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Hiking in Douglas County: Indian Creek Trail #800 (short loop)

Indian Creek Trail near Sedalia may be best known for its campground and for being an access point to the Colorado Trail, but it's also a beautiful trail through the forest.

Indian Creek Trail
Deb Stanley
Indian Creek Trail
Deb Stanley

Hikers on the Indian Creek Trail can do a 3-mile loop or use other trails to extend their distance. We decided to do the later.

The trailhead is about 10 miles west of Sedalia on Highway 67 (directions below). From the parking lot next to Highway 67, you'll see there are several trail options -- the campground to the east, the equestrian campground to the west and a trail in the middle of the both. A small sign for Indian Creek Trail #800 is on the trail in the middle, so we went that way.

Take just a couple steps on this trail and you're in the forest. The single-track trail winds through the trees turning north, then west and back again. At times, the trail gets a little steep, but it never lasts more than a few steps. For the most part, it's a steady gain.

The trail twists and turns as it heads mainly north. There are a few bends where you might expect a stream, but we never saw one in late winter. There were patches of snow where it was hard to follow the trail, but there were enough footprints to keep you on the right track.

Suddenly, the trees opened up and we found ourselves in an open meadow with trails leading in five directions. After some exploring, we determined only two of the trails had signs. The road-like trail to the north (left) is the continuation of the Indian Creek Trail (signed). The single-track trail almost directly ahead is the Ringtail Trail (signed). The road to the right (heading downhill) is the way back to the Indian Creek Campground. The trail we came up was the Indian Creek Trail and we had no idea what the 5th turnoff was. Make sure you take a good look around here so you known which trail to take back to the parking lot.

Now it's decision time.

- For a 3-mile loop, turn on the Indian Creek Road to your right and head downhill.
- If you want more mileage, you can take the Indian Creek Trail north or the Ringtail Trail.

We decided to hike the Ringtail Trail about a mile. I highly recommend hiking the Ringtail Trail at least 0.3 miles to an open meadow with an expansive view to the north (see slideshow).

When you're done exploring, return to the big intersection. You can now return on the trail you took here -- it's a nice choice because it's in the trees. However, we decided to make our hike a loop, so we went down the road.

Much like the Indian Creek Trail in the trees, the Indian Creek Road Trail winds through the forest, but because you're on a road, there's less shade and it's easier to see some of the views around you.

About a mile down the trail, you'll hopefully notice some picnic benches on your right. Look for an opening in the fence along the trail, turn right and walk through the campground, back down the road to where you parked. If you miss the turnoff, the Indian Creek Road starts to climb again. It eventually ends back at Highway 67. Just walk down the road (turn right/west and be careful of traffic) to the parking lot.

Find more hikes in the area listed below or check out this list of 200+ hikes in Colorado. Don't miss any of my trip reports, sign for an email alert at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.

Details: The Indian Creek Trail loop is about 3 miles (or 3.25 miles, if you miss the turnoff) with 400 feet of elevation gain. You can continue on the Indian Creek Trail or the Ringtail Trail to add more miles.

Note: I've read other descriptions for this hike that start at the Equestrian campground and go downhill. I'm not sure why they went that way, but I saw a sign for Indian Creek Trail #800 and followed that trail.

Fee: The fee to park at the Indian Creek Trailhead was $6 cash when I visited in March 2014.

Directions: From Denver, take C-470 to Santa Fe (U.S. 85) and turn south. In Sedalia, turn west on Highway 67 and drive 10.3 miles to the trailhead on your right.

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