Hot Springs Area

  • Season: Early May through October
  • DIFFICULTY: More Difficult (Mad Creek)/Very Difficult (Red Dirt)
  • LENGTH: 5.7 Miles Mad Creek/Red Dirt Loop
  • ELEVATION: 7600


Mad Creek/Red Dirt Loop. This loop climbs from the Mad Creek parking area up to the historic barn. Look for the Swamp Park Trailhead sign on your left. Climb through aspen and lodgepole forests before descending the steep and technical Red Dirt trail. A short spin along the road returns riders to the trailhead.

These trails all link up essentially at the top of the Mad Creek trail, and offer a little something for everyone. From here, riders can follow the meandering trail by the historic barn and bordering a gorgeous alpine meadow to the Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary, over to the Red Dirt Trail (see above), or across Mad Creek onto double track and loop back to either the Hot Springs Trail or the Mad Creek trailhead parking lot. No matter your route, you’ll likely see birds of prey, deer or elk, fox and other wildlife. You’ll also encounter other trail users, so ride under control. The long locals’ ride starts in town, rides out Strawberry Park Road to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, down the Hot Springs Trail, up Mad Creek, down Red Dirt, then back up Hot Springs (for a post-ride soak) and finally back into town.

Know before you go: With southern exposure and quickly draining granitic soils, the hot springs area trails dry out early and offer the longest riding season of all the trails in town. Mad Creek is popular with hikers and their dogs. Please ride carefully and remember to yield the trail to hikers. Also be aware of horse use in this area during the early riding and hunting seasons. Please yield the trail to horses. The Red Dirt Trail has some north facing slopes and does not melt out as early as the rest of the trail system. Do not ride into the Mt Zirkel Wilderness area, or you could be ticketed.

Parking: Ample parking is available about 5 miles up CR 129 at the Mad Creek trailhead, and another hald mile beyond at the Red Dirt trailhead (you can also ride CR 129 directly to each trailhead). The other option is to ride the Strawberry Park Hot Springs Road, CR 36, to the Hot Springs trail. Ride this trail down to CR 129 and then turn right and go 0.25 miles to the trailhead.