North Rock Creek Snowshoe
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.
A pleasure !
Question: Can dogs be off leash on the North Rock Creek trail? I always hike with my dogs but like to be cautious.
THANK YOU, Barbara (and the dogs) (having difficulty posting this, so will try "anonymous")
Thank you for the kind words. Technically, dogs are supposed to be on leash in wilderness areas. I am finding in Summit County that that rule is very lax. I just did Lilly Pad Lake today and there were many dogs off leash. In winter it is not as much of an issue in my mind because with deep snow, fido is not going to get very far off trail.
The official word though for this trail is that 1.8 miles in is the wilderness boundary and dogs must technically be on leash.
There are many trails in summit county that are 100% dog friendly, however, if you really want to be cautious. That is why I keep coming back here.