Elk Creek Trail

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Elk Creek Trail # 731

The Elk Creek trail is 15.0 miles long. It begins at Forest Road 128 and ends at Forest Trail 813.

Elk Creek provides excellent opportunities for trout fishing along its entire length. The trail follows Elk Creek from its confluence with the Conejos River to its upper reaches and passes through a variety of terrain including deep canyons and wide meadowed valleys. The trail is well traveled by fishermen, hikers and horse packers and is easy to follow. Suitable camping sites are dispersed along the valley. Water from Elk Creek can be filtered for drinking. Parking is availabe at the Trailhead

The trail joins the Continental Divide Scenic Trail #813. Other trails which can be reached via the El Creek Trail are the Notch Trail #729 and the Rough Creek Trail #727.

The trail is open for the following uses: Horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing.  Outside the wilderness, the trail is open to mountain biking.

Area Amenities: Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Open Season: May – October
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Antonito
Water: Yes at Elk Creek Campground
Restroom: Yes at the campground
Information Center: The trail begins by climbing high above Elk Creek where the valley narrows overlooking the boulder-strewn stream. The trail then follows the valley, with Elk Creek meandering slowly through the wide, flat First, Second and Third Meadows. Steep cliffs of volcanic rock loom above the valley floor and are intermittently broken by side canyons. At the head of Elk Creek Canyon, the trail climbs the steep southern slope to Dipping Lakes, which sit on the ridge dividing the Elk Creek and Chama River drainages. The trail joins the Continental Divide Scenic Trail #813 directly above Dipping Lakes.


From Antonito travel west on highway 17 to Elk Creek Campground, about 23 miles. Just after entering Elk Creek CG cross the bridge and take the trail leading south along the bank of Elk Creek.

Mountain Biking

From the trail head to the South San Juan Wilderness boundary only.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

River and Stream Fishing

Trout in Elk Creek and Conejos River.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Backpacking and Day Hiking

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Horse Riding

Difficulty Level: Moderate

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Difficulty Level: Moderate


Toilets at Elk Creek campground
Parking at the trailhead
Drinking water at Elk Creek campground


  • Trail Measurement: 15 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 370912N
  • Compass Longitude: 1063132W
  • Numeric Latitude: 37.153341
  • Numeric Longitude: -106.52559
  • Elevation in Meters: 2682 to 3581
  • Elevation in Feet: 8800 to 11750

If you have information about this trail please fill out the Add/Edit Trail form.


  • Trail Location
  • Trail Measurement
    15 Miles
  • Compass Latitude
  • Compass Longitude
  • Numeric Latitude
  • Numeric Longitude
  • Elevation in Feet
    8800 to 11750
  • Elevation in Meters
    2682 to 3581
  • Trail Images
    • Trail Maps
      • Trail GPS Files
        • Trail Weather

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