Phantom Creek/Signal Butte Loop

Divide, Colorado (Teller County)

Last Updated: 04/05/2021
4.5 / 5 ( 8 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 18.31 miles
Highest Elevation: 9200 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Loop
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Divide
Nearest Town w/ Services: Divide
Official Road Name: 362, 363, 363A, 363E, 364
Management Agency: United States Forest Service
District: Pikes Peak Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Phantom Creek/Signal Butte Loop
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.

Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. FS 367 turn ( mi)
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.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Multiple Locations:

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.

Camping

Dispersed

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.

Trail Reviews (14)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Nice drive. If you are in the area hike down to Phantom Creek.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Definitely an easy but enjoyable drive.. its a little tight in spots and there are rutty curves where it gets quite tippy to the inside. Plenty of dispersed camping and great views of Pikes Peak.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Caution!!! I was made aware of this video showing damage on Phantom Creek Road. This damage is likely do to snow run off and a damaged culvert or two upstream of this. Trailsoffroad advises you to be careful if going out on this trail and a crew will be on site as soon as possible to document for the site.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail is open, however, CAUTION. Colorado weather is unpredictable this time of year and there may be the occasional fresh snow fall or mud and melting snow. This trail is in an area of the state where snowfall levels have dropped for the season and the majority of the trails are dry, muddy and/or only have a small bit of snow on them. Again, please use caution if traveling on these trails until the dryer season.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I could imagine it would be a very relaxing, standard FS loop when dry.. but boy howdy this was fun driving with packed snow. People shouldn't go without another vehicle, high ground clearance, and larger tires in the current condition. Its soft snow.. sitting on top of the decomposed granite road surface. lots of sliding sideways around sharp tuns and into ruts. TAKE IT SLOW, and you will be just fine. Remember pack out what you bring in, plus any other trash you find.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
This trail is located at a higher alitude of Colorado and at this time of year should be considered impassable for any regular off-road user. Some people may be able to manage these trails with the correct gear, emergency equipment, and rig. Travel with caution.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
One of the best loop roads in the area with lots of dispersed camping opportunities. North Divide area got 3-4 inches of fresh snow on December 13. The sketchiest point is the icy creek where 363 meets 364. We pulled several ATV/UTVs out of the icy water (ice chunks the size of cinder blocks). The north side of the creek is a smooth entry/departure, the south side (363) is a 15" to 18" ice ledge. Once again this year, my local Toyota club supported the USFS Pikes Peak Ranger District (PPRD) and their annual Christmas Tree cutting event. We patrol the forest roads in the designated cutting area, report road conditions, and extract "stuck" vehicles if someone asks for help. The designated area this year was north Divide, where Rule Ridge (357) was the east boundary, Spring Creek (CR 3) was the west boundary, and CO 78 (Painted Rocks Road) was the north boundary. For three consecutive weekends (November 28-29, December 5-6, and December 12-13) we had club volunteers patrolling these Forest Roads. I was present each day (except December 5) and drove almost every road in this area (I drove all for which Trails Offroad has published a guide, except the southern end of Grouse Road/354).
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Easy trail, it can get very busy with all sorts of vehicles. It's more a dirt road that an off-road trail but you will still enjoy the ride and the views.
Author:
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fantastic trail! Was real busy with campers despite all the snow. Took a few hours to complete.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We forgot how fun and scenic this trail system is! There are no major changes to report to this trail and it is dry and dusty thoroughout.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
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.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Traveled the Manchester Creek portion of the trail (364). The trail is in good shape and there's nothing special to note about the conditions.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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.

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Any updates on where the trail damage occurred? Want to reach some areas of this road and looking to avoid that part of the loop.
–Abel Valdes (05/26/2021)
–Abel Valdes (06/02/2021)
–JD Marshall (05/27/2021)
–Ben Jimbo (05/27/2021)

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?!'.
For individual use only, not to be shared.