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Devil's Canyon

Idaho Springs, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 05/29/2020
4.4 / 5 ( 16 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 06/15 - 12/15
Difficulty: 3-4
(MODERATE )
Length: 5.9 miles
Highest Elevation: 10392 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Loop
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Idaho Springs
Nearest Town w/ Services: Idaho Springs
Official Road Name: 246.1, 246.1A
Management Agency: Arapaho National Forest
District: Clear Creek Ranger District
Distance:
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Highlights

Highlight: Devil's Canyon
Devil's Canyon off-road trail is one of the gems close to Denver, Colorado. The trail is relatively easy and gives you a great taste of what mountain terrain is like in that low 10,000-foot level ecosystem. You experience dense forests, mixed with pine and aspen, which are all intermittently separated by open grassy areas making for great dispersed camping opportunities. This is a great four-wheel drive trail for anyone seeking an easier trail with mountain scenery, or merely a quick adventure.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Devil's Canyon

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
The hardest part is at waypoint 13, which you can technically bypass by going straight to waypoint 5 and then turning towards waypoint 2 and looping back over. Pinstriping can happen early in the year before the summer rush.

Technical Rating: 3-4
(MODERATE )

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.
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Description

Mostly a dirt and cobble road. Narrow in spots with limited passing due to the trees. As described here, the trail is a lollipop loop utilizing Forest Service Road 246.1 and 246.1A where the loop portion can be driven in any direction. As soon as you leave Highway 103, the trail begins climbing some mild switchbacks. Mileage is notated the entire length beginning at Highway 103 and ending at Highway 103.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0.00 mi)
Follow the dirt road uphill. There is a small area to air down at the beginning of the trailhead.
2. Left Begin on 246.1A (0.70 mi)
Turn left/north to follow the guide as described here. You can run the trail by also going straight and run the lollipop loop in reverse.
3. 246.1J - Straight (0.90 mi)
Continue straight. 246.1J quickly deadends.
4. 246.1B Trailhead - Straight on 246.1A (1.10 mi)
Continue straight to follow Devil's Canyon. 246.1B is an out and back road to nowhere. It is very steep and your trip back will work your engine hard.
5. Begin Loop - Go Left (1.40 mi)
Turn left/north. Optionally, you can turn right/south and end up at Waypoint 12 and run the trail the other direction.
6. Lookout (1.50 mi)
Views of Alps Mountain to the north. Continue back to the main road where you will dip back into the trees.
7. Meadow and Camping (2.40 mi)
Continue straight. There is a nice open meadow here abundant with wildflowers in the summer months.
8. Go Right - Spur to Left Deadends Shortly at Camping (3.50 mi)
Turn right/north to follow the main trail. Turning left/south here will take you to a deadend with little room to turn around.
9. Camp Location (3.60 mi)
Small campsite for one or two rigs with rooftop tents.
10. Scenic View (3.80 mi)
Continue straight. Climbing back out of the trees, the views of open grassy areas and the distant mountains increase. There are a few dispersed camping locations in this area.
11. Camping and Scenic (4.10 mi)
Continue straight. There is one amazing camping spot here with great views of forested mountains.
12. Left to Hill or Straight to Waypoint 5 (4.30 mi)
Turn left/south for the more difficult line, or go straight to Waypoint 5 and work your way back. Note: Turning left/south takes you to several camping locations.
13. Rough Section (4.40 mi)
Continue uphill over the small obstacles. At the top of the hill is a great viewpoint of the distant mountains and meadows below.
14. Scenic Downhill (4.50 mi)
Continue straight. Several camping locations for the next mile.
15. End - Go Straight (5.20 mi)
Continue straight and downhill to reach Highway 103.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.680754, -105.604890

Starting Point: Idaho Springs and I-70

Take exit 240 and follow the signs to Highway 103 south / Mt. Evans. Approximately .3 miles after mile marker 10 look for a dirt road on the left/north side of the road.

Camping

Dispersed
There are many dispersed campsites in Devil's Canyon, from wide open 100' areas that can accommodate groups and camping trailers to smaller sites. Camping looks to be particularly good near Waypoint 5, 10, 11, and 14. Pack out more than you packed in.
Camping: Devil's Canyon

Trail Reviews (33)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went today with my stock jk 4 door wrangler and all terrain tires. (Not sure I would run this trail with factory tires)Was definitely rutted through a lot of it, and rocks to climb over. So definitely needed to watch tire placement on a lot of the steeper parts. Needed 4wd to climb the steep parts as well for sure. But we really had no problems and had a great day. We only saw one other person all day.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great little trail that is slightly busy with other Jeep lovin friends! Absolutely gorgeous setting right out of Idaho Springs. The trail is a little short but perfect for our day drive into the mountains. Would agree on the Moderate rating. Nothing too difficult but there was a Forerunner that was struggling big time and put himself somehow in a tree at a weird angle. Not sure how but maybe the driver sucked??? The trail has some larger rocks and inclines of about 11%. I didn't see any severe inclines or feel unsafe at anytime. Some off camber slopes that needed attention. While it doesn't specify here you can head into Evergreen by trekking over the pass. This was a fun way to go back to Denver. Recommend this trail. Cheers

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Went out on 6/20 and camped overnight. Subaru Forester in my group went out to waypoint 5 where we camped by the open meadow area but it did not do the entire loop. Did entire loop with stock 2 door JK on M/Ts without issue. There was a steep bypass that connected some campgrounds that I spun tires on but eventually got up. Saw some close to stock TJs make it up as well but a Pathfinder was having a pretty hard time through that section. Most stock 4x4s shouldn’t have any issue running this trail when it’s dry, not sure what the conditions are when wet.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Some nice camping at the summit with great views. The trail is short with one difficult spot. Nice weekend with the family.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Super fun trail with some nice camping spots. A few technical areas off camber, some rocks and ledges. I stayed in 4 high with the sway bars disco'd.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail is awesome. Great views. Mid way thru the loop the camping spots are amazing. At the beginning of the loop if you go right and stay right instead of going left like the pictures above show there is a pretty sweet rock trail. The hardest part of trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Spoke to Clear Creek Ranger today and the trail is still closed due to Elk Calving.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Many parts are covered in snow but still seems entirely passable. I used chains on my front tires, but probably didn’t need them (wife and kids in the car so better safe than sideways) :) We got there towards the end of the day so only did the first part of the loop and up through waypoint 5, but saw another ‘yota who had done the whole thing.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
What an amazing view with the Aspen trees.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We ran the trail in my stock 4Runner SR5, there were some pretty severely rutted areas toward the far end of the trail. Just for fun I tried driving in 4-hi with traction control off, I lost traction pretty quickly and was unable to get going. I put it in 4-low and turned on ATRAC and was able to drive right through without any hiccups. We didn't scrape anywhere on the trail until we were turning onto the main road, I saw a car coming so I took it a little quick and scraped my front air dam. I thought that was pretty ironic. There was some great scenery today with the fall foliage.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The leaves in potions of this trail are really starting to turn and look great. Ran this in two lifted T4Rs. Explored almost every trail and offshoot we could find. Would recommend driving down to the spur if you dont mind some offcamber sections. 4WD is required to complete the loop if you follow the waypoints. One rut in the climb between 7 & 8 required a bit of a bump to get over as the trail has been rutted and we dont have lockers.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did the whole loop, the trail is pretty narrow with only a few places to pass. Very scenic camping is dispersed throughout the trail.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
What a fun trail - has everything to test out the capabilities of a stock capable rig without much risk involved. Having low range is helpful, especially at this altitude, for maintaining momentum without having to crash over the rocks and roots. A mix of everything, from ascents filled with wheel drops to flex the suspension and test out the traction control (for those without rear lockers) to steep descents with deep wheel drops that show the benefits of hill-descent control systems (again, for those without lockers). Size-wise, anything wider than ~76 will likely catch many branches along the trail and some side sections might be too narrow for full-size Raptors and Power Wagons. Overall, it's a relatively smooth trail with terrain that can be as challenging as you want to make it. Stock 2009 LR Range Rover Sport (center-lock-only) with Duratracs.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun loop. Not too difficult, but a couple technical spots with some nice views of Mt Evans. Did it in a stock 2008 FJ Cruiser.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
took stock 2012 Sahara wrangler and was just fine. definitely bumpy with all the rocks and ruts, but some good views. had to back up a few times to find a spot to pull over for other vehicles and it was tight, but got by. was in 4H the whole time.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail. Could easily bring stock 4x4's if you know what you're doing. Brought up my stock, and I mean bone stock, 2000 Jimmy and it killed the trail with a few placed rocks here and there. The trail is extremely rutted out and the farther you go into the valley the worse it gets. Make sure you have the experience or a capable vehicle!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Lots of fun! Ran with my 98 Grand Cherokee, 2.5" lift and worn 29" tires and it ate up everything the trail had to offer; we tried to hit every branch we could find, which took about 3 hours. One particular section has a very steep, rocky hill, which we ended-up going downhill on, but going slowly and taking it as easily as possible, we didn't have any hits on the skids or diffs. I did end-up coming home with some new pinstripes, however.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran this today in a stock 5th gen 4Runner. This trail was quite difficult and narrow enough in spots that I was not able to avoid pinstriping. Between waypoint 6 - waypoint 7 is where it is most narrow and there are very few spots for passing. This is where it was narrow enough to not avoid pinstriping due to how grown in it is now. Waypoint 7 - Waypoint 10 was the most difficult part of the trail where it was very rutted in spots and was often 3 wheeling with the locker engaged, but still in 4 high. Lines had to be picked carefully here for stock height. I am not sure if this was recently rutted or out this bad or not. The trail overall was fun, but was more than I was wanting to do in stock form. Waypoint 7 was a great camping spot which is what is pictured below.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran half of the trail in reverse from outline above. Some rutted areas between waypoints 7, 8, and 9. My wheeling partner was running a bone stock Jeep Sport on 29's. We were about halfway between waypoints 8 and 7 and decided to turn back due to a few ruts that were a little too deep on the downhill. It was officially the second day of summer and there was a passing snow squall. Nothing stuck to the ground, and honestly, it wasn't even snowflakes. It was more like mini dippin dots falling from the sky. Kinda cool to watch. We came across at least 8 other vehicles and one camper while on the trail. It's a good run in the woods mostly. Some views. Fun trek and would do it again.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is dry, snow-free and in summer condition.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
incredible wild flowers.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Spoke to Clear Creek Ranger District today and they said the gates for this trail were opened on 6/15. Conditions are wet, but minimal snow.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
As of now, this road is still closed.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went up to view a comet and meteor shower late on the night of the 15th into the 16th. Only went to waypoint 6, but gate was open and trail wasn’t too bad. Parts were just plain dry but there were some sections in the shade that had snow/small patches of ice. Not sure how the loop looked but the meadow was completely dry.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Just completed this track today. There is some snow on the shady sides of the mountain and it is fairly muddy and slick. A few challenging climbs on the second half of the track between waypoints 7 and 10 as the mud and snow add difficulty. Really a fun drive and seems like there are plenty of decent camping spots. I'd love to come back in the summer and try it when it is dry and get a night of camping in.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
There was a good 4-6" of snow over the whole area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I hadn't been there in a long time. Last time was with a Ram 1500 truck. This time Jeep Grand Cherokee. The trees are plenty and everything was green!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Devil’s Canyon is open for the season.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The Forest Service is still listing this trail as "seasonally closed". Will update upon verification.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Maybe it was just the fact that there was an inch or two of snow, but this trail was much harder than I expected. I don't have an extremely capable vehicle (stock Cherokee KL Trailhawk), but I have done a bunch of trails that were rated a 3, and this seemed more difficult than any of them by a decent margin. It's only a few spots, but like a review below says, I think the full loop should be rated higher for sure. Also, it's likely just grown in over time, but the trail is quite narrow in spots. Nothing that is impassable, but be prepared for some new pinstripes, especially with a full size vehicle.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Mostly snow covered until you get up top. Sun-exposed areas of the trail were void of snow. The loop had not been fully traveled in the clockwise direction; there were tracks leading into the loop in the counter-clockwise direction (didn't travel far enough to see where they stopped). Only one set of fresh tracks up the hill between points 12 and 13. The spur at point 4 had not been traveled recently/no tracks in the snow. The warmer weather will keep the climb into the area passable; once it gets cold and stays cold, I suspect it will be icy from the compacted snow. That first switchback/hairpin turn heading in, where there's almost always water trickling onto the trail, was building up the ice.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Just scouted this trail and stayed the night. Very open, great spots to camp, some more secluded then others, several great spots with epic views. Very few people, could be the cold as setting in but did meet a few people who have stayed the night a few times and noted some areas can be more exposed to wind and rain. Overall very easy 2-3 trail, only one semi tough spot, easy loop.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran this trail yesterday in my '14 Tacoma OR with 32" tires and 3" lift. Overall, a great fun trail that is more or less easy (2-3) throughout the majority of the trail. Didnt see many other people out, but that could have been because it was a sunday afternoon and everyone had already gone home. Lots and lots of dispersed camping as in the description, seems like a great place to camp on the weekends. Very pretty trail, though not as secluded as some of the others around. However there was one spot on the trail (just before marker #7 going clockwise) that I would consider a 6-7 difficulty. I feel lucky I made it through with no damage. Easily uphill at 30 degrees with rocks and ruts around and above "12. Careful tire placement mandatory! Overall the trail is closer to a 3, but this one spot (no longer than 100 yards) presents a difficult challenge. Can easily be avoided by going counter-clockwise and turning around.

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Anyone been here yet this year? Is it open yet?
–Evan Thompson (05/07/2018)
A: Sadly we have to wait. According to the Forest Service, there will be a seasonal closure until around June 15th.
–Todd (05/08/2018)

Writer Information

Todd

Founder

Todd is an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever he can. They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that holds true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American West to explore were his reasons behind starting Trailsoffroad.com. On any given weekend you can find Todd on some obscure 4x4 trail or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.
For individual use only, not to be shared.