Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation: 9,180 ft to 9,780 ft
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Dogs: Off leash until the wilderness boundary
North Rock Creek, near Silverthorne, CO is in the lesser-used area and is one of the many trails that head west from Highway 9 and into the Eagles Nest Wilderness. With a little bit of everything, it has a lot to offer. There are sweeping views of Ptarmigan Peak and Old Baldy to the east, some huge Aspen groves, an expansive meadow, and lot of “peak”-a-boos to the west. For both the snowshoer and the skier, this trail is very easy. There are a couple of short hills to ascend, but nothing major. If you are new to snowshoeing, give this one a try.
To start, head up Rock Creek Road, a plowed road right across from the Blue River Campground on Highway 9. The plowed section ends right before the large switchback you see on the topo map. There is medium-sized plowed parking area on the left marked by a sign that says Rock Creek Trailhead. Don’t be confused here. The road actually heads sharply up behind this parking area while a more prominent spur road continues due west. This road is not on the map, so it may easily be confused with the main route. It dead-ends shortly at a gate for some private homes.
After a series of switchbacks, the trail straightens out and heads due west. The first mile is open and filled with young Aspens.
There are several easy milestones on this trail to keep you aware of your distance. It is 1.5 miles from the winter parking area to the summer trailhead. 0.1 miles beyond that is the boundary for the Eagles Nest Wilderness. 0.3 miles beyond the wooden wilderness sign is the intersection with the Gore Range Trail, which is prominently marked by another wooden sign. We always take a group of novice snowshoers out early in the season. In the past, we have chosen Peru Creek for its wide road and easy grade. Rock Creek may supplant Peru Creek because of it constant rewards.