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Sheep Creek Loop

Intermediate
 4.5 (71) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A fun ride through some magnificent aspens.


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Map Key

13.1

Miles

21.0

KM

85%

Singletrack

10,851' 3,307 m

High

10,062' 3,067 m

Low

1,447' 441 m

Up

1,448' 441 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

22%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Not Allowed

The last 1/4 mile of Forest Service Road 455 just before the Sheep Creek Trail (FST 645) trailhead is steep and rutted. If you drive a 2WD, lower clearance vehicle you might consider parking in the area just before you see the road go steep up the last hill.

Overview

This ride follows mostly raw singletrack through aspen groves with beautiful meadow crossings. This trail is highly recommended in autumn during the color change. I would schedule three hours for the 13-mile loop, if you stop several times for breaks and photo stops (especially in the fall season).

Need to Know

This trail doesn't get a lot of traffic so early in the summer things might appear a bit overgrown and show little sign of use.

Description

Park at the end of Forest Service Road 455 (or at the bottom of the last hill - see above "Restrictions" section) at the top of the hill at the trailhead for Sheep Creek Trail (FST 645).

From the TH, it's a mile or so of slight downhill singletrack on Sheep Creek Trail (FST 645) through aspen groves over to the Cave Creek Crossing. Then, there are a few ups and downs over semi-rocky singletrack until you hit the first tricky creek crossing for Twelve Mile Creek.

This is at just under three miles in from the start. Just after that, you'll see the fork for the Twelvemile Trail (FST 684). Hang a left onto this trail.

Now you are on the Twelvemile Trail (FST 684) heading up. It's about three miles of rocky, gradual climbing. It's not super steep but has a few short rock gardens to keep you honest. You'll cross over a few small creeks, a few meadows, and see some older campgrounds. The trail might be a bit hard to see until you finally get to FSR 173. There's a gate there, that's the road you want, to the right. Technically this is the highest point of this ride.

FSR 173 is an up-and-down, rocky and rolling 4WD road. You'll be on that for a mile or so, until you get to FSR 175 in the valley.

Just after you take a right onto FSR 175, after approximately 1/10th of a mile you'll see a cairned exit to the right just before the road goes uphill. There is a sign posted. This is where you hop back onto Sheep Creek Trail (FST 645).

It's three miles of tight, twisting singletrack through forest, along the creek, and through some awesome sage brush, heading mostly downhill.

You'll eventually get back to the fork for Twelvemile Trail (FST 684). Head back the way you came (hang a left) to continue back on Sheep Creek Trail (FST 645), it's back up the singletrack from earlier, back to the TH.

Contacts

Shared By:

Marcel S with improvements by N G

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 71 votes

#168

Overall
  4.5 from 71 votes
5 Star
59%
4 Star
37%
3 Star
3%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#54

in Colorado

#168

Overall
21 Views Last Month
18,376 Since Sep 27, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Kristen and Danielle soaking up the awesome colors of fall!
Mar 18, 2016 near Fairplay, CO
On the way back.
Jul 15, 2016 near Fairplay, CO
Aspen!
Jul 15, 2016 near Fairplay, CO
Sheep Creek
Sep 28, 2015 near Fairplay, CO
Sheep Creek
Sep 28, 2015 near Fairplay, CO
Sheep Creek fall color fest
Sep 20, 2016 near Fairplay, CO

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Check-Ins

Oct 19, 2022
Parks Horn
14.8mi — 2h 30m
Oct 17, 2022
agjenni80
Better when the aspens are yellow. Hit about two weeks late with hunters around.
Oct 15, 2022
Logan Ver
Technical going up hill when going clockwise on the trail enjoyable downhill. Multiple rock gardens. The trail has singletrack and wide trails
Jul 15, 2022
Jason Hall
Jul 15, 2022
Tony Tull
I missed a fire road turn and rode a little extra. https://youtu.be/gPebwryRozQ 13.5mi — 1h 52m
Sep 26, 2021
Dan 60D5H411
With Owen, Eliana and Tina
Sep 26, 2021
Tina S
5.5 hrs work kids. Owen not motivated on uphill — 5h 30m
Aug 15, 2021
Lisa DeCamp
Ride it with our kids age 10 and 12. Great views and not crowded. The rocky uphill climb was a bit much for the 10 year old but she made it. 13.5mi