“A challenging course with plenty of small stream fishing opportunities.
— Andrew Todd
Race - Aug 10, 2018
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
This course is the long course for the Middle Creek Flyathlon race series, held every August near Saguache, CO. The Flyathlon is a race wherein you must catch a fish during your run, and your time is adjusted by the size and the species of the fish.
Need to Know
Creek crossings are very easy in the fall, harder in the spring. Lots of ticks in the spring. Bring your fishing rod, as it is possible to catch 4 trout species (cutthroat, brown, brook, and rainbow).
There are pit toilets and plenty of parking at the trailhead. Cell coverage is terrible, so bring your satellite messenger or a buddy.
Trail can be a bit overgrown at times.
From the trailhead, the Indian Creek Trail climbs slowly for about a mile before descending on newly rehabbed trail (2016) towards Indian Creek. There are plenty of brook trout to catch in Indian Creek. From there, the trail crosses Indian Creek and then the trail follows Indian Creek on the south side of the creek for approximately 1 mile before crossing back over to the north. In this mile, the trail is poorly defined but marked occasionally with cairns.
Once you cross back across the creek, the trail climbs steeply for a short period up the affectionately named WTF Hill ("White Tree Falling"). At the top of this hill, there is a directional sign that points to the right. The trail to the right goes up and over the top of the mountain to the East Middle Creek drainage, but is currently not in great shape. Turn left instead, and continue to climb up the Indian Creek cut-off trail. Once at the top, descend back to the trailhead on a gradual and fun descent.
Once back at the trailhead, turn right and head out the Middle Creek Trail. This trail follows Middle Creek for approximately 0.7 miles through some incredible beaver pond habitat. Stop here to catch brook trout and brown trout (and the occasional rainbow trout).
After 0.7 miles, the trail crosses East Middle Creek. Once across this creek, the Middle Creek Trail continues to the left (and is blown out within the first mile or so) while the East Middle Creek trail continues to the right. Turn right.
The East Middle Creek Trail climbs gradually for about 2.3 miles through several beautiful aspen glens before making a final switchbacked ascent to the top of Cow Skull Hill (a moldy cow skull hangs from a gate). Beyond the fence at the top of Cow Skull Hill, East Middle Creek holds many eager Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The fishing is tricky in this section, as the trees crash right down to the creek...
After exploring the creek above Cow Skull Hill, return down East Middle Creek, cross the creek and return to the trailhead via the Middle Creek Trail.
Flora & Fauna
Cutthroat, brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Moose and elk.
History & Background
In the upper watershed, there is a mountain called Headwaters Hill. It is unique because the drainage from this mountain goes into three different major watersheds (Rio Grande, Arkansas, and Gunnison Rivers).