Silver Creek Trailhead  
USGS 7.5' Map: Mount Ouray, Poncha Pass, Bonanza
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 FR 201 6.50 8,680 to 9,480 ft.   1-2 hours
County: Saguache
Adopted by:      
Managed by: San Isabel National Forest,
Salida Ranger District

Rio Grande National Forest,
Saguache Ranger District
325 West Rainbow Blvd.
Salida, CO 81201

46525 State Highway 114
Saguache, CO 81149

Summary: Silver Creek Trailhead road is a short road following Silver Creek from the old town site of Shirley to "The Gate" where the Rainbow Trail, FT1336, starts. It crosses through a section of private property.
Attractions: Scenery, Trailhead
Natural - Closed by heavy snows.
Best Time: June - May still be drifted in
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best for fall colors
Trail Heads
Rainbow Trail FT 1336 (motorcycle) - This is the Silver Creek Trailhead at the northwest end of the Rainbow Trail. The Rainbow Trail travels from Silver Creek trailhead near Poncha Pass and skirts the east boundary of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. The trail arches southward for 100 miles and ends near Medano Pass on the west side of the Sangre de Cristo range.
Camping: There are a few dispersed campsites along Silver Creek after you pass through the private property.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp to explore the 4WD roads around Bonanza and Marshall Pass.
Fall Colors: Very Good - There are many stands of aspen trees.
Navigation: From Poncha Springs, CO. head south on US-285 South for 4.9 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 200 / Marshall Pass Road and go 2.3 miles to an intersection. Turn left onto County Rd 201 and go 0.2 miles to another intersection. Turn left onto County Rd 47Yy / Spring Creek Road.
History: The Silver Creek road is part of Otto Mears toll road connection from the mines of the Bonanza area and the railroad route over Marshall Pass, the narrow gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, a transcontinental route from Denver to Salt Lake City. The old town of Shirley (only the site remains) was a terminus for both the toll road and the aerial tram from the busy Bonanza area mines.
Near the old town site of Shirley where FR201 leaves county road 200 is a large parking area. From here the road curves to the west and follows Silver Creek. After about a mile you will come to the intersections with spur roads FR201.C and FR201.B to the left. Continue on the main graded road. The forest road will go to the right of a fenced area of private property and houses along a series of small ponds on Silver Creek. After a mile the road will drop back down along the creek and continue heading west.

You will pass through small meadows along the creek with views of the narrow canyon that your in. After approximately 2.5 miles the Silver Creek road will end at a sharp hairpin turn where Toll Road Gulch, FR869, continues up heading south and the Rainbow Trail, FT1336, heads back to Highway 285.
Data updated 11/22/13        4WD Road driven 09/18/10        Copyright - 2000-2014