Vallecito Creek Trail

MODERATE 81 reviews
#9 of 90 trails in

Vallecito Creek Trail is a 11.8 mile out and back trail located near Bayfield, Colorado and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.8 miles
1,512 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


6 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. The views of the canyon are sweeping and breathtaking. We didn’t make it to the bridge but saw some really great views after only hiking 2.5-3 miles in. There are parts of the creek that get pretty deep (5-6 feet) and you can swim easily. The elevation gain felt very minor.

The trailhead is located at the very end of the campgrounds but if you’re not using a campground for overnight camping you need to park at the beginning of the campground area and walk through the road leading to the campsites all the way to the end. You could also walk on the horse/hiking trail from the visitor parking area which eventually connects to the trailhead at the end of the campgrounds.

This was my favorite hike due to the leisurely pace, sweeping views, and how uncrowded it was (and we did ice lakes and highland mary lakes also).

8 days ago

gorgeous! my favorite hike

18 days ago

Spectacular canyon views above the river for the first 3 miles. Up and down terrain in both directions makes for a more balanced hike out and return.

1 month ago

Very nice hike, I made it to the 3rd bridge. Few trees down blocking path.

3 months ago

Beautiful. Not that hard pretty easy. Good for the whole family. I saw an older woman with a can walking it. I should say there is a part that has a small walking path next to a cliff not that bad though, there’s enough room that it’s not really bad plus it’s short. (:

5 months ago


My first time hiking this trail was late October 2017 with some friends my first time in Durango. It is one of my favorites in SW Colorado so far. TRAIL IS VERY ROCKY SO BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU STEP TO AVOID HURTING YOUR ANKLE OR FALLING.

The hike doesn't start off the best. From the parking lot you have to wander though the camp/picnic grounds to the actual trailhead, this path isn't well marked but just head east from the lot. One you get to the trailhead there is a decent amount of elevation gain up to a point where you will have a clear view of the creek. At first you will be walking high above the creek but after a few miles you will eventually be walking along the creek. Honestly isn't the most scenic hike but is quiet and you have the Vallecito Creek the whole way. I made it about 5 miles deep before turning around.

Lots of little waterfalls along the creek so Spring/Summer this would be an amazing hike to come and relax by the water.

As of now SNOWSHOES COULD HELP BUT ARE NOT NECESSARY!! Most of the snow was at the beginning in the camp/picnic grounds. One you get to the trail you are fine.

8 months ago

This is an amazing hike with views of Vallecito Creek running wild through the gorge. Tremendous whitewater and plenty of opportunities to sit and chill by the Creek. Has some ups and downs and the first bridge makes a good half day hike at about 3.7 miles each way.

8 months ago

Beautiful trail. Trail gets craggy in places so bringing along trekking poles may be a good idea.

9 months ago

loved it! was beautiful all the way around.

10 months ago

Love this trail! Good climb right off the bat with great canyon scenery. Then you wind next to and over the creek. Good camping options beyond 4 miles in... can't wait to explore further!

11 months ago

Wow! I hiked this trail solo as my psuedo vision quest 8/27-8/31. the first day started at vallecito trailhead and ended at johnson creek junction. It was appx 9 miles and wasn't too difficult. Day 2 was from johnson creek / vallecito creek junction up the johnson creek trail to Columbine lake. This was when the lungs and legs were on fire. A ton of switchbacks and it was VERY warm that day. VERY IMPORTANT, at the second major creek crossing of johnson creek, load up with water because there is VERY little until you reach the lake. Day 3 was day hiking from Columbine lake as a base. Went up to columbine pass and then a few hours north to Jupiter Mtn. Great views of Vallecito basin and Chicago Basin the entire time. Days 4-5 were spend backtracking to route. While I saw lots of signs of bears, I never saw any actual bears. Plenty of elk and mule deer. overall great trip with tons of breathtaking sights along the way!

11 months ago

one if our favorite hikes in this area. wild flowers on June are beautiful. we have seen kayakers run the river/stream along here when the water us high.

11 months ago

Great trail! Rating as 'moderate' is accurate. First bridge is only about 1 mile in, second is about 3.25 miles in. We didnt make is to the bridge supposedly about 7 miles in...great trails tho! Adventure on!

11 months ago

Loved this trail! Did it with kids strapped to us so it made it a pretty good workout. Such pretty views without having to hike too far in which was nice. Bridge, waterfalls, cliffs.

Monday, August 07, 2017

This is moderate to hard trail, with very rocky parts.

Curious how far the bridges are from the trail head?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I would call this trail easy and not moderate, but despite that, it is an absolutely stunning trail. I went on an overcast and rainy day and felt I was in the Pacific northwest. Not many places in Colorado look like this, with ferns, Spanish moss, and towering cliff sides lining the trail, it's a real gem.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hi Folks!
Lots of fine hikers out there in the Weminuche. I plan to do a 50 mile hike beginning next Monday. My friend and I will begin using the Vallecito Creek Trail, which, by the way, is not just an 11.8 mile trail. The trail runs 18.1 miles from, south to north, Vallecito Campground Trailhead to Nebo Junction. At the Junction, you can continue approx. another 1.5 miles north on the CDT to Hunchback Pass or head east on the CDT to Nebo Pass. Either way, vistas abound! Safe travels.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Awesome day hike

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Worth the scenic views

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Nice hike. Only hiked half way. Recommend it. Lots of hikers on this trail. Beautiful views

Saturday, May 27, 2017

JA Luc did you run into any snow on your hike?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Had a great time on this hike up to the second bridge and back! The views off the trail down into the gorge are amazing!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Great trail had limited time covered
6.75 miles in 2 1/2 hours

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lovely and quiet although it looks as though it gets busy in the summer. We went in April. Awesome time to go because the weather is cool (check for rain) and the bugs are minimal.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My roommate and I used to live 20 minutes away from the trailhead this was an easy afternoon hike for us even if we didn't do the whole 11 miles. The first 11 miles is easy relatively flat and pretty. We did this hike with the intention of crossing over to into Chicago basin via the trail used to access Windom Peak. We completed this hike in August 2016.
After you pass the foot bridges and waterfalls the trail begins to wind through trees and intermittent meadows, while staying at a very comfortable elevation HOWEVER about 15-20 miles in there is a footbridge that's been washed out. the river crossing is doable but dangerous, as any river crossing is. I'm not going to go into to much detail but I will say this. The climb from the valley up to the point of crossing over into Chicago basin is rough. around 4,000 feet gain for I would guess 5-7 miles. This makes it a rather difficult hike but well worth it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

My sister and I did a day hike on the Vallecito trail back in mid-may. It's a beautiful trail, and definitely one of the more trafficked trails in the area. Unfortunately, about 4 miles in, there was still a lot of snow blocking the trails, so we had to turn back earlier than anticipated. Would love to do this trail in the summertime.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Beautiful views

Friday, July 15, 2016

A great trail with lots of sight views

Friday, July 01, 2016

Beautiful trail starts high above the creek (700'). then descends to the creek and onto a waterfall with a bridge across the creek.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

One of my favorites for a casual day hike in and out. Interesting terrain along a beautiful river.

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