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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 29 mi (46.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Lariat
Elevation: +1,089/1 ft
Total: 245 riders
 

Mountain Biking Indian Creek Loop

****   Add a review
#42 of 1,322 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#467 in the world

The first and last 6 miles of this trail are on the gravel road that goes through Waterton Canyon, meaning your total off-road trail distance will be about 17 miles (29 miles total). Nonetheless, there is a lot of climbing and some route finding skills required, which means this ride has the potential to be MUCH longer than you anticipate. If you carry a good map with you, there should be few problems. If you grab the Trails Illustrated Map #135 for Deckers and Rampart Range, it has a blowup view of this entire trail system on the back and shows the loop almost perfectly.

The first 6 miles will take you up to the dam. You will continue on up the fire road until it ends and changes into singletrack (beginning the Colorado Trail). This will continue to climb for about another mile until you reach the bench at the top. From here you will notice a trail spur on the left just before you reach the bench, heading uphill. This begins a short, but intense climb to the next intersection which is about º mile or so from the bench. At this intersection you will notice the trail going left (back to Waterton) or to the right (uphill) heading onto the Indian Creek Loop. Begin climbing once again as the trail strives to get to the ridgeline for about the next half mile or so. You will finally reach a steep, loose section of trail which goes straight up, then to the left. Once you clear this nasty section, it levels off from there. This will be the last of the really bad climbs for quite some time.

Now that you are on the ridgeline, the trail does some gentle uphills interspersed with slight descents. Eventually you will roll off the east side of the hill and a quick, but steep descent puts you at a T intersection. Note that the left trail is NOT on the trails illustrated map. If you turn left into Stevens Gulch, this will take you down a fun, fast descent back towards the Roxborough Loop (make sure you make a left when you reach the homestead!). If you turn right at this T, this will continue you on the journey towards the Indian Creek campground (the mid-way point of this ride). Now, the trail becomes a fun downhill as it tracks down to the creek bed. Once you reach that point, you will start to gradually go back up as you follow the creek for another mile or so. This is a very scenic portion of the ride, and nice and cool in the shade of the forest. There will be some tiring climbs as you get closer to the campground, but they are mostly just long grinds on easy terrain. After a final little rock obstacle, you will be in the campground.

From here, proceed to the latrine and potable water faucet. You should see the clearly marked singletrack peeling off to the left, up the hill. Once you refill your water, head back up the trail and begin another set of climbs. Note that this section of trail is NOT on the trails illustrated map. The grade here is pretty gentle, although you will be going uphill until you reach the fire road. There will be several roads/trails at this intersection, but only one should be marked with the Indian Creek signage (as you come off the singletrack, look straight across and to the left down the hill). This next section is on a fire road, but it is fast and fun because most of it goes downhill from this point. You will come to a few odd intersections, but the trail is well marked the whole way. At one Y intersection there was some deliberation on our route because the sign has an arrow which points between the two roadsÖbut at this point you want to go up to the left. The left route was also well used in comparison to the right fork.

As you get closer to the Roxborough State Park, beware of the huge ìspeed bumpsî someone has put in all along the trail. These really are big jumps, but they are at odd intervals and around corners so they may take you by surprise if you arenít paying attention. Because of their sharp angles, they are extremely dangerous to hit at even medium speed. One guy in the group riding ahead of us broke his collarbone because he took these just slightly too fast. The fire road eventually begins to return to singletrack, especially once you reach the power lines. At this point, you will get some incredible singletrack, blasting you through the forest as you cheer in delight. You absolutely cannot miss the signage once you enter the State Park, but the singletrack generally continues along the creek bed here. Your fun will end as you reach another tough climb out of the canyon (luckily it is rather short). Your journey will go downhill again from here, and at one point you will come to an incredible meadow with just a ribbon of singletrack laid out before you. If you can force yourself to stop, this is a great place for a snapshot!

Once you reach the creek crossing, you will begin one more little set of climbs as you get ready to go back down into Waterton Canyon. Once you start the downhill again, it doesnít let up until you are back down at the Waterton Canyon gravel road. This section of trail is like a loose chute with lots of dust and loose rocksÖbut it can be a lot of fun as well. There will be one intersection you pass with a trail going off to your left as you get back on the Roxborough Loop, but just continue straight downhill rather than making a left. The signs all point you towards Waterton Canyon from here. Once we popped out, we all agreed that despite the amount of climbing we suffered through, the payoff was well worth the effort. Iím not sure if there is any merit in doing the loop in the reverse direction, although it is worth mentioning that I canít recall passing anyone in all those miles going the opposite direction. Also note this is an equestrian loop as well, so best practice is to dismount when you see horses, pull off the trail and be friendly to them.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
Wadsworth Blvd south of C470 for about 3 miles. Waterton Rd is on the left, with parking lot located about 100 yards from the intersection.
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Indian Creek Loop Trail map

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DanOxender (on Aug 19, 2019)
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Rider questions

Q: Looking to ride Sat 5/23/15 anyone ride it since all the rain? Trail conditions? itching to ride

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  • mongwolf
    ****

    I really liked the ride -- so much variety, very beautiful forests and some big views along the way. If you start from the Indian Creek trailhead and ride CW, the last 4.75 miles or so is an ascent back to the trailhead and campground. The first mile and half of this ascent is pretty tough/steep with some hike-a-bike sections. This mile and half will punish you. But once you crest the ridge above the CT connector trail intersection, the ascent mellows a lot and is much more manageable.

    I loved all the tight moderately technical downhills found throughout the ride once you hit true singletrack (starting around the 4.5 mile mark at the the big power line tower). There are some tough climbs no doubt, but the payoff is good.

    If it is your first time riding the loop, you might be a little cautious on the downhills. There are some fierce ruts scattered here and there that could make you pay a big price. If you don't mind hike-a-bike sections (and I don't) and if you like getting away into the backcountry (and I do), then this is probably a 4.5 star ride.

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  • John Fisch
    Reviewing Roundup Trail:
    ***

    Like Stevens Gulch, this is a nice secondary option if you're looking to do something other than the standard Indian Creek Loop, or if you want to add some mileage to your ride. The dry upper (southern) portion flows pretty well, but like other area trails, once merged with the creek, it gets pretty narrow and can be overgrown in places.

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  • John Fisch
    Reviewing Stevens Gulch:
    ***

    This could be a great option with a little more use to keep it packed, and then really only when things dry (mid-late summer between rains). In some places, the singletrack is primo, in other places its just a deep, square rut or a boggy mess. It's a good alternative to the standard Indian Creek Loop if you're looking for something new, and if you don't want to see anyone else along the way.

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  • John Fisch
    ****

    There is some mighty fine singletrack here. There is fast and flowy, and tight and twisty. There is some super buff stuff and some gnarly rocks.

    You don't have to ride it by starting in Denver and riding five miles of dirt road. You can start at the Indian Creek trailhead off of Highway 67 and get all singletrack. However, this is a fee area ($6/car in 2017).

    There are also other options as this is not just a loop, but rather a full network of trails. You can even connect to the Ringtail Trail to add mileage.

    This is a great place to spend a day on a bike.

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  • charriezllaston
    ****

    I would give it a 5 but we need a weed wacker day it's way too grown for so early in the summer

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  • dlj12345
    *****

    There is a sign posted near Roxborough Park (approx. mile 8 from the Indian Creek campground/trailhead), by Denver Water, saying the Indian Creek trail is closed on weekdays from September 6 through November 30 2016 (open weekends). I rode through the sign on September 7 and completed the loop without encountering anyone or seeing any signs of work, but it would be a really bad spot to have to turn around, especially if you were doing the loop starting/ending in Waterton Canyon.

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  • tetontom
    ****

    Rode from Roxborough resident's trailhead to the Indian Cr Loop (tr 800) for a total of 20 mi. I agree with earlier posters that early May can be early. I encountered a LOT of downed timber, and was off my bike at least 50 times to climb over and through. Hopefully it sees some maintenance soon.
    But a great adventure ride. You definitely feel more remote than in the Jeffco parks or Buff Cr. The trail is not manicured; roots can be obstacles, and the trail is deeply rutted in places.
    I rode the loop clock-wise. Next time, I'll try it ccw; I think, though, it's 6 of one half dozen the other...
    In a word, I'd call it a very "physical" 20-miler. 4000' climbing, and a lot of it is tough climbing. I got way more crushed than, say, on Falcon-Lair or a typical loop at Buff Cr.

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  • bigAD
    *****

    A fun trail. I don't have a ton to add to the other reviews. Definitely ride it clockwise.

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  • rilepa
    ****

    Took the GPS route counterclockwise and ended up at Waterston canyon that was closed due to bear activity... Had to turn around and go back...I did get in about 20 miles...great trail

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  • dmontes
    **

    I followed gps directions and they took me to waterton park. Park is closed due to bears presence. I did not ride. Are this two trails together? I am not sure. I will try later when park is open.

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  • paprika
    *****

    Avoid Stevens Gulch as it is very rutted out and mostly filled with water. It looks like a shortcut but take the long way around Indian Creek for a better ride. Bring a spare tire it's a very high likelihood of getting a flat!

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  • *****

    Amazing ride, lots of climbing to get back out but the trip down makes it 100% worth while. Nice variety of terrain from wide and narrow dirt track, roots and some creek crossings.

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  • kaseytea
    ****

    This is a long day. I was the only person on the trail which was nice but also a little spooky. I rode across a big heaping pile of bear poop which always makes those feet turning a little faster. The downhill was pretty fun but wasn't quite as flowy as I thought it would be. By the time I got to start the uphill my legs were pretty shot and that uphill really kicked my butt. nothing too technical. I did get lost near the bottom of the downhill and ended up on the colorado trail.

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  • CRMTB
    ****

    Backcountry, awesome Single Track but its a hard climb out. Clockwise gets you a downhill start and finish. Alternatively, counter clockwise gets you a climb from start and at the finish but I think counter is less climbing. at least its less steep in areas. I did the big loop from IC trailhead and it was 19.8 miles with 4000 vertical. Go early, it gets crowded on weekends.

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  • LimpHarness
    ****

    Rode it today since the temps here were in the 60's. Good amount of snowy patches made the trail a little tougher than usual, especially considering how thin it is in most places. I usually start at the Sedalia/Equestrian parking lot and do most of the climbing first. I hook up with the swallotail trail at about 2 miles in and then ride that to the house. It's quick to get to if coming from the castle rock area.

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  • pgee79
    ****

    Rode counter clockwise from the trailhead on 67. There is a short climb to a long great downhill. I then took the short cut back up the fire roads which was kind of an annoying climb. It's probably much better to take the longer route and stay on singletrack for most of the ride. The downhill was very fast and fun, but would prefer something in the way to have to think about.

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  • tlongpine
    *****

    This is my go-to trail in the Denver Metro, although I'm not sure the description here accurately places the trailhead.

    You'll ride through grassland meadows, pine forest, apsen groves, wildflower patches and catch glimpses of snowcapped 13ers/14ers.

    Riden clockwise from the Jarre Canyon Road (hwy 67) Trailhead it begins with a fast descent from the parking lot towards the Equestrian campground. Following the descent you'll spend the majority of the rest of the ride climbing until the final descent back to the TH. The clockwise option is the more aerobic option because of the sustained length and steepness of the mid ride climbs up FS roads.

    Or, obviously, you can begin and end this ride with climbs by riding couterclockwise. IMO, this is the easier option, but you trade an incredibly flowing descent at the finale.

    Ride it clockwise. It's worth the extra effort.

    Although it's similar in terrain and scenery to many front range trails this trail distinguishes itself because it is a true loop. You're not descending and ascending on the same lollypop spur.

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  • ClarkBausch

    Is this trail open? Looking for some great trails to ride that r close to Denver.

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  • samarkey
    *****

    Great ride but note that they are cutting back growth as a fire prevention measure. Currently power line trail was closed but I took anyway as I was not about to turn around. Luckliy no one there No notice given at the trailhead of this activity

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