Spring Creek

Downieville-Lawson-Dumont, Colorado (ClearCreek County)

Last Updated: 07/17/2021
4.7 / 5 ( 9 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 4.95 miles
Highest Elevation: 11064 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Downieville-Lawson-Dumont
Nearest Town w/ Services: Downieville-Lawson-Dumont
Official Road Name: 712.2J
Management Agency: Arapaho National Forest
District: Clear Creek Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Spring Creek
This off-road, rock crawling trail has become the "go to spot" for hard wheeling within a short drive from Denver. It sees very heavy traffic during the weekends, so don't expect to be on this trail alone. Traversing large boulders are the norm on Spring Creek. This trail is constantly changing as new boulders become exposed each year and old boulders find new resting spots. It starts out pretty quickly with the first obstacle named "The Wall". Without a proper line here, body damage and/or rollovers are likely. The trail climbs straight up the mountain providing spectacular views above I-70 and the surrounding mountain towns. The final switchback known as "The Hard Left" will challenge even the most modified vehicles, before you enter the premier obstacle of the trail, "The Rock Garden" which has many different routes and lines, all of which will leave your undercarriage riddled with rock-rash scars.

Video

Route Information

Technical Rating

( DIFFICULT - SEVERE )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Start of Spring Creek (0 mi)
This is the trailhead and a good location to air down. Please do not block the entrance to air down, so other users can start the trail if you are not yet ready.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Denver

From Denver, head west on I70 to Downieville exit 234 west of Idaho Springs. Take a right at the exit onto Mountain Street, and then make an immediate left onto the frontage road. Follow the frontage road west for just over a mile as it drives under the interstate. Bear left onto Alvarado Road (if you go under the interstate again you have gone too far). Once on Alvarado Road, cross the bridge and the trailhead is your first left after the bridge. At this point, the road is called Silver City Road.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

Spring Creek has no seasonal gates, yet the snow can keep the trail closed till late June. Please stay the trail and do not go around snowdrifts.

Trail Reviews (23)

Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
There was some moisture so it was great, no dust and nobody was there. Me and my friend Tom ran it me in my 89 Bronco and Tom in his SAS Explorer. We both have 35” tires and we only struggled on one of the obstacles. We did not do the wall, just too much risk. As a note there is an open area that is great for a new to 4x4 to practice and hone theirs skills. It is located before the difficult obstacles.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I drove this back from Saxon Mountain yesterday and it was just a bumpy descent all the way. I'm not a huge fan of these kinds of trails, but I thought it'd be the easier way out at the time and it was not. The views were kinda nice on this trail, but I wouldn't do this one again. I did come across one spot that had a large boulder fall and it put my outside tire at the very edge, enough to cause dirt to go tumbling down the drop-off. If you have anything wider than a Jeep on this trail right now, this spot may stop you.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Passible with some small snow spots around the rock garden. We tried to knock down as much snow as possible today. Go get it!
Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Not my trail run, but pulled from a reliable source that ran it 5/22/21... Made it just shy of the Boulder field near the top. Still 4ft snow drifts. The hard left turn had snow too which was difficult but we all made it past it.
Author:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
There is not a single tire track in the snow and the main trail heading up is very snowy, still fun but didn’t make it very far, definitely wait till summer!
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Stage 3 fire restrictions have been lifted as of 6am, 11/10/20. The forest is no longer fully closed. Areas within fire perimeters remain closed. See closure maps here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD844558 Expect winter conditions on trails. Some trails may be impassable due to snow.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Due to dangerous fire conditions, Arapahoe National Forest has closed the forest to all visitors. This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change. See the order here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD831612
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Had been wanting to run this trail for a while now and finally got the chance. Since this is right off I-70 not far from Denver, I thought the trail would be busier (however it was a Friday). Within like 10 minutes, you are faced with the biggest obstacle on the trail - The Wall - and it is a challenge. This trail is not for the newbie to off-road and I don't recommend running this trail alone (or any trail but it happens). If you are a modified rig and comfortable with the trail rating, I definitely recommend checking this trail out! Check out the videos (part 1 and 2) from our run.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is rated an 8 and I have to agree! So much fun, no snow, and fresh trail scars to show the accomplishment. Have fun!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Made it all the way through from north to south. The wall was a little muddy, but I made it up. The drifts on the bigger switchbacks are almost too deep. Had to winch quite a bit. The hard left and rock garden are covered in snow. Winch definitely required.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this trail north to south, starting at 4.30 in the afternoon. Absolutely great. Very spot on trail guide here. Ran the wall straight up the center. No problem at crawl speed. Would like to revisit this trail with other rigs in order to try some different sketchier lines here with confidence. The hard left and the rock garden are rock problem solving at its best. Definitely enjoyed being at less than 10psi for this run. Also locked front and rear a lot of the time. Although don’t be discouraged if you don’t have lockers, but your buddy does. I underestimated how deep in the woods I was at the bottom of the trail in the dark. Took Molly Brown down to highway 103. Was grateful for the gps though. Definitely plan your route back to civilization ahead of time carefully if you have no digital map on hand. Definitely recommend this trail.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
What a fun and challenging trail that is near the Denver Metro. The open diff Taco needed to be winched twice so be advised and don't do it alone.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is clear to the rock garden. Around there the snow got to be about 3’ deep but we were able to cut through it and finish the trail. Ran it with 2 Jeeps on 40s and a Jeep on 35s
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Great trip as always! Had a group of 4 and made it through with nothing broken but many new scrapes! Always a great close trail to test and build off road skills!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Just finished up with a loop on Spring Creek, first time out and almost made the wall climb with open diffs, hugged hard right but just not enough with 1 tire spinning. Other than a roll over with 1 vehicle it was a great trail over all, I would like to see some new signs install for the exit back to town. Many of them are shotgun blasted and you cannot read them. Other than that! Awesome trail for a intermediate wheeler.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
It was a bit brisk but there was virtually no snow on the trail and it was a beautiful day at the top!
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran up to check on the trail with a few friends. It was cloudy, but stayed dry long enough for us to take on the wall. After that, the rain moved in and made the trail pretty slick by the time we reached the hard left. Everything up to this point seemed pretty normal. The rock garden seemed really dug out compared to prior trips. But then again, the rain made it extremely slick and difficult to get through. Overal, another fun day on the trail as always.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great views on the way up. I took the bypass for the wall but was able to make it through the whole trail in my Tacoma on 31s with a full set of skids and sliders with a few scrapes along the way.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail conditions were variable some wet some mud and dry spots as it had rained. Passable to the top past Boulder garden we turned around and came back same way
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was open all the way through conditions were dry and hot. Great Fathers Day trip!
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Online reports from this weekend are showing Spring Creek is open all the way through with minimal snow on the trail.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Spring Creek partially open past the wall.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Took our first trip to Spring Creek this year just after a fresh snow. The 3 days prior, the area received 4''-8'' of snow. We hit the trail and were the first ones on the fresh stuff besides one UTV that we saw later in the day. The wet conditions on the wall made it very slick. 2 rigs made it without winching, one on 37s and the other on 40s. 2 other rigs on 35s had to winch the obstacle. We only made it to the start of the shelf road, which is only about a quarter mile west of waypoint 5. At this point, there was solid ice under the fresh snow, and it sloped towards the cliff edge, so we decided it was not safe to continue and headed up towards Silver Creek instead. Again, the snow hadn't been touched by anyone, but it was not very deep so we made it to the mine site no problem. I would say it's going to need a few weeks of warm weather before the shelf portion is safe.

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: Anyone been up here since covid. Wasn't sure if it was open yet
–Kevin (05/17/2020)
–Ryan Boudreau (05/17/2020)

Writer Information

Ryan Boudreau

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Hi, I'm Ryan! I am a Colorado native and I've been wheeling since I was 16 years old. I grew up with a relentless passion for all things Jeep and off road related, and that passion has never died out. I am a member of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 16 Sasquatch Jeepers and currently own an '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (LJ) nicknamed "Minion". I am a huge supporter of Stay the Trail and Tread Lightly, and have participated and even been in charge of many trail restoration projects. I have been a trail leader several times for events such as All-4-Fun, ColoradoFest, Set Them Free, 14er Fest, and other. I am also the creator of the Unlimited LJ Adventure. My rig is built for extreme offroading, but I love to get my tires dirty on any kind of trail whether it's rock crawling or just scenic high Alpine drives. I've wheeled all over the country including Colorado, Utah, Kansas, the Carolinas, AZ, and California. I love a great adventure, and love even more to share those adventures with others. If you see the "minion" out on the trail, make sure to stop and say hello.
For individual use only, not to be shared.