Trailhead: Deer Creek Trailhead (end of County Road 5; beginning of Forest Road 5)
Activities: Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing Map
Closest City / Town: Montezuma, Colorado
Hiking Distance: 5.2 miles (roundtrip)
Description: The Deer Creek Trail is primarily for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, although you can hike up Forest Road 5 anytime during the year. This is the perfect winter trail for a beginner snowshoer or cross-country skier. The pitch is relatively gentle, there is very little avalanche danger, and there is a low probability of getting lost.
The hike up the Deer Creek Trail kicks off at the end of the plowed road, following Deer Creek the entire distance to the end of your journey. The trail meanders through the pines in a south/southwest direction, passing by Superior, Upper Chautauqua and Lower Chautauqua Mines on your right, and then Star of the West, Arabella, Mohawk, Upper Radical, and Lower Radical Mines on your left.
Deer Creek Trail progressively gets steeper as it climbs out of the trees. Timberline, located approximately 2.6 miles in, is the most logical place to turn around. Do not continue beyond timberline due to increasing avalanche hazards. Ski or snowshoe your way back down to the trailhead along the same route that you ascended.
Worth Noting: Both Radical Hill and Glacier Mountain rest above 12,000' in elevation. The cirque at the end of the hike is absolutely astonishing. Take a thermos full of hot chocolate or coffee along with you, and spend some time sipping on your hot beverage while soaking in the gorgeous views.