These trailheads generally do not have much problem with traffic on weekends because I-70 can be avoided except the three-lane section from the Evergreen Parkway to C470. That section of I-70 usually moves well on any summer weekend afternoon or evening.
Groundhog Flat—Mt. Evans State Wildlife Area
Also known as Grass Creek Trailhead
From Denver, take I-70 west to Evergreen Parkway exit. Go 6 miles south on HWY 74 to Evergreen Lake. When you can first see Evergreen Lake, slow down for your turn. Turn right on Upper Bear Creek Road. Go 6.5 miles to CR480. Look for a yellow sign that says “School bus turn-around”. About 150 feet past that sign, turn right at the sign that says “Sawmill” and “Outdoor Lab” which should be CR480. Drive on for 3 miles. (Member’s note: I don’t think the road is marked CR480 here, but at this approximate mileage you come to a “Y”, take the right.) On up the road, you will see a sign for the Mt. Evans State Wildlife area where you turn left. Proceed about 1/2 mile to the buildings. Shift into 4WD and go up the hill for about 1/4 mile. The road surface is good but steep with a climbing switchback near the top. Park in the level area at the top by the toilets. Figure it will take 20-25 minutes to get to the parking area from Evergreen because the road winds a good bit and speeds are slow.
- Trails accessed
- Lost Creek (Mt. Evans), trail 42. 12 miles round trip to intersection with Cub Creek Trail, trail 40. High summer trail.
- Indian Creek (Mt. Evans), trail 41. 14 miles round trip to intersection with Cub Creek Trail, trail 40. Can be cleared anytime after June 15.
- Captain Mountain East, trail 46. 10 miles round trip to Beaverdam Creek. This distance includes riding the first ¾ mile on the gravel road to Camp Rock. Can be cleared anytime after June 15.
Camp Rock Trailhead
Two miles past the Groundhog Flat trailhead. 37 miles from the intersection of I-70 and Highway 93. This last two miles includes several quite steep places and some years (depending on erosion in the spring) rough stretches. 4WD is essential for towing a trailer, although some low-slung sedans make the trip. We generally park on a gently sloping place on the south side of the road about half a mile from the hiker trailhead. On a weekend, if you can get to the hiker trailhead, there is no way you can turn around a horse trailer and the last few hundred yards are tight, steep switchbacks. This last two miles are closed after Labor Day. In the last few years, we have not used the Camp Rock trailhead because there is more than enough to do on trails that have a less punishing access road. Let the hikers do it.
- Trails accessed
- Beaver Meadows trail 44. 7 miles round trip to the Resthouse Trail 67. High summer Trail.
- Beartracks Lake trail 43. 11 miles round trip to Beartracks Lake. High summer trail.
- The Beartracks to Resthouse to Beaver Meadow loop is about 10 miles. Check with the Clear Creek Ranger District first to make sure all the creeks can be safely passed with horses, as some of the wood bridges need replaced and can be difficult to bypass by fording the creek. High summer trail.
Echo Lake Trailhead
With paved road all the way this trailhead can be accessed either from Idaho Springs or Bergen Park via Evergreen Parkway. 44 miles via Idaho Springs from the intersection of I-70 and Highway 93. Parking in the paved lot just west of the Lodge is often tight on popular days. Two or at most three rigs can be parked on the far west end of the campground loop if the Clear Creek Ranger District has contacted the concessionaire in advance. If more than two or three rigs are to be parked, weekdays are best. GPS to the parking lot at Echo Lake 39.656550, -105.595850.
- Trails accessed
- Captain Mountain West trail 48. 7 miles round-trip to Beaverdam Creek. There is one steeper section with some small loose rocks, but otherwise a good trail. Early summer trail.
- Resthouse trail 57. 10 miles round-trip to the Lincoln Lake turn-off or 12 miles round trip to the intersection with the Beaver Meadows Trail near where stands the chimney that is all that remains of the one-time Resthouse Lodge; this last mile is persistently steep but a good enough trail. High summer trail.
Cub Creek East Trailhead
Brook Forest Trailhead. 36 miles from the I-70 and Highway 93 intersection. This is paved road all the way. The trailhead loop has lots of good, level trailer parking and it is usually never full. The Forest Service does not condone camping at the trailhead, but an overnight stay with horses tied to the trailer would probably not be a problem if cleared in advance with the Clear Creek Ranger District.
- Trail accessed
- Cub Creek Trail, east end, trail 40. 16 miles round trip to the intersection with the Indian Creek Trail. The first 2 miles adjacent to the trailhead has considerable small loose rocks. Beyond that the trail is easy. The western 2 miles is in heavy woods on a northern exposure. High summer trail except for the first two miles from the east trailhead. Generally, we clear the first 5 or 6 miles from the Cub Creek Trailhead and the western 2 or 3 miles from the Indian Creek trail.