see the rocks made me think I would have rather backpacked in so I would have the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll around the rocks whose views is obscured by dead trees. Or in a day, I think it would be better to rent a RZR or horseback. If the forest weren't dead, perhaps I would have enjoyed the hike a bit more. I've hiked the whole CT so its not about not enjoying the scenery, it's just with a particular idea in mind, the rocks aren't visible for some time. More info and pics at https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/07/30/things-to-do-in-creede/

This hike is 16 miles. The trail portion is 5 miles. It then connects to the road for another 2. After 7 miles you reach the information area about the eroded rocks. It's another mile to walk anywhere near the rocks. The forest is dead from beetle kill. The trail is not hard, just long. But having to hike 16 miles just to see the rocks made me think I would have rather backpacked in so I would have the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll around the rocks whose views is obscured by dead trees. Or in a day, I think it would be better to rent a RZR or horseback. If the forest weren't dead, perhaps I would have enjoyed the hike a bit more. I've hiked the whole CT so its not about not enjoying the scenery, it's just with a particular idea in mind, the rocks aren't visible for some time. More info and pics at https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/07/30/things-to-do-in-creede/

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this trip on 6/11/18. The number of dead trees was concerning, both for having to find a place to pitch a tent that wasn't surround by dead trees ready to topple over, and also the fact the downed trees conceal the trail, particularly on the loop around the formations. GPS said the trail was 8 miles to tbe loop. Lots of campsites at the boundary, but also lots of ATV traffic in and out all afternoon at the end of the trail. Mostly had the whole night and morning in Wheeler to myself, which made it worth it. A nice moderate hike to a cool place.

The 4WD was rough but certainly worth the drive. The road was free of trees aside from a few moved to the side but still wide enough for vehicles and ATVs. Some downed trees on hiking trail near Wheeler but not enough to be a major problem. Amazing views and terrain at the end of the upper trail to the bench.

Road is super bad! If u don’t have a GREAT 4WD vehicle, ur gonna have to hike a lot of the road and it is hard. Southwest ridge was awesome!! Def combo w Blanca.

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely worth the BUMPY ride up to the trailhead.

Beware! The reservoir is pretty empty as of July 21!!

When we went July 2018 the reservoir was pretty much all mud and empty

backpacking
2 months ago

It is very steep and rocky. The hike is hard and the only water source was 1.5 miles from the lake. A great lake and very quiet and beautiful, but HHHHHAAARD if you ware backpacking. At least I know I can backpack now but it was brutal in the sun before the monsoon season.

hiking
2 months ago

Just hiked this trail with my 6 year old son and he had a blast! We saw some wildlife driving in as well as while on the hike. There is a lot of beetle kill timber all around the lake and I did not see but a few fish make a splash. It is a pretty hike with lots of flowers and is great for young children. Just be sure and watch out for all the dead timber.

hiking
2 months ago

This is an awesome short hike with great payoff. A few tips:
-the road up to the trailhead gets a bad rap, but I didn't find it to be too bad. I managed fine in my 2WD Ford Fusion. Just go slowly (5-10 mph max) and choose your line carefully. The road is plenty wide, so you have a lot of options to avoid the larger rocks. There are a few ruts in the road, but we didn't bottom out. Low and slow!
-The hike up to the river isn't difficult, but note that you do have to wade in the river to reach the falls; you can't see them from the trail. Tevas, Chacos, or similar might be better than shoes/boots. My water proof boots were great until I had to wade in water up to my mid-calf!
-If you feel like extending the hike, you could take the turn off to South Zapata Lake. The hike to the lake is long, but there are some old mining cabin ruins about 1 mile above the falls. The sign for this portion of the trail turnoff is misplaced (it must have fallen over), but the well-defined trail is on the right just before you reach the river crossing.

Enjoy!

fishing
2 months ago

Elusive Native cut throats ♥

Suggest a SUV, AWD vehicle for ride up to trailhead. Once there, nice little rocky hike to falls. Wear the appropriate shoes (sandals) to make it into the inner walls of the cave/falls. Sweet little adventure. Highly recommend

hiking
2 months ago

Uphill, rocky hike. Pretty quick trip, took a while to drive up the rocky mountain in our scion tc but we made it. Waded through the ice cold creek to the falls. Definitely wear hiking boots or Teva’s if planning to go all the way to the falls (you can’t see it from dry land)

hiking
2 months ago

Agree with the last poster that the first 2/3rds are very hot with little shade if you park at the base of the mountain. Next time I will rent a jeep and go up further up to the larger tree area. Hiked up and saw multiple shallow lakes all the way to Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point. Beautiful. Little Bear peak is also in the same vicinity, but more technical. Camped out with perfect weather with low pressure system keeping the smoke out. Did not run into bears but saw big horn sheep and the usual suspects (marmots, deer, etc.). Definitely do this trip, but if you can start a bit higher than I did from the base.

hiking
2 months ago

Very easy hike, but the road getting there is extremely rough.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike with a heavy pack. I am not going to lie this trail challenged all my strength to get to the top. Keep in mind that I also hiked out from another lake the same morning that I made this hike. If you are a fan of fishing and I am, a fly-fisher who loves it.This was some of the best alpine lake fishing I have done so far.

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