Swamp Canyon Trail

HARD 4 reviews

Swamp Canyon Trail is a 4.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ophir, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

4.8 miles
2,024 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing








wild flowers





The trail starts just to the east of the town of Ophir and climbs up to the top of Swamp Canyon. You have the option to climb U.S. Grant Peak, South Lookout Peak, or continue over the pass to Island Lake and Ice Lakes Basin. Beautiful views from the top.

1 month ago

A hidden gem in my opinion. Packed in and camped at the top of the lower valley. Had the Canyon to ourselves. As others have said, the trail is not well marked.
For day hike, we scrambled up the drainage and eventually met up with another trail that follows the perimeter. Learned that this trail can be found if you take a right turn on to a single-trek trail off the main road you come in on. The trail was a saving grace after scrambling through the scree field. Be prepared for quick weather changes at this time of the year.
Eventually scrambled to the saddle for a view of Island Lake. All in all, a beautiful Labor Day adventure.

2 months ago

Awesome hike. Scramble up the saddle and drop into island and ice lakes.

3 months ago

The start of the trail is accurate, and we drove (high clearance 4x4) up to a gate prior to the true trailhead.

Followed what seems to be an old mining/now USFS road all the way up past marshlands (past cairn-designated trail off to the right that shows on this app but is not named) into the basin before realizing we were actually on a local single track trail. Could not find the shown Swamp Canyon trail past this point - The single track turns back toward Ophir Pass and we wanted to go further up the basin to summit the pass and look over to Island Lake. So we bushwhacked up to the point where we ran across the previous cairn-designated trail we’d decided against.

Following this up to the pass, the last mile is loose scree. The scramble up and over the pass is exactly that - take a hard look at it! We spent over an hour getting up and down this short section and while the views are beautiful, it wasn’t exactly safe or designated route. There’s a reason the highlighted Swamp Canyon trail ends well before the summit of the pass!

Overall, beautiful adventure of a morning. Tons of wildflowers, columbine everywhere in the lower meadows, lots of waterfalls and creeks flowing.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

This is an absolutely beautiful drainage just to the east of the town of Ophir. Endless opportunities for ski touring in the winter. In the summer, it is great for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. You can also hike over the pass at the top of the drainage into Ice Lakes Basin to make a longer through hike.