“A lengthy trail along three creeks to Dome Rock with plenty of stream crossings, meadows, forests, and rock formations.
— Karl W
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife
Parts of Dome Rock State Wildlife Area close seasonally, especially during the spring—check for closures before heading out.
This is a loop route that follows—and frequently fords—three different creeks. It begins through a flat meadow that leads to great views of Dome Rock, an interesting granite formation. The second half adds some elevation to the mix as it climbs up a creek drainage and then down another.
Need to Know
There are numerous creek crossings that require wet feet.
This trail starts from the Dome Rock parking area just off Teller County Road 61. There are two dirt parking areas that can accommodate this slightly unused trail. The Dome Rock Trail
starts by heading northwest from the parking area. It will quickly join Four Mile Creek, which it follows its entire length. The trail crosses this creek quite a few times, none of which have great ways to keep your feet dry. If you don't want wet feet, this trail isn't a good choice unless the creek is very low. Continue along the easily visible trail as it follows the creek. Eventually, the trail exits the knotty oak into a meadow with nice views of the low mountains and exposed rock.
At about 2.5 miles, you'll come to an intersection with Cabin Creek Trail
that heads north along a small creek. There are the ruins of a old cabin here too, mostly just a chimney though. Continue along Four Mile Creek. The trail will be in tall grass and is not always super easy to see, but navigable enough. At around 3 miles, you should begin to see Dome Rock, a not very creatively named rock formation that is shaped like...well...a huge dome. Dome Rock is the geologic highlight of this trail. The trail loops all the way around it offering a nice nearly 360-degree view of this cool rock formation.
As you head past Dome Rock, the trail more or less becomes Spring Creek Trail
. Spring Creek Trail
follows Spring Creek away from Four Mile Creek to the east. Along this section the trail will gain its first real elevation. Near the top of the climb on the trail, you'll join a four-wheel-drive road and encounter a few side trails/roads. One will head north to an area called War Camp, and another will head back west to offer elevated views of Dome Rock.
Keep heading counter clockwise to stay on the Dome Rock Loop. You'll pass Sand Creek Trail
shortly before you come to Willow Creek Trail
, which you want. Willow Creek Trail
follows (surprise) Willow Creek as it drops through another valley. Finally, you'll return to the parking area.
Flora & Fauna
This region is a prime calving area for bighorn sheep.