"Now this is Colorado!"
That's what one of my hiking friends said as we hiked along the Threemile Creek Trail -- a trail through the Mount Evans Wilderness that follows a river for more than two miles and includes lots of small bridges to cross the creek.
While you can hike more than six miles on the Threemile Creek Trail and even create longer hikes using the Rosalie Trail to the Deer Creek Trailhead or the Abyss Lake Trailhead, I decided to hike about three miles on the Threemile Creek Trail.
The hike starts on Guanella Pass, about 2.9 miles from Highway 285 in Grant (directions below). From the very small parking lot, with room for about 6 vehicles, walk past the map board and head up the single-person wide, dirt trail.
While it was sunny and warm in the parking lot, it was just a few steps into the cooler shade of the forest. Follow the trail about a tenth of a mile to a sign that says you're entering the Mount Evans Wilderness. While you're not very far from Guanella Pass Road, you'll quickly feel like you are in the wilderness. Everyone in my group remarked how nice the forest was here and how pleasant the trail was.
As you hike along the trail, you'll pass some cabins/homes on your left, but it's easy to miss them in the thick trees. These are on private property.
About 0.4 miles from the trailhead, you'll arrive at Threemile Creek and your first water crossing. Trail crews have placed logs across each of the crossings -- typically two to three logs, to help you get across the water. If you come to a spot without a log, just look slightly upstream or downstream and you'll likely find a small log bridge.
After hiking across the first bridge, you'll continue hiking in the forest, passing a rock formation and making a couple more creek crossings before entering your first wide-open meadow at about 0.9 miles. After a walk through the meadow, enjoying the views, it was back into the forest and more stream crossings. This next section of the hike is wonderful as you walk along the creek, crossing back and forth. Come in late spring or early summer and you may have trouble hearing your hiking companions talk over the loud crashing sounds of the water flowing over the rocks.
Soon the path starts getting steeper, creating small cascades in the creek you're walking along. When you need a break, stop and enjoy the "waterfalls."
About 2.9 miles from the trailhead, the trees open up and there is a nice view of a rocky peak, actually what looks like two peaks, a short distance away, but up ahead and on the left (see slideshow for starred photo). This is a great landmark if you'd like to hike about three miles each way. At this point, the elevation gain was about 1,200 feet. If you want to go just a little more, it's about 3.1 miles to a spot where you're more even with those two rocky peaks and they look more like a rocky formation. I used that as my landmark for turning around enjoying the cascades, once again, on the return trek.
Details: The hike to the "viewpoint" of the peaks in a small meadow is about 5.8 miles roundtrip with 1,200 feet of elevation gain. However, the Threemile Creek Trail is about 6.5 miles each way if you'd like to hike further.
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Directions: From C-470 in Denver, take Highway 285 about 39 miles to the town of Grant and the turnoff for Guanella Pass Road/Country Road 62. Turn right. Drive 2.9 miles to the trailhead on your right immediately before the "Private Property for the Next Mile" signs. The trailhead has a signboard, but doesn't have a sign that says Threemile Creek unless you look at the map board and see that Threemile Trailhead is marked with a "You are here."