Trail of the Week: Silver Creek (with video) |

Trail of the Week: Silver Creek (with video)

Silver Creek Trail is the closest thing we have to the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness since the North Routt area is closed due to the Morgan Creek Fire. (Photo by Shelby Reardon)

SOUTH ROUTT — Silver Creek Trail is about a half-hour south of Steamboat Springs, but feels like a whole other world. There are large, squarish rocks in towering formations that feels more like the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area than any other part of Routt County.

With Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area closed, this might be the closest thing Routt County hikers can get. Silver Creek doesn’t have access to gorgeous alpine lakes, but the terrain is somewhat similar. There are massive gray rocks, lush greenery, enormous evergreens, and views of a gorgeous valley, uninhabited and untouched.

Silver Creek Trail, or No. 1106, begins just south of Stagecoach Reservoir off of County Road 16. There is a clear sign on the east side of the road marking the trailhead and a small pull off for parking.

To begin, Dallas and I hiked up a hill, quickly climbing from just under 8,000 feet to almost 8,800 feet. The first section of the trail is private property, so please adhere to the trail. After a short walk there is a sign-in at an informational stand, welcoming recreators to the Sarvis Creek Wilderness, which is 44,556 acres of Routt National Forest.

Through two years in Routt County, I had yet to explore the Sarvis Creek Wilderness. Eventually, I’ll get to the actual Sarvis Creek Trail.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Silver Creek Trail is somewhat exposed as it ascends up the hillside. I heard cows exchanging morning gossip at a ranch below. Dallas was uninterested. He was on a mission, hauling up the hill.

Soon, the sky became more visible as we neared the crest of the hill. We entered a denser part of the forest, which was more green than I could have imagined. The morning light scattered across the forest floor illuminating blue and pink and red berries. I know nothing about berries and this trail inspired me to learn more about which we can eat and which we should just admire.

After a short bout in the woods, the trail opened up and we could see across the silver creek drainage. The hillside wasn’t as rocky as Mount Zirkel, but resembled North Routt a bit. The creek was a couple hundred feet down the valley. As you hike along the trail, you move upstream and about 4 miles in, you’ll cross the creek.

As the creek rises to meet hikers, the trail itself stays around 8,800 and 9,000 feet.

I wish I had made it far enough to cross the creek or see the waterfall before that, but I was feeling nervous for some reason. Despite hardly hiking 2 miles, Dallas and I turned around. I hike alone somewhat often and have never felt like that, so I listened to my gut and returned to my car.

Silver Creek Trail extends 12 miles due East before meeting up with Forest Road 100, which is accessible off of Gore Pass, or Routt County Road 134.

If we had hiked longer, we could have stopped by Stagecoach and dipped our feet in the water to cool down. For someone looking for a post-hike snack, consider driving West on Routt County Road 14 to Oak Creek and stopping at Lupita’s Cantina, The Colorado Bar and Grill or Franciosi Brothers pizza.

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