The Colorado Trail Chalk Creek Trailhead to US-50

Salida, Colorado 81201

The Colorado Trail Chalk Creek Trailhead to US-50

The Colorado Trail: Chalk Creek Trailhead to US-50 Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This segment travels through the southern end of the Sawatch Range. Although there are still several fourteeners nearby (Antero, Shavano & Tabeguache), the CT takes a much less rigorous route through the area.

After the initial climb of 900 feet in the first 1.5 mile to get out of the Chalk Creek Valley, the CT ambles along between the 9,000 and 10,000-foot levels for the next 16 miles, before starting a descent to US50. Water sources are not quite as frequent as in previous sections, but there is still plenty of it. Good campsites are not a problem either. So, amble along and enjoy the great views of the lower Arkansas valley and the northern Sangre de Cristo Range."

The Colorado Trail: Chalk Creek Trailhead to US-50 Trip Reports

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The Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF)knows how to keep this trail perfect. On 2-6 Jul 2006, our Boy Scout group backpacked segments 15 and 14 Northbound. For all but one of the scouts, this was their first backpacking trek, and first time on a mountain trail. We had planned the trip for 6 months and utilized the Trail Guide and printed maps from the Official CD.
What an absolutely wonderful experience! The youth were able to easily navigate the trail using the maps and their compasses. The trail was well marked and exceptionally well maintained. We walked right through a trail crew camp and we were especially impressed by all the newly completed work on the trail and switchbacks from Raspberry Gulch to Chalk Creek. All the folks we met on the trail were friendly and courteous (outside a few ATV drivers trying to run the trail in the Marshall Pass area). The mountain Bikers pulled off for our group whenever the trail was single-track with smiles and greetings. We only met six through-hikers on our little trek, which was a bit surprising since we were hiking opposite of the traffic flow. What surprised me most was the absolute lack of litter and human vandalism or encroachment. I’ve been to wilderness recreational areas all over the globe and the CT (or at least the two segments we traveled) is the cleanest environment I’ve ever experienced. It was the perfect place to reinforce the “Leave-no-trace” training that we give to the scouts. I downloaded Bear Creek Survey’s most recent GPS Waypoints (re-colored them) and loaded them onto the Scouts maps and into my Lowrance GPS. The points were absolutely correct. Filterable water was readily available along the trail everywhere in these two segments except for about a four miles stretch South of Chalk Creek.
Thank you CTF for your stewardship of this amazing trail and giving our young people such a wonderful place to experience the high country and Colorado.
Wayne Balsavich
Troop 17

The Colorado Trail: Chalk Creek Trailhead to US-50 Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
3,320 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Best summer and fall
8,360 feet
Trailhead Elevation
9,880 feet
Top Elevation
Salida Ranger District, San Isabel National Forest
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated #130; USGS Mount Antero, Maysville
Local Maps

Trail Log