Grizzly Creek Trail: What to Know

Located in Glenwood Canyon, Grizzly Creek trail is a great alternative to the nearby Hanging Lake trail. While it doesn’t have the relatively quick and breathtaking payoff at the top, it is a beautiful mountain trail along the rushing river. No shuttles or permits required to hike here!

A couple of years back I started using Mother’s Day as an excuse to get my family members who don’t like to hike like I do to go hiking with me. Our first family hikes were to Rifle Falls State Park. It remains a family favorite. But this year we branched out.

Rushing river, mountain views and greenery makes for a stress relieving hiking environment at Grizzly Creek.

Hanging Lake trail is another favorite which I typically try to hike solo prior to the peak season. During off season through the end of April you can typically park in the parking lot and hike with a permit that you get online. Not this year. As one of Colorado’s most popular hikes, it has been closed. I somehow got the family to hike Rifle Falls a few weeks back. So, I had to come up with something new.

I’ve passed by the Grizzly Creek exit in Glenwood Canyons many times, but never made the stop. The day we went it wasn’t too crowded. But the safer at home order to not drive more than ten miles from home may have helped keep it relatively quiet.

Where is Grizzly Creek Trail

The river is the centerpiece of the Grizzly Creek trail.

Grizzly Creek trail is in Glenwood Canyon located west of Vail and Eagle, and just to the east of Glenwood Springs. It is in White River National Forest in the dramatic Glenwood Canyon off of I-70 at exit 121.

There is often construction in Glenwood Canyon. In fact the day we went the westbound side of the highway was closed and westbound traffic was rerouted to be one of two lanes on the eastbound side of the highway. This meant there were no exits available when driving westbound. So we had to go into Glenwood Springs to turn around and come back east to be able to exit at Grizzly Creek.

There’s a rest stop at Grizzly Creek, and then a parking lot just for the trailhead just past the rest stop.

How Difficult is Grizzly Creek Trail?

Grizzly Creek is rated as a difficult trail, and it probably is if you go the entire length of the trail. I knew that my family wouldn’t complete the entire trail and had the expectation of pushing them just a little further than their comfort zone before turning around. The first part of the trail is a fairly gradual incline with lots of places to stop along the river. The rushing water is beautiful and peaceful sounding.

Dogs on leash are welcome at Grizzly Creek trail.

How Long is Grizzly Creek Trail?

The trail in and out is just under 8 miles with an 1850 elevation gain. Most is in the shade and fairly cool due to the running water. There are plenty of places to stop and have a break or picnic.

Are dogs allowed at Grizzly Creek?

Yes, dogs on leash are welcome. There are no trash cans on the trail so be sure to bring bags and hike out your dog’s waste.

Insider Tip: Check out the other fun Glenwood Springs hiking trails.

Grizzly Creek Trail: What to Know

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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