Clear Creek Loop

Round Trip Distance: 11.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 88161 - 9854 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Clear Creek
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike/bike

The Clear Creek trail is located in the Plateau Division of the Uncompahgre National Forest near Montrose, Colorado. The Clear Creek trail has two trailheads that both begin off of the Divide Road. For this post we are parking at the lower trailhead, mountain biking 2 miles up the Divide Road to the upper trailhead, and following the Clear Creek trail for a little over 9 miles back to the lower trailhead. The trail starts out along a smooth track to the rim of the plateau where it begins a descent that has a lot of loose rocks in places until it reaches an old double track that runs along some powerlines. From there the trail works its way around the mountain on a single track to a gulch that it follows back up to the top of the plateau. The lower trailhead is over 400 feet in elevation below the upper trailhead so the final climb up the gulch going in this direction is relatively easier.

To get to the trailhead begin at the intersection of Townsend and Main in downtown Montrose. Head west following the signs for Highway 90. Continue following the Highway 90 signs for about 3.3 miles and turn left onto 6250 Road. After about 2.5 miles 6250 Road transitions to become the Dave Wood Road. Follow the Dave Wood Road for another 15.3 miles and turn right onto the Divide Road. Continue on the Divide Road for 4.1 miles where the sign in this picture will be on the left hand side of the road.

If you are doing the loop like we did for this post then park at the lower trailhead and follow the Divide Road for 2.1 miles to the upper trailhead. A dust mask or neckerchief comes in handy if there happens to be any traffic along the Divide Road. You can usually count on at least one or two vehicles to drive by and stir up the dust.

From Divide Road the trail follows a double track for a short distance to where it passes through a trail squeeze that limits travel to nothing wider than a dirt bike. From there it continues as a singletrack trail.

The trail takes a nice route across the plateau and after a little more than a quarter mile from the trail squeeze it passes through a gate.

There is a slight up tick in elevation followed by a sweet roll through the aspen trees.

Near the 1.25 mile point the trail comes to the rim of the plateau and begins its descent.

Looking at the elevation profile you can see that the descent is stretched out over a couple of miles with the steepest parts coming in short sections. You can also see how much lower one end of the trail is from the other going in this direction.

Some parts of the descent have a lot of loose rock but there are also some really nice stretches of good trail mixed in along the way. Just past the 3 mile point the trail reaches the powerlines.

The trail travels pretty fast for the next 3 miles or so as it bends around the base of the plateau alternating between oak brush, groves of aspens and clearings like this one.

After a few more miles the trail begins climbing as it works its way into the gulch.

There isn't anything on the climb out that even comes close to the steepness of the drop in on the other end of the trail.

The last little bit of the Clear Creek Loop is along an old jeep road that leads on out to the Divide Road where we began the loop 11.4 miles earlier. The Clear Creek Loop makes a nice tour of this part of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The stretches of trail with all the loose rocks were all downhill going in this direction. For the most part the loop is fast flowing and a great place to escape the heat and enjoy the forest and mountain air. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.