Tonohutu Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,681' 1,122 m
Descent: -157' -48 m
High: 12,207' 3,721 m
Low: 8,569' 2,612 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)
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“A beautiful portion of the CDT leading all the way from Grand Lake to Flattop Mountain.”— Brian Smith
Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
To start a run on this trail, navigate to the Tonohutu Trailhead off of West Portal Rd. and head north on the trail. About a mile into the trail, you'll arrive at the Tonohutu Spur which leads to the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. The trail parallels the Tonahutu Creek up a very manageable grade to Big Meadows, 4.2 miles from the visitor center. Just as you enter the aptly named Big Meadows, you'll see a trail that spurs off to the west. This is the Green Mountain Trail which climbs over a saddle and back down into the Kawuneeche Valley. At the north end of the meadows another trail, the Onahu - Tonohutu Connector, will spur off to the left, this time leading to the Onahu Creek Trail.
After you've sufficiently enjoyed the sweeping views on offer in Big Meadows, prepare for the trail's grade to steepen as Tonohutu Creek Trail begins climbing the drainage between Snowdrift Peak and Nakai Peak. Roughly seven miles into the trail you'll come to another major attraction: Granite Falls. There are some backcountry campsites located near the falls.
If continuing past the falls, get ready for your run to increase in difficulty exponentially. Just past a junction with Haynack Lakes Trail, the Tonohutu Creek Trail starts to climb the southern flank of Sprague Peak. The grade stays steep for about a mile and a half during which time your surroundings will transition from coniferous forest to alpine meadow. Once above tree line, views of surrounding peaks are panoramic. Continue along the alpine trail for another couple of miles to its terminus at Flattop Mountain where the North Inlet Trail and Flattop Mountain Trail come together.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Rocky Mountain National Park