Trailhead: Deer Creek Trailhead (end of County Road 5; beginning of Forest Road 5)

Activities: Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Closest City / Town: Montezuma, Colorado

Driving Directions:

  • Get onto I-70 and head towards Dillon & Silverthorne.
  • Jump off of I-70 at exit 205.  Take a left at the bottom of the hill, heading east on U.S. Highway 6.
  • Continue on Highway 6 through Keystone, and then hang a right onto County Road 5 (aka Montezuma Road).
  • The Town of Montezuma is located 5.6 miles down County Road 5.  Pass through the Town of Montezuma to the end of County Road 5.
  • There is a winter parking area located at the end of the plowed road on the right – park there.

Hiking Distance: 5.2 miles (roundtrip)

Description: The Deer Creek Trail is primarily for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, although you can hike up Forest Road 5 anytime during the year.  This is the perfect winter trail for a beginner snowshoer or cross-country skier.  The pitch is relatively gentle, there is very little avalanche danger, and there is a low probability of getting lost.

The hike up the Deer Creek Trail kicks off at the end of the plowed road, following Deer Creek the entire distance to the end of your journey.  The trail meanders through the pines in a south/southwest direction, passing by Superior, Upper Chautauqua and Lower Chautauqua Mines on your right, and then Star of the West, Arabella, Mohawk, Upper Radical, and Lower Radical Mines on your left.

Deer Creek Trail progressively gets steeper as it climbs out of the trees.  Timberline, located approximately 2.6 miles in, is the most logical place to turn around.  Do not continue beyond timberline due to increasing avalanche hazards.  Ski or snowshoe your way back down to the trailhead along the same route that you ascended.

Worth Noting: Both Radical Hill and Glacier Mountain rest above 12,000′ in elevation.  The cirque at the end of the hike is absolutely astonishing.  Take a thermos full of hot chocolate or coffee along with you, and spend some time sipping on your hot beverage while soaking in the gorgeous views.

Suggested Materials:

  • Andi & Terri Lightbody, Winter Trails Colorado, Second Edition.  Pages 62-64

 

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Cat V June 29, 2016 10:40 am
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Visited this trail in June 2016 with my parents, who were still acclimating to altitude. They loved it. It was easy enough for them, but had beautiful enough landscape for us to keep us and the dog occupied. It was about a 5 mile hike in/out for us, as we stopped near the turn in the trail that begins an incline up the mountain (and crosses then, a busy creek/river).

Trail was in great condition, impossible to get lost, with easy parking. My folks liked how “busy” the trail was– we saw 10+ ATVs, dirt bikes, etc. on the trail. I didn’t love that, but it is good for those not used to CO hikes.