Middle St. Vrain

Lyons, Colorado (Boulder County)

Last Updated: 10/15/2021
4.5 / 5 ( 20 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 06/15 - 10/15
Length: 4.99 miles
Highest Elevation: 9850 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Lyons
Nearest Town w/ Services: Boulder
Official Road Name: 114.1
Management Agency: United States Forest Service
District: Boulder Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Middle St. Vrain
This trail near Boulder, CO is popular to combine with the Coney Creek (aka Coney Flats) Trail, this part of that loop is considerably easier with the exception of The Gatekeeper. Middle St. Vrain is located near the Indian Peaks Wilderness which offers some great views and great forest scenery. The drive itself is a nice combination of off-road bumpiness and a trip through the northern Colorado wilderness. There are a number of official walking trails and fishing opportunities available and many people camp nearby just for the chance to walk these trails. Water runs as a year-round stream through many sections of the trail and you'll drive over Timberline Falls. Middle Saint Vrain may not have the water crossing of its neighbors, but it is a great trail onto itself and a Colorado favorite.

Video

Route Information

Technical Rating

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trail begins right off CR 72 and goes through both the Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick Campgrounds before the start of dirt and the trail. Please note that the Jeep pictured is facing the street and not the trail.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Boulder, CO

Head north on Route 7 and turn left (west) to Broadway/Lee Hill Drive/Lefthand Canyon Drive & CO 72 W for 26 miles to Middle St Vrain Road.

Camping

Dispersed
Improved
Designated

Trail Reviews (44)

Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Seasonal Closure is now in effect. See you in the spring!
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I love this trail. I love everything about it. Great camping, fun obstacles, incredible hiking at the end of the trail. The colors were amazing when we went. This is a MUST DO trail in Colorado. I don't give 5-star reviews out very often....but this one is deserving of it.
Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Had no problems running this trail in the following: 2000 Frontier 5-speed, 33's, no lockers. 2006 4Runner, 33s, rear locker 2007 Jeep Rubicon, 37's, F/R Lockers 2013 Rubicon - 32's, F/R Lockers 2019 Tacoma, 33's, Rear Locker The gate keeper isn't very hard, but the rocks can move around on all these obstacles changing the difficulty day to day. There are multiple line options through most of the rocky sections - keeps it fun for the bigger rigs but still passible in a stock high-clearance 4x4 with careful line choice.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran MSV yesterday afternoon up and back. Not a ton of traffic and trail was in good shape. One large, deep mudhole that was kind of interesting but made it through just fine. Lives up to its difficult rating with a fair amount of challenging spots but taking it slow with a good line does the trick. We had one Rubicon unlimited with a 2.5" lift and 33's and a Rubicon with a 3" lift and 35s.
Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier
Offroaded on:
This is one of my favorote trails for the scenery. It's not an overly difficult or technical trail. Go slow through the large water crossing unless you want a new engine!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail was open and clear. Gate keeper seemed a little easier this year that last. Camp Dick was at half capacity which helped cut down the crowds. Dispersed camping spots were limited and would recommend camping at Camp Dick just before the trail entrance. water crossings were muddy and levels were low. Otherwise the trail was in great condition. Convey included: Toyota Tacoma TRD Offroad with 2.3" lift, on 32s, 2 Jeep Wranglers with 2.5" lift on 35s
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Took our 1975 Ford Bronco (3.5" lift, 33" tires, rear locker, front limited slip) up MSV today, then down Coney Flats to the reservoir. Overall an excellent trail with great water crossings and gorgeous scenery! The 5-5 they rate it for difficulty is accurate as it is a more technical trail than the pictures and narrative here allude. Be ready for a seemingly ceaseless bumpy ride. I agree with Nick from 06/26/21 - the Gatekeeper is not the biggest/most technical obstacle on the trail. The upper obstacle on Coney Flats will take some expertise or a seasoned spotter. Today it high-centered a forerunner. After he was freed it took a couple of more-on-the-stock-side Jeeps (small suspension lift) a few tries and a ride on the skid plates to find the right line. Still some others passed over nicely with little effort. There is another technical spot a little farther beyond, not quite as tough as the upper CF obstacle but certainly rougher than Gatekeeper. Just be aware of what you are getting into as getting past Gatekeeper can give you a false sense of security. Lots of vehicles on the trail for a nice Sunday drive.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun trail with some great hiking at the end. If you continue to Coney Flats be prepared... Middle St Vrain should be considered a "low 5" rating and Coney is a "high 5". We tickled the skid plates in a few spots with an 8 arm 3.5 inch lift and 35s... probably recommend minimum of 33s and a 2 inch lift with skids and a winch in case you miss your line and turtle.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran MSV via Coney Flats in a stock ZR2 and TRD Pro Taco with no issues. Both have 31/32ish tires, factory skids, diff skids, and sliders which I wouldn't go without. Take you time and chose the right lines. Bigger built rigs did have some issues attempting large boulders though.
Author:
Social Media:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Rainy and the crossings were high hut always a great trail.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We ran MSV today in both directions after being turned back by the seriously torn up condition of the upper obstacle on Coney Flats. MSV was muddy due to the rain this weekend and water was streaming down the trail. Otherwise, it was in excellent condition. The gatekeeper feels like it has been beaten down some and given the state of the Coney Flats obstacle, may need to be built back up to serve it's purpose properly.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
These trails are open for the season, have fun!
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Trail is closed for the season officially.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, the USDA Forest Service’s Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties, effective at midnight tonight (closure begins at 00:01 Oct. 21). This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
This area is closed due to fire activity. It likely will not reopen before the end of the season.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
A new Fire in Boulder County has put this area under evacuation orders per the county Sheriffs map. Nothing official from the Forest Service yet, but I expect that to come out tomorrow morning.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
One of my favorite harder trails in the area. I just put on a new lift kit and 37s, what better close by trail to test the new mods!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this trail with Coney Flats early on a Saturday morning, we only saw one other vehicle. It was very wet from the recent snow which made the trail challenging. Wife and I had a ton of fun.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
After (if) you make it over the Gatekeeper obstacle at the start, the rest of this trail is quite pretty down in the trees and fairly chill. Still plenty of rock-and-rolling, but not bad in comparison to some other trails. We completed it in the rain with no issues. A Jeep in front of us did lose his drive shaft, so still be aware. (It was modified for the street, with no lift, and he took the hard line on one of the bigger rock outcroppings, so... idk.) Slow and steady won the day. At least a small lift and a little bit bigger tires would probably be preferable, but not necessarily required.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Definitely my new favorite trail that I have ran so much fun especially for my stock fj quite busy but not unbearable
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This was our second year to run Middle St. Vrain and Coney Flats and of course it rained again which makes this already challenging trail even more of a challenge! It is one of our favorite trails with the water crossings and challenges along the way.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun moderate trail for built rigs. Traffic was pretty minimal today.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is definitely a fun trail in the area with a good amount of challenge as well as extra activities. This was my first ever real 4x4 trail, so it's always fun to come back and see how the trail has changed (or maybe just my skills). I also love how this trail has a ton of cool hiking opportunities (Gibraltar Lakes are awesome - have yet to do Red Deer Lake). There was a surprising amount of open camp spots while passing through Saturday Morning. Met some cool 4Runner people heading up to camp and hike who were a fan of the website. Overall, it was great day. I highly recommend checking this trail out if you have a mildly built vehicle and are looking for a challenge.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We went out today to run MSV/Coney to get trail updates and we are glad we did. The rock obstacles are ALL much more dugout than pictured above as of this writing. New photos and video will be available here soon but do not underestimate this trail, it is rated difficult and lives up that. We got held up for about an hour today while a large group with stock vehicles not necessarily designed for what we were all doing. More than one vehicle got hung up and caused the delay. I love this trail for the views and the giant water crossing, but it really does beat up the body due to the bumpiness, even with low-air tires and upgraded suspension. Go on a weekday to avoid the large crowds that this trail tends to bring in on weekends.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Not a bad little trail. Once you get back there you can find some great dispersed camping. Awesome views as well.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
MSV through Coney Flats open. Lots of water holes. High clearance or good lines required. Coney down to the end is more tree narrow and meh.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was opened late Saturday after the adopted club ran it and cleared downed trees and performed necessary trail maintenance.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
As of 9/3/19, Both Middle St Vrain and Coney Flats are both closed due to Forest Order ARP-BRD-2019-01 while bridge replacement work is done. You can find the order along with maps here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd657032.pdf
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this in a mostly stock FJ100 along with Coney Flats. With 33s as our only real upgrade, these trails pushed both my Cruiser and the accompanying Wrangler Sport to the limits. The guardian obstacle required lockers in the FJ and numerous line adjustments for the Wrangler. There are a fair number of technical sections that will challenge rigs with smaller tires and/or no lift. The boggy water crossings make this trail somewhat unique. It is narrow, but there are plentiful pull-offs, many of which are nicely shaded for a picnic lunch. Most of the trail is flanked by heavy pine forest. There was a fair amount of traffic during our visit. Pretty much everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful which was great.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I completed St Vrain and Coney flats in a stock 4Runner SR5, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ATRAC works wonders, the T4R didn’t even hesitate to climb any of the obstacles. I would have been a lot better off if I had a lift, I did scrape a number of times but with the help of a good spotter, I faired pretty well. It helps that the T4R has a shorter wheelbase than Tacos and 4-Door Wranglers. I enjoyed the double takes I got for being in a stock 4Runner on the trail. I’d say that the water crossing is about 18” deep based on how high the water was on people’s wheels. This is a long drive that can cause you to be fatigued toward the end, be ready to pay attention to the trail, a lot!
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Please Be Aware! Forest Service announced on 8/22/2019 that the trail will close early this season, September 3rd. Middle St Vrain, Coney Flats roads to close temporarily for bridge replacement project BOULDER, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2019) – Due to a critical bridge replacement project several campgrounds and roads on the Roosevelt National Forest’s Boulder Ranger District will close for the season on Sept. 3, 2019. The closures include: Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick campgrounds; Middle St. Vrain Road (Forest Service Road 114.1) at Colo. Higway 72; Coney Flats Road (Forest Service Road 507.1) at Beaver Creek Reservoir Trailhead; Bunce School Road (Forest Service Road 105) at junction with Park Creek Road (202.1) The closure applies to all motor vehicle traffic.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I ran this trail on a saturday morning. Unfortunately we did not have time to do Coney Flats, too. The water parts of the trail are really cool and somewhat unique compared to the other trails in Colorado. The trail wasn't too difficult, but some of the rocky areas did present dangers for my differentials (Cherokee XJ on 31s w/ 4.5 inch lift). Be sure to go slowly through the water. It's all rocky bottoms. One word of caution - there were two groups of 10+ jeeps going up while I was coming down. One was a guided tour which was moving very slowly and acting like they owned the trail. If you're someone who likes to enjoy trails alone, make sure to get going early on to beat the crowds.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran both MSV and Coney Flats in our JLUR with 3" lift/35s and had a blast...one of the most fun and wettest trails we've ever done, and the views from Coney Flats around the main water crossing are breathtaking (as you'll see in the photos). Agree with the 5-5 (for MSV) and 6-6 (for Coney Flats) ratings....you'll be tired after this trail because it's near continual effort...but FUN effort! Took us about 4 hours (with brief lunch stop at CF's main water crossing. You'll get lots of water (many muddy) crossings depending on recent rains. One of them along MSV toward the western end was several inches deeper than the main CF crossing (which was ~ 2 ft). Overall, this combo of MSV and CF is now one of our favorites -- great shape, great fun, and absolutely beautiful!!
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Report from the High Country page: Our group ran MSV and Coney Flats on July 12th. water crossing are not too deep and trail is in good shape. I am currently running a stock JLUR and was able to run the trail with no problem.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Gates are open.
Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Still closed as of this afternoon.
Author:
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Still closed due to snow and runoff. At the gate
Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Gate locked - still closed for season as of 6/1/19
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is open for the season.
Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Just an FYI, I drove up to the gate after exiting T33 and it's still closed.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Trail is closed for the season
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The Mountaineers, a 4x4 club from Fort Collins, embarked on a late fall season trip to Coney Flats and Middle St. Vrain. With winter weather setting in soon, there are not many more weekend opportunities for these twin trails. There was still considerable water present on the trail, however, despite the near 50 degree conditions, icy conditions seem to have moved in for the season. The aspen trees donning the trail are all past their peak color and most have lost their autumn golden glory. The local District Forest Ranger will close this trail for the season once inclement weather overtakes the foothills for the season.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
A nice day on the trail even though the clouds followed us all day and it sprinkled here and there. We ran the trail backwards from Coney Creek, though we took the time to go up to the bridge.
Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Beautiful trail! Ran this on vacation while staying in the Black Hawk area. Easy trail but very enjoyable. Make sure to connect to Coney Flats to make it a loop. Coney Flats is a bit more challenging but this trail can be done with open diffs and high clearance.

Questions & Answers (5)

Q: Does anybody have details in when the bridge repairs will be complete for the trail to be opened.
–Zachery (04/29/2020)
–Ryan Boudreau (04/30/2020)
–JD Marshall (04/30/2020)
Q: Has anybody been up there yet? are the gates open?
–Gunnar Campbell (07/01/2019)
–JD Marshall (07/01/2019)
Q: Is this trail still open after this past weekend's snow storm? How would I find out?
–Noell Leiby (10/16/2018)
–JD Marshall (10/17/2018)
Q: I have a 2018 Tundra with undercarriage skid plates, 3" lift up front, rock sliders, but no rock crawler tires. would I be able to make it through the first rock garden? Planning on camping off marker 10 or 11 and would like to park closer.
–Sean (05/30/2018)
–JD Marshall (05/31/2018)
Q: where do you park a trailer to unload ATV/UTV?
–Louis Perkins (05/25/2018)
–JD Marshall (05/28/2018)

Writer Information

JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
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