Burning Bear Trail

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Burning Bear Trailhead #601

The Burning Bear Trail #601 has two trail heads: east and west. The east end of the trail is approximately .2 mile west of the parking area for the Abyss Trailhead (9,620 ft. elevation). The trail proceeds west into Hall Valley. From the trailhead gate, the trail leads northwest in an open meadow for about 200 yards, and then crosses a large bridge over Geneva Creek.

Operational Hours: Although open year-round, access during the winter may be limited due to snow.
Open Season: Open year round
Best Season: Early summer to early fall
Busiest Season: Summer
Restrictions: The following restrictions apply to this trail:

  • Only foot, bicycle, and horse traffic.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times
  • Pack in; park out.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles
  • Stay on designated trail. No switchbacks.
Closest Towns: Grant is located 10.8 miles south along the Guanella Pass road.
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Appears on the following maps:

  • USGS Quad Mt. Evans
  • Pike National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated #104 (Idaho Springs / Georgetown/ Loveland Pass)

Contact the South Platte Ranger District


This trail has two trailheads. The east end of the trail is in Geneva Creek Valley, and is located as follows: From Bailey, drive west on U.S. Hwy 285 for 10.8 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) on Park County Road #62 (sometimes called the Guanella Pass Road) and drive 4.9 miles to the trailhead at a turn in the road. There is a sign and gate on the left (north) side of the road at the trailhead. Parking is available 0.2 miles further at the parking area for the Abyss Lake trail.

The west end of the trail is in Hall Valley and is located as follows: From Bailey drive west on U.S. Hwy 285 for 14.9 miles. Turn right (north) on Park County Road #60 (also designated as Forest Service Road #120) and drive 3 miles to a parking area on the left side of the road. The upper parts of Park County Road #60 are not recommended for low clearance vehicles, but the portion up to this trailhead is accessible to all vehicles.

Parking is available 0.2 miles further at the parking area for the Abyss Lake Trail.

General Notes:

Please shut the gate behind you as cattle are in the area grazing.

Attractions and considerations: This pleasant 5.5 miles trail follows the Burning Bear Creek west from Geneva Creek, up over a ridge, and down the Burning Bear Creek on the west side of the ridge as it drains west into the North Fork of the South Platte River in Hall Valley. The trail is accessible for hikers, horses and bicycles. Allow approximately 2 ½ to 3 hours to hike the entire trail. The hike from the Geneva Creek Trailhead to the ridge summit will take about 90 minutes at a moderate pace.

Narrative: This trail description begins at the east end of the trail at the Geneva Creek Trailhead and proceeds west into Hall Valley. From the trailhead gate, the trail leads northwest in an open meadow for about 200 yards and then crosses a big bridge over Geneva Creek. About 20 minutes from the trailhead you will come to a fork in the trail that is marked by a sign post. Bear left at this junction. (The right hand fork leads back into the meadow and eastward to the Guanella Pass Road.) The first mile is relatively flat. You then leave the meadow area and begin climbing through a stand of lodge-pole pine. At about 2 ½ miles from the trailhead, you will come to remnants of an old log cabin on the left. Above this point, the trail begins to steepen on a series of switchbacks to the ridge summit at 3.7 miles. The high point of the trail is marked by a six-foot dead tree stump having two metal diamond shaped markers. From this ridge, you will cross the Burning Bear Creek as it now drains west. From this point, the trail follows the creek all the way to the Hall Valley trailhead on what appears to be an old road. About 8 minutes below the stream crossing, you will pass by remains of another old log cabin. The trail is identified by diamond shaped metal markers nailed to trees along the way. Most of the markers are blue, the remainder being a gray color. The Hall Valley Trailhead (west end of the trail) is marked by signs posted along Park County Road #60.

Mountain Biking

There is one raised foot bridge near the beginning of the trail but there is also a horse bypass through the creek at the same location.

Day Hiking and Backpacking

The length of the trail is 2.4 miles. The following are the difficulties for parts of the trail:

Geneva to switchbacks — easiest
Switchbacks to summit — difficult
Summit to Lamping Creek — most difficult
Lamping Creek to trailhead — more difficult

Difficulty Level: Easy to More Difficult


  • Trail Measurement: 2.4 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 392936N
  • Compass Longitude: 1054543W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.4933202
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.7619522
  • Elevation in Meters: 2947
  • Elevation in Feet: 9671

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    2.4 Miles
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