Colorado Trail: South Platte To Buffalo Creek

4.29 out of 5
View Topo Map


↑ 3,200 ft
↓ -10,500 ft
elevation (ft)

Out & Back
Trail Description
About this trail
The initial climb out of the parking lot is by far the hardest part of this section of the Colorado Trail. Within the past several years, a re-routed portion of trail was created and if you carry a map with you, it might show the trail going northwest, instead of the correct southwest. However, the trail is very well marked and easy to follow. Once the initial mile or so of climbing on pea gravel is out of the way, the degree of steepness does ease up somewhat, although this trail continues gradually upward for many more miles. While we were prepared to do some climbing, this section of the CT really kept it coming.

Luckily, the grade is never too steep so that you should be able to grind up most of this trail. The first 1/3 of this trail is burned out from a recent forest fire, and is quite interesting to ride through. The second 1/3 of the trail is normal forest, while the last 1/3 is back in the burn zone (you will cross a fire road at one point, and although the trail has no markers on the other side, you DO want to cross the road and continue on the singletrack). The last 1/3 is definitely more level, although you will encounter a variety of ups and downs and at times, some very fast singletrack! The final mile from Hwy 126 to the Little Scraggy Trailhead (where many park for rides into Buffalo Creek area) is nice and flat doubletrack.

The trip back from Little Scraggy is where this section of trail really shines. On the return, your first 1/3 is fun ups and downs, the middle 1/3 has one short uphill section which will be the last of the climbing for the day...and the last 1/3 is pure downhill for what seems like forever! This is payback for all the climbing you had to do on the way in... None of this trail is particularly technical, and most of it is well traveled and well worn. Naturally you can get some pretty good speed going since your visibility in the burn zone is fairly distant.

You will need to bring as much water as you can, especially in the summer months, as there are no water sources on this section of trail. If all goes wrong, you can bail out on Hwy 126 and head down the hill back to the "town" of Buffalo Creek (and take the gravel road back to your car). If you have a water filter, you can water up at that point. However, all effort should be made to ride this trail in both directions, as the return back down the hill is really worthwhile. Set aside 3-4 hours to do the entire route. More if you like to stop, enjoy the scenery, etc.
added by SiberianGramcounter
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
Please login or create an account to ask a question.
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Stratton Open Space / The Chutes
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (23 total check-ins)
  sergiophoto   on Aug 2, 2019
  pglenn_niner   on May 12, 2019
  Jon_Gotow   on Dec 9, 2017
  ~Mountain Bike Addict~   on Oct 1, 2017
  lawgs   on Jul 6, 2017
Photo & Video Gallery (13)
Trail Photos & Videos (13)
Reviews (7)


July 8, 2019
mongwolf Epic  
Review: Rode out and back, starting from the South Platte THD. It is certainly a rigorous climb the first mile and really the first 5 miles. A very good workout. After you cross the dirt road (Raleigh Peak Road) at about 6 miles heading west, the ride mellows out a lot the rest of the way to the Little Scraggy THD. The return ride (west to east), is a cruiser with just a couple of shorts climbs worth noting ... and A LOT of nice downhill. Definitely some good payback for all your work riding east to west. If you are only going to ride this segment one way, it would definitely be west to east. Also, the trail west of Hwy 126 is really not worth riding imo. Much of it is basically a dirt road with lots of sand. I would just start from Hwy 126. All in all, this is a nice ride and worth the drive and time.


September 30, 2012
vbeckman74 Gnarly  
Review: This section is a fast, smooth down hill if you start at Buffalo Creek. It goes through much of the burnt Hayman Fire area, so bring your sun block.

Similar Trail: Buffalo Creek

Bunny Hop

August 5, 2012
stoldt Bunny Hop  
Review: Wow really tough out. It took me 3 hours out and 1 1/2 back. The back made the out well worth it. Also got to chat with a bunch of crazies hiking the entire 500+ mile trail. Really cool scenery, lots of elevation +/-. Fun ride, nothing to technical.


September 12, 2010
Review: Epic ride, Started at buffalo creek and rode about 6 miles past south platte, although comming back felt like alot of climbing. It was hot and exposed. A little sandy and loose in spots. Trail was very well marked

Similar Trail: Buffalo creek


June 9, 2005
petersbike Gramcounter  
Review: Just rode the trail the other day, and the singletrack is smooth and fast. Also it was the most beautiful trail I,ve ridden in years. Travelling through the burn zones, there is an abundance of wildflowers that will blow your mind. Have fun.

Similar Trail: Other Buffalo Creek rides. Tsali. Cactus Cup loop.

Granny Gear

May 28, 2005
Scopebite Granny Gear  
Review: As that last guy said- Bring as much water as you can carry. I reccomend to hit this one in the Mornig as it will be alot cooler. The first part is really open and you are going to bake like a cake in the sun. After the initial climb it is alot of fun and the payoff ride back to the car is well worh it.


May 19, 2005
warrubi Gramcounter  
Review: The initial climp from the start of the trail is about 3 miles until it levels off somewhat. Like mentioned before bring as much water as you can carry in the summer months. After the first 3 miles the trail is a fun single track ride.

Colorado Trail: South Platte To Buffalo Creek MTB Trail 4.29 out of 5 based on 7 ratings. 7 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed