Devil's Canyon

Idaho Springs, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 10/30/2021
4.5 / 5 ( 36 reviews )
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Status:
Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 06/15 - 12/15
Difficulty: 3-4
( MODERATE )
Length: 5.15 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

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

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

MANDATORY
3
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
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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Community Consensus

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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 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 (0.7 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 (0.9 mi)
Continue straight. 246.1J quickly deadends.
4. 246.1B Trailhead - Straight on 246.1A (1.1 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 (1.4 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 (1.5 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 (2.4 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 (3.5 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 (3.6 mi)
Small campsite for one or two rigs with rooftop tents.
10. Scenic View (3.8 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 (4.1 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 (4.3 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 (4.4 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 (4.5 mi)
Continue straight. Several camping locations for the next mile.
15. End - Go Straight (5.2 mi)
Continue straight and downhill to reach Highway 103.

Directions to Trailhead

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 (62)

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Is this trail ok for ATV’s? Could 10-13 year olds handle it? Thank you!!
–Melinda Taylor (08/01/2020)
A: Hi Melinda, the road is open to all vehicles and it is not overly difficult or has obstacles that an ATV would not be able to do. I would not be able to tell you what a 10 -13-year-old could or could not do, that's just not in my level of expertise :). I will say that there really is no room for trailer parking at the trailhead. You might try Yankee Hill coming in from the eastern end where there is plenty of trailer parking. I hope that helps!
–Todd (08/01/2020)
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.