This superb off-road loop wanders through both dense forest and part of the burn scar for the 2002 Hayman Fire, which at 138,000 acres and the destruction of 133 homes, was the largest and most destructive fire in the state at the time and held that record for a number of years. Phantom Creek is a great trail for the novice driver, stock trucks and SUV's, or for those looking to capture spectacular, unobstructed photographs of the north side of Pikes Peak. This is also a great winter loop for those looking for somewhere to play while the high mountains are still buried in deep snow.
This area is heavily used by smaller OHVs such as ATVs, dirt bikes, and side by sides, so please be courteous to other users.
7 day forecast for Phantom Creek/Signal Butte Loop
After a few creek crossings on Trail Creek Rd, make a left turn onto FS 367 to reach Phantom Creek. There is plenty of room to air down at the end of the fence line just after this turn, but mind the fence and private property.
There are a couple different ways to access this trail. For anyone coming from Woodland Park, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, pretty much the southern half of the state, or if you are trailering your vehicle, you should enter this trail from the southwest side near Divide at the official trail head where there is a very large parking area. From Highway 24 in Divide, head north on CR 51. Go 2.9 miles and bear right staying on CR 51. After 5.9 miles, turn right on Phantom Creek Road, FS 363. This trail head is marked as the main trail head coordinates per this page.
For someone coming from the north end of the state, you should enter the trail from the north, near the town of West Creek. From Deckers head south on Highway 67 for 8.5 miles and turn right on Westcreek Rd. Follow this for 1.7 miles and turn right on Trail Creek Rd, also FS 200. At the fork, stay right on CR 3. The road will cross the creek a few times before you turn right on FS 364. This is the route the waypoints follow on the GPS tracks associated with this write up.
Land Use Issues
This area is part of Pike-San Isabel National Forest, and as such is part of the 2011 Lawsuit where a coalition of conservation and recreation groups were suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they say is an illegal addition of 500 miles of motorized roads and trails. A settlement was reached in late 2015 that is requiring the U.S. Forest Service to re-evaluate the roads and create a new travel management plan. 30 roads have been partially or completely closed while this evaluation takes place over the next few years. Those trails affected have been noted here at trailsoffroad.com.
It is imperative that the OHV community makes their voices be heard on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be shut down, some already have. Contact the local ranger districts and let them know why the area is important to you and the history you have there. Contact your Congressperson and Senator as well. They know how important the OHV community is to the economy of the state.
We ran half of this in combination with Little Creek Ridge, I believe the southern half of the loop shown here is Phantom creek, which is what we ran. On the map we ran from point 17 (the creek crossing) to 9 without the side dead end. Winding dirt forest road. A relaxing escape from the city. Pic is of the creek crossing at #17.
We were out checking trails in the area and we ran the northern end of this trail to LIttle Creek. We didn't see any changes to the areas we drove in and will be back soon to do a more detailed writeup for this trail.
We went up to Phantom to grab video (coming soon to the writeup). Waypoints 14-16 are currently closed. trailsoffroad.com is determining the length and nature of this closure. It appears to be a brand new close as the barb wire looked fresh and there was even a tool that looked left behind by someone working on it recently.
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 has been upgraded 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?!'.