Fox Creek

Round Trip Distance: 3.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 8641 - 9213 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Fish Creek
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike, deer, elk

The Fox Creek trail is located near Silver Jack Reservoir in the Mountain Division of the Uncompahgre National Forest east of Montrose, Colorado. The trail begins at the forest boundary near the Big Cimarron Campground and ends in a large park meadow after about 1.5 miles. The Forest Service website indicates that the trail continues for another 1.5 miles and ends at the Lou Creek trail but it also says that the trail is a double track which on the north end isn't the case.

This is the Forest Service map that we are using for this area. It is available from local sporting goods stores and there is an interactive map on the Forest Service website. As you can see trail #249, that we have highlighted is in 2 disconnected segments. The section from the Lou Creek trail to Fox Creek is open to ATVs while the rest is hiking and horseback only. The Forest Service might intend to connect the 2 segments at some future date. Hopefully if they do they will also add enough trail markers to make it easier to follow the route.

To get to the trailhead drive east from Montrose on Highway 50 for about 20.5 miles and turn right onto the Cimarron Road. Follow the Cimarron Road for 15 miles to the boundary of the Uncompahgre National Forest. There is a small pullout on the east side of the road. If it is full there is more room to park across the bridge right before pulling in to the Big Cimarron Campground.

The trailhead is on the west side of the road. It is unmarked at present other than a sign that indicates what the trail may be used for. This is the starting point for the Fish Creek trail, which we follow for a short distance, so we refer to it as the Fish Creek trailhead.

The trail begins climbing almost right from the start. Don't be discouraged by this first steep section of trail. It is short and the rest of the trail is much gentler.

There are a lot of shadows in this picture but it shows the spot 1/3 of a mile from the trailhead where the Fox Creek trail begins by branching off from the Fish Creek trail.

The foliage in the area grows prolifically and the few hikers and horseback riders that use the trail do little to keep it at bay. For that reason you may find that pants are much more suitable to wear than shorts.

Fox Creek is another one of those trails where watching for cut logs is key to route finding.

This is particularly important as you approach the 3/4 mile point. Here the trail leading straight ahead is well worn. Even more so than the trail to the left. But if you look to the left across the wash you will see some logs that have been cut where trees have fallen across the actual trail.

The trail passes a little knob that is well worth the short climb to get a somewhat obscured view of Silver Jack Reservoir and its majestic backdrop of mountains. The scenery is nothing short of incredible. If it weren't for trail conditions we would have easily given the trail a 4 star ranking.

The trail gets hard to follow once again as it pops out into this clearing. Stay to the left of both of these lone trees.

Walk towards a downed tree on the left and you should be able to find the trail again. It crosses a stream near the cabbage patch on the left and re-enters the forest.

We came upon a herd of elk that were bedded down in the trees. They were spooked by the sound of the camera as I snapped the first photo of this calf about 100 feet away.

Near the 1.5 mile point the trail spills out into a large park where it once again disappears.

Before turning around we hiked all around this area trying to pick up more of the trail. Everything that we followed came to an eventual dead end. We did notice a route that would connect the 2 sections of the Fox Creek trail that looked doable on Google Maps satellite view that we may try hiking at some future date.

The temperatures at these higher altitudes are a big relief during the hot summer months. The roads leading into Silver Jack are usually snowed in for most of the year and often times it is the middle of June before they are clear. Once they are open people flock to the area and keep coming until the snow chases them out once again. Even though the route finding was challenging we really enjoyed hiking the Fox Creek trail. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.