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Mad Creek Hike

The historic Mad Creek Barn frames a view of new aspen leaves.

The historic Mad Creek Barn frames a view of new aspen leaves.

From a trailhead a few miles north of Steamboat, the Mad Creek area offers a scenic, two-mile hike up to an original U.S. Forest Service cabin homestead preserved from the early 1900s. The trail features canyon landscapes as well as pine meadows and aspen groves as the trail follows Mad Creek along the Swamp Park Trail (1100) into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, to the creek’s headwaters on the Continental Divide. A couple of loops — like the Red Dirt Trail (1171), popular with mountain bikers — branch off the main trail. Maps are available at the trailhead.

Remember, no mountain biking is allowed once you enter designated wilderness areas.

How to get there: From downtown Steamboat, head west on U.S. Highway 40 and turn right at the 7-Eleven on the city’s west side, to travel north on Routt County 129 (Elk River Road). The Mad Creek parking area and trailhead is on the right in about five miles.


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