Having just moved to town recently, my husband and I were eager to start checking out the local hiking opportunities. We moved to Bayfield from a hiking mecca so we were a bit spoiled in the outdoor recreation department. We went in with an open mind though, ready to appreciate whatever the area had to offer us.
Boy were we surprised!
The terrain and scenery around here is very different than Crested Butte. Our first hike in Vallecito, the Creek Trail, took us winding through beautiful forests, alongside a gorgeous creek (if you can even call it that- too big and beautiful to simply be a creek if you ask me), and up some rocky cliff sides for some spectacular views. We were shocked to find that we didn’t have to drive far, nor did we have to walk far to have an amazing hike. Due to time limits, we only scratched the surface of what this beautiful trail has to offer.
To get to the trailhead from Bayfield, head down CR501 towards Vallecito Reservoir. Once you’re in the Vallecito area (about 15 miles from Bayfield), turn left onto CR500 and follow until you get to the Vallecito Campground. There’s a parking lot available and we were able to find a spot (the last one) right away. The trail starts right from the parking lot. It’s flat and mellow to begin with, following alongside the beautiful campsites available should you choose to camp. As you begin you’ll slightly twist and turn through the trees until you come to the Weminuche Wilderness Map where you can get your bearings for where you are.
From there you’ll cross a little bridge over a creek where the trail starts slowly ascending a bit higher than your flat beginnings, eventually rising you about 500 ft above the creek below. The views on the way up are pretty cool. Not only are you in a gorgeous forest, but you’ll also walk aside and through some beautiful rocky terrain.
Once you are above the creek, you actually start slowly descending back down toward it. This is a great spot to hop off the trail and have some lunch in one of the nooks or crannies alongside the creek. We snapped some photos, had a snack and my husband even jumped in the ICE COLD water for some refreshment. After that we decided to head back to the car.
We only went about 2 miles down the trail in total (I’m a little too pregnant to go much further) but from what we understand if you continue on another mile or so you’ll come to another foot bridge which would make for a great day hike.
All in all, we were super impressed with what we found on Creek Trail. As avid hikers coming from a town with world-renowned hiking trails, we were not disappointed… and I think that says a lot!