Vallecito Creek Trail

MODERATE 113 reviews
#10 of 114 trails in

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

Distance: 11.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,512 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

waterfall

rocky

Trailhead is in the parking lot just outside the campgrounds. The trail travels around the campground and starts again. The trail is well marked with a small elevation gain. It follows right along the river allowing you access to the water.

11 days ago

incredibly beautiful views

13 days ago

This is a spectacular trail with high cliff s, creek and waterfall views.

hiking
13 days ago

Everything a hike should be!

hiking
14 days ago

someone needs to re-walk this trail. we were never so far off the all trails path listed as we were here. very rocky. it was pretty on the paths we were on but it wasnt close to the path.

the trail was so beautiful we all enjoyed our hike

16 days ago

Basically have to stop at the first bridge right now. I walked across the sketchy tree to get to the bridge but less than 5 minutes past the bridge the water is flowing and covering the trail to the point where it cannot be walked across as the current could easily knock you off your feet.

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful hike along the river. It does take a good drive from Bayfield to get there but paved the whole way. Wasn’t muddy at all. Second mile of hike is warm. There are no trees for that mile walking up rocks. We turned around at 3.5 there is a tree you can go across to get to first bridge but it is a good 4 feet above roaring water.

hiking
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Great hike! A few muddy and snow covered spots to traverse, but overall a great hike.

hiking
rocky
snow
1 month ago

Hiked and camped this trail on May 12th 2019. I would rate this as easy/moderate difficulty. Slow gradual incline with uneven rocky areas along the trail. There are patches of snow along the lower trail near the creek but are easy to navigate. The trail is 3.1 miles long to the first bridge, 2.3 miles to the second bridge. There is a third bridge that is not functioning due to a previous avalanche, so to cross this you will have to ford the creek. We hiked to the first bridge and camped for the night. We would have gone further but ran out of daylight. Just to note, right before the first bridge, the trail was covered by a small creek which you’ll have to cross to reach the first bridge, or walk across a narrow log which has a 4-5 foot drop to the creek below. This rising creek might be due to snow melt but was our experience when we hiked. Overall this trail offers beautiful views of the mountains and the creek below. It’s a gorgeous hike and would definitely do it again!!

rocky
snow
1 month ago

One of our favorite hikes. Ran into a bit of snow in some shady areas, but could still navigate through. Beautiful views around every bend with the sound of rushing water as this trail keeps you constantly along the creek. Dog friendly.

hiking
snow
2 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful, relatively taxing hike through the canyon with spectacular views. Entire hike is along the river. 6 miles to second bridge. Good morning hike if you’re up and about early, otherwise plan for 1/2 day hike - roughly 4-5 hours - if you go to second bridge.

hiking
9 months ago

GORGEous trail. As long or short as you like (out & back). You run into fewer people the farther out you get. After you go up and up for a little while on some moderate switchbacks, you will descend down further into the gorge and will find access points to the river. Wonderful little lazy shady spots to enjoy from there up to the first bridge. Large boulders strewn throughout the river on which you can relax a while.

hiking
9 months ago

Loved this hike along the river. The water was so clear. We had the trail to ourselves and found a nice spot close to the first bridge where we stopped for lunch and dipped our toes in the water. There are good sized rocks and small boulders on most of the trail, so I would suggest good ankle supported boots. We turned around at the first bridge (3+ miles), which made a great day hike. Stopped at the Rusty Shovel on the way out for a brew. :-)

9 months ago

We hiked in about 6 miles, past twin bridges. Round trip, according to Map My Hike app, was 12.8 miles. Great views, with constant sound of water flow. There were lots of horse dung. we saw a couple with 5 horses walking back out. it was day after the Labor day so we didn't see any body else.

9 months ago

Great hike with beautiful views the whole way. We made it to the first bridge which is a little over 3 miles and it made for a good day hike.

hiking
9 months ago

The trailhead is in the parking lot just outside the campgrounds. The trail skirts around the campground and starts again. The trail is well marked and traveled with a easy hike up a slight elevation gain. In places it will follow right along the river allowing you access to the water. We only went to Twin Bridges which was approximately 8 miles round trip. Beautiful scenery and an easy hike for all levels.

hiking
9 months ago

Only made it to the first major bridge that is about 3 miles in but it was an absolutely beautiful hike. Got caught in a hail storm for a couple of minutes but that didn’t ruin it for the family. The first bridge is a good place to stop if you just want to do a short day hike. Hoping to do overnight camping in the trails later.

10 months ago

Love it!

10 months 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).

10 months ago

gorgeous! my favorite hike

10 months 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.

hiking
11 months ago

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

hiking
Monday, May 07, 2018

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. (:

hiking
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

HIKED ON SUNDAY MARCH 4, 2018 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.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

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.

hiking
Monday, November 27, 2017

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

hiking
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

loved it! was beautiful all the way around.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

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!

backpacking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

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!

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