Swamp Creek Road is one of the few forest service roads in Northern Colorado that is not gated during the winter and spring seasons. Swamp Creek is available for use while many other trails in the vicinity are closed to mitigate resource damage from the spring run-off. During winter and spring months, Swamp Creek offers some excellent opportunities to test your 4X4 through heavy and drifting snow. Popular with campers during the summer months, excellent dispersed camping with views of the mountains and the Poudre River Canyon makes this a great weekend destination. The ghost town of Manhattan, Colorado is located just south of the Swamp Creek Road trailhead.
The trail is well marked and easy to find as it runs to the west off Larimer County Road #69, which is also known as the Manhattan Road. As you turn onto the trail, a large parking area is available. Often, the lot is filled with truck and trailers hauling their ATVs and motorcycles. The Swamp Creek Road system is popular with the OHV community.
Take US Highway 287 North to Colorado Highway 14 (Poudre Canyon Road). Turn west on the Poudre Canyon Road and follow for about 30 miles to Rustic, Colorado. Turn north on County Road 69, also known as the Manhattan Road, for about 6 miles. Swamp Creek Road takes off to the west.
A large forest fire near Cameron Pass has this trail closed for a while. The fire is called the Cameron Peak fire. You can track information about the fire at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
As of 08-14-2020, the USFS has a closure order in place for much of the upper Poudre Canyon. Here is a map of the closed areas.
Did this again just for a quick overnight from Fort Collins. So many dispersed camping options! Had a great night, although when we returned to FC the next day we saw that they had just closed Hwy 14 from Rustic to Walden from a fire up near Chambers Lake. Guess we got out just in time. Super easy trail with great camping! Hopefully they can get the fire under control soon!
The Swamp Creek area has received about 2’ of snow, so the snow wheeling is prime. This is the USFS Christmas tree cutting area and today was the first day for harvest. The Forest Service had some trail restrictions for the weekend but the area should be unrestricted next weekend. If you like snow wheeling, now is the time to go.
Traveled this trail along with Sevenmike today. The main 171 stretch has very minimal snow as it appeared to have been plowed by some sort of heavy equipment. However, we hit up a few of the spurs and found some decent snow. A lot of it has been tracked out, but we did manage to find one untouched spur which had some deep stuff.
This is another great route to link up with Sevenmile Creek. Some of my favorite camping up Poudre Canyon is off of waypoint 10, and there is a lot of it! This is a great place to go in the winter time as well when you are feeling the itch to go wheeling. Beware of the moose in the area as they seem to be a frequent occurrence. Great trails up here - not too hard, not too easy, great camping, and awesome views!
Tim lives and works in Northern Colorado. He has owned and driven 4X4 vehicles his entire adult life including Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs and UTVs. After high school, Tim's first 4X4 was a 47 Willy's CJ-2A with a flat 4 and a 6-volt electrical system. Typically wheeling in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, Tim loves being in the mountains and the back country. Because of a desire to enjoy and promote responsible off-roading and to keep it available for the future, he belongs to a local 4X4 off-road club. Being part of the Trailsoffroad.com community furthers that goal as well.
A love for off-road adventures, camping, fishing, and hunting keeps Tim away from pavement and always exploring. While his wife likes the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tim prefers the ruggedness of the Jeep Wrangler. Although most off-road time is spent in Colorado and Wyoming, an occasional trip to the Moab area is common. Tim will spend the summer going topless and enjoying the value of the great outdoors. Amateur Radio Technician license call sign: ke0npg